Grabbing tacos or pizza from the window of a food truck has become so rote that it’s hard to remember when the same trucks only sold buttered rolls and coffee. Still rare, though, is the chance to order a gin and tonic or bourbon smash from a truck because, well — liquor licenses make that tricky to pull off.
Lisa and Scott Hockney have found a way: They let their clients buy the booze, then mix it for them. The Northport couple are wrapping up their first summer piloting the Vintage Cocktail Camper, a 1960 Forester trailer they’ve rolled into birthday, going-away and graduation parties and from whose oblong window they serve up breezy drinks such as bourbon smashes and cranberry-ginger fizzes (with mocktails for grads).
The cost, without liquor: $300 an hour for camper bar with a 3- hour minimum). After five hours, it’s $160 an hour including the bartender.
“I’ve always saved my recipes from working in different bars,” said Lisa Hockney, who spent much of her career in restaurants as a bartender, manager and event planner. Once she had children, Hockney decided to give up the crazy hours, but not hospitality altogether. When her sister-in-law told her about something she had seen in Texas — a van repurposed as a mobile bar — Hockney was intrigued. “I thought, ‘Wow, this is such a good idea.’ ”
The Hockneys found a trailer refurbisher in Colorado who gutted a vintage camper for them. After the transformation was complete, the camper’s interior resembled a small, tidy kitchen. Lisa Hockney came up with a 20-drink cocktail list that spans whiskey-spiked apple cider and a jalapeño Moscow Mule, and their first party was in June.
In August, Nancy Mansour of Northport hired them for a friend’s going-away party, picking three cocktails from Hockney’s menu and giving them quirky names: Upstate Tracie, You Will Be Missed, and Come Back and Visit (that jalapeño Moscow mule). Mansour bought the alcohol, then gave it to Hockney, who strung the camper with lights for extra atmosphere. “It was a magical night,” Mansour said. Hockney will be back for another party at the home in October — when her fall drinks menu is in play.
The Vintage Cocktail Camper, 631-278-1703, vintagecocktailcamper.com