In association with our friends from Miami Cocktail Company
Road trips, beach days, picnics, and camping all have one crucial element that can make or break the experience: the refrigerator (and its contents).
HOW TO PACK A COOLER
We’ve all been there – it’s time to pack the cooler for the first time since last summer and you realize it’s been tucked away in some stuffy garage or attic, and surprise, surprise, it struggles to keep something cold. You can avoid this by simply bringing the cooler inside the night before so that the room temperature in your home can lower the cooler temperature, making it easier to stay cool longer. If you can put it in an especially cool place in your home, like the basement, even better. Similarly, keep everything that goes into the fridge in the fridge until the last minute. And packing the fridge itself should be the last thing you do before getting in the car and driving off.
THE TWO-COOLER APPROACH
The key to keeping your cooler cold is not to open it too wide. That can be difficult to avoid if you have all your products in a giant refrigerator. Consider dividing drinks and food and storing them separately. Use your sturdy cooler for food and something like this bag from Business & Pleasure Co. for drinks. That way, you can reach all the canned cocktails and sparkling waters you need without raising the temperature of your food.
Business and Pleasure Co.
NEWS BLOCK, $ 79
We like a mix of ice fountains – sturdy lines at the base of the cooler and loose ice fills the spaces in between. Put the things you need to keep cooler in the ice packs. From there, it’s a bit like a Tetris game. Wire cooling racks, the ones we use after baking cookies, can help you provide level layers for efficient packaging. Too many air spaces in your cooler will speed up the melting of the ice (the ice will work to cool that extra air rather than isolate itself), so fill those extra spaces with more ice, not more food. The ideal ratio of ice to food in a cooler is two to one.
DOES NOT DRAIN
It’s tempting to drain the melted ice water into your cooler, and if you’re on a longer, multi-day camping trip, that’s the thing to do. But if you’re on a day or overnight trip, don’t – the water is almost as cold as ice and will do a good job of keeping things cool. Cold water will also do a good job of insulating any remaining ice, keeping it cooler than if it were exposed to air.
CURRENTLY IN OUR COOLER
Okay, technically popcorn and cookies shouldn’t fit in the fridge, but they go with everything else on this list.
The portable marg is a summer sensation. Don’t go around with citrus shakers and juicers and invitingly put all the surfaces around you sticky, just a delicious cocktail ready when you want it. Our pick is from the Miami Cocktail Company – it’s clean and crisp the way you want a margarita to be, but elderflower and ginger are exciting new additions. There’s a bit of orange juice to sweeten it in place of added sugars, which rounds out the acidity and echoes the citrus flavors of the key limes.
In our opinion, the more aggressive the bubbles, the better. Topo Chico wins this category by overwhelming.
Our favorite solar powered snack. You will most likely gobble up most of the bag on the way to your destination, so hedge your bets and bring two.
The warm weather means we subsist on fresh, crisp, and refreshing fruits and vegetables like jicama, cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe, and mango, which turn out to taste even better with this Mexican mix of chili, lime, and salt. Cut your products and bathe in the label when you arrive at your destination. These mini bottles are convenient and adorable.
Thin, crisp, and seasoned enough to enjoy on its own, but not so much that you dominate with what you pair them with. We currently love the caramelized onion flavor.
A mandatory pickle moment. The crickets are fresh, crisp, vinegary, with garlic, basically everything we want.
The name on this tub might surprise some. And the heat level of these things requires a warning. We’ve long loved the original and chipotle flavors, but recently we tried the spicy and it’s no joke (we’re talking about ghost pepper and habanero). There is something strangely refreshing about eating spicy food in hot weather.
Deli-style salads (and something sweet)
Even if you have a cooler, it’s a good idea to pack foods that work well at room temperature. We take the deli salad approach and steer clear of ingredients that tend to suffer if left to sit too long, so we avoid dairy-based dressings, opting for sturdy veggies instead of delicate lettuces, using veggies instead of mayonnaise and we keep them. mainly plant-based. These recipes will be in rotation throughout the summer.
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