The Best Alcohol for Festivals

If you’re planning on taking alcohol into a festival you need to think strategically. First up, you need to establish whether you’re actually allowed to bring the booze in, or not.

If you’re not, you’ll be better off reading my article on How to Sneak Alcohol into Festivals first.

If you are, here’s my advice from over a decade of experience and effort in deciding on the best alcohol for festivals based on cost, weight and taste.

The best alcohol to take to a festival

[updated April 2019]

drink to take to festivals

There are a few things to remember in taking alcohol into festivals.

  • You may have to carry it for a long way.
  • And a long time.
  • It will get warm.
  • Or cold.
  • You can’t take glass in.

No matter how long this is though, you will reap the benefits tenfold when you get to your camp and you have cheap booze yours for the taking.

Enjoy my tips for the best alcohol to take to festivals!


 This post contains affiliate links which means if you click them and make a purchase I make a small commission at no extra cost to you!

No glass at festivals

alcohol for festivals

You need to put your alcohol in plastic bottles for festivals – so make sure you decant them before you leave the car. You will not be allowed to bring the glass in, and for good reason. 

Danger! 

Lots of people walk round barefoot at festivals, and things get lost and misplaced and the glass is dangerous. Also, total nobheads throw things, and no one wants a wine bottle to the back of the head, do they? 

So yeah, decant. Just start saving your plastic drinks bottles in the run up. 

Festival drinks ideas

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Wine at festivals

alcohol for festivals

You need the type in a bag, which I like to call Cardboardeaux.

Keep it in the box as long as possible for protection and at the final stage take it out so you only have to carry the bag around. You might want to keep it in another plastic bag though, just to be on the safe side if it’s in your rucksack with all your other stuff.

Sweet Amazon wine bargains

I’d go for red wine at festivals– white or pink is rancid in the sun, especially the kind you get in a bag. Or of course, take one to drink immediately and a few to keep.

Don’t bother with bottles, you’ll never get them in and they’re really heavy. They’re also pretty dangerous. 

Top tip: take some frozen fruit to drop into the wine to keep it cool. You can just eat the fruit afterwards. 


Beer and cider for festivals

someecards.com - Let's drink to alcohol.

I’ve never been a fan of taking beer and cider to a festival, in fact the most I’ve ever taken is four to drink on the way. What’s the point of beer if it’s not cold?

You do often see people carrying a few in on a trolley (see box below) or even in a wheelbarrow, all strapped in and down. After a few days they must be rank though, and they take up loads of space in your baggage.

Sweet Amazon beer and cider bargains

Carrying beer into the festival is just way too much effort and too much hassle for me, for not enough return.

The other problem I have with drinking beer is that I’m constantly at the toilet, and we all know how annoying that is to deal with at festivals.

So annoying in fact I’ve written an entire post on how to avoid the toilet at festivals, and not drinking too much beer is definitely one of them! 

Top tip: if you do decide to take cans of cider or beer to the festival, start off with a cold one or two from the bar and then the warm cans will slip down a little easier. 


Drinks trolleys for festivals 

Trolleys can really help when it comes to getting your drinks into festivals, especially if you have a long way to go like at Glastonbury. This is the trolley I have as I just felt like it was worth investing that little bit extra (£30). 

If you don’t have that much to spend, this lightweight one at £15 could be good. 

Otherwise, check out the whole range of trolleys they have on Amazon. 

drinks at festivals


Spirits for festivals

Now we’re talking.

I like to have a friendly array of spirits in my backpack when I go to any festival. Spirits are definitely the best festival drinks.

Rum is always my top choice at festivals, I get a nice buzz and you can easily drink it straight – great for saving money on mixers and time on toilet queues.someecards.com - BABIES?!???!?.... It's Festival Season!! .....Ain't Nobody Got Time Fo' Dat!!!!!

Gin, always a nice drink, but I prefer that as a fancy drink in a bar rather than at a grimey festival. As much as I like gin, I don’t like it straight up so gin is not a top choice for me. 

Vodka is always a no for me because of the inevitable memory loss. But, I know this is a strong contender as a festival alcohol favourite. Just don’t come near me with it. 

 

Sweet Amazon spirits bargains

When I went to Glastonbury for the first time and we had to queue for three hours to get in in the rain, we were so happy for our de cantered bottle of Jagermeister. We drank the whole litre between the four of us and the queue time became much more fun. Jager is always a good one because it’s delicious to drink straight.

My hot tip for Jager is to mix it with Iced Tea.

Need to copyright that drink actually.

Buy miniatures to sneak in to the main arena!

Read more: How to Sneak Alcohol into Festivals 


Packing list for festivals


Mixers for festivals

I just wouldn’t bother taking mixers to a festival.

A nice carton of orange juice might be good to start, but by day two of being in the tent it’ll be rank. Bottled fizzy drinks are horrible in my opinion – they need to be in a can – and they’re just too darn heavy to carry.someecards.com - Alcohol...because no great story ever starts with a salad.

Splash out on mixers at the festival for your de cantered spirits, it’ll be worth it.

Or, even better, learn to drink your spirits with water. Cheap, calorie free and easy! 

Shame it’s kinda disgusting, obviously. 

My festival drinks

In short, my basic boozey backpack for a festival contains:

  • Bag or two of red wine
  • Decantered bottle of dark rum
  • Decantered bottle of Jagermeister
  • Extra cash to buy a deliciously fresh beer, cider and cold soft drinks as mixers.

What to drink at a festival 

Yep, all of the above, but also, that magical hydrating W word: WATER. 

At Glastonbury 2017 I think I thought I was too good for water and by the Sunday was pretty much dying from some sort of digestive sepsis, or similar but not quite as dramatic. 

I’d barely drank any water during the festival because I didn’t want to need the toilet. Terrible idea TBH. 

Water is free – at most decent festivals from the tap – will hydrate you, and will make you feel a helluva lot better in the morning. 

alcohol and festivals

How to keep drinks cold at a festival 

Well, here we have a problem – it totally depends on the weather at your festival. If it’s a cold field festival then the best way to keep the drinks cold is to just put them in a bag, under your tent. Put them inside and the heat will warm them up. Also you could try putting one of those foil emergency sheets on top of them but make sure they’ve still got contact with the cold ground. 

If they’re cans you can also try putting them in socks, or coozies, as they have in America. This can help cool them down, and this little lot are just over a tenner.

Click to check the latest prices on Coozies on Amazon

If it’s a hot festival, then you’ll need to see if you can buy any ice. At Coachella festival, in the Palm Desert in California, there was an ice man who came round on a cart. At Glastonbury, I’ve never seen any ice for sale. So, I’m at a loss. 

The worst thing you can do is leave the booze in your tent to boil. 

If you’re going to a British festival you won’t want to carry a big cool box, but you can keep one in your car to keep your festival alcohol as cold as possible until the last minute. 


Coolboxes for festivals 

Festival cool box

Click here to check the latest prices on cool boxes and cool bags on Amazon. 


Easy festival drinks to try 

Glitter at Festival No6

1. A good quality whisky with just a drop of water to dilute. You might need to practice a bit with this one on the run up. Worth the effort though, trust me.

2. Nice bottle of port in your hipflask? A slightly warmed port makes for a great festival drink, and actually a nice one to have a sip on now and then too. 

Hipflasks for festivals 

Click here to see the awesome range of hipflasks on Amazon.
This one is only £12.99!

3. Real ales. I hate real ales but if you’re a fan then I have it on good authority that they taste the same a degree or two warmer. Could be a good shout. 

4. Best quality tequila. Freeze it into a thermos flask and you’ll have days of cold tequila from that little experiment. The perfect alcohol for festivals! 

Thermos flasks for festivals

Keep drinks cold at festivals

5. Frozen vodka and juice. Mix vodka and cranberry juice in a juice box, and then just carry that in. By the time it defrosts you’ll have a nice mix to drink. 

6. Dark rum and ginger beer. This kinda tastes ok when it’s warm, especially if you have a little lime in there. If you’re at one of those festivals where they put the bottles on ice see if you can sneak a cube or two for your drink. 

So, what’s your alcohol of choice for a festival?


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alcohol for festivals


More on festivals

Quick Guide to the Bardolino Wine Festival 

10 Tips for Oktoberfest 

11 Top Tips for Sleeping at a Festival

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12 Comments

  1. by Lois on January 21, 2014  11:50 am Reply

    My friend and I joke every year that we should go into business selling festival friendly booze. If I could find gin in a plastic bottle, I'd be a very happy camper.

  2. by Bob on January 23, 2014  1:53 pm Reply

    Arrr Vickie, what can I possibly say after receiving such enlightenment from such an eloquent word-smith and connoisseur of fine things as yourself? But wait, there’s a problem. You mentioned that most gracious of by product of sugarcane, “RUM”.
    So where is the problem?
    Well I seem to remember a post recently, that mentioned You planned to head “Down Under”, (this young lady has good taste), this year, 2014. Unfortunately I did not notice any mention of visiting “BUNDABERG”. Put the two words together “BUNDABERG RUM”. Now I don’t even get paid for writing this stuff, but it really is the Mecca of the rum drinking faith. For a disciple to travel half way round the world, and not to partake of the hospitality and the elixir of Bundaberg, would be paramount to sacrilege!
    The high priests preside over regular ceremonies every hour, revealing the mysteries of molasses ferment & blend, and conclude with the blessing of the spirit. You can drink it with some pretty cool mixers. http://www.bundabergrum.com.au/
    I do trust that this inadvertent oversight of your itinerary will be duly amended.
    We also have the best FREE music jam sessions, with some really bloody brilliant musos and an open mike for the taking. Accommodation is also super cheap; just have to know the right people, and tell us when!
    Ohh yare, Australia is the birthplace of Cardboardeaux, GBP£5.88 @ 4 litres. (11% ALC/VOL)

    We grow a lot of sugarcane too!

    Bob

  3. by Arianwen on January 25, 2014  5:30 am Reply

    Good tips! Red wine will always be my tipple of choice! And I'm very much into the boxes. It's just common sense to go for the most economical option, plus it weighs so much less...

    Love the last cartoon. So true!!

  4. by PurpleTravelKate on January 27, 2014  8:24 am Reply

    Cardboardeaux is the best thing i've ever heard! I would also like to extol the virtues of a scarf belt. I just wore a scarf as a belt and tied the end to my bottle! Worked really well.

  5. by Hannah on February 3, 2014  8:01 am Reply

    If beer is not in your list, then Adam will be totally freaked out! Happy happy happy!

  6. by Lola on June 22, 2015  7:07 pm Reply

    Great tips! I'm taking spirits for the festival. How many bottles do you think is likely enough for five days. I have 1 bottle of rum, gin and whisky. More than enough? xx

    • by Vicky on June 22, 2015  7:21 pm Reply

      Ha, I'd have to answer with that annoying response... 'how long is a piece of string?' It really depends on how much you like to drink every day, and how many of you there are sharing it. I'd say mixed up with a few nice cold beers from the bar that would be plenty, but yeah, just depends! x

  7. by Linda on July 6, 2015  4:23 pm Reply

    Great tips .i've just registered for 2016 Glastonbury hope I'm lucky to get a ticket.it will be a first for me AT 65 going with my daughter & grandson. Already brewing some home brew. FRUIT VODKA easy to make. 300gm fruit & same amount of granulated sugar pint of cheap vodka google the recipe . If your going aboard you could always back spirits in plastic bottles . HAPPY BREWING

  8. by Ryan on July 21, 2015  5:31 pm Reply

    This site is a public service!
    Thanks for putting the effort and bringing it together.

    • by Vicky on July 21, 2015  8:17 pm Reply

      No worries Ryan, glad you enjoy it :)

  9. by Torch Cigar Bar on January 9, 2017  5:44 am Reply

    Any festivals wouldn't be complete without alcohols. It adds to the fun and excitement of the event.. But of course, we have to always drink moderately for our own safety. And we have to choose also the best kind of alcohols that can satisfy our needs.

    • by Vicky on January 10, 2017  2:16 pm Reply

      Oh of course – everything in moderation :)

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