There’s an undeniable appeal to the #vanlife lifestyle: no 9-to-5 schedule, plenty of time in the great outdoors, and every parking place (according to Instagram) is the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen. It’s not, however, the best lifestyle for cocktail fans who crave good ice, quality glassware and a variety of liquor. Or so you’d think, until you came across Road It Up, an Instagram account and blog run by Catherine Forest that documents her family, her travels and her cocktails.
Road It Up is filled with the trappings of the curated #vanlife Instagram feeds, made popular by accounts like @wheresmyofficenow, @tinyhousetinyfootprint and @homesweetvan. An April 2017 story in The New Yorker by Rachel Monroe titled, “#Vanlife, the Bohemian Social-Media Movement,” took a deep dive into the day-to-day existence of a van liffer and brought it into the mainstream. But Forest and her family have been living full-time in a van for five years, long before it was considered cool among 30-somethings looking for a nomadic escape. And to this day, Road It Up has something that clearly sets it apart from trendier accounts: cocktails.
It all started, like many great cocktail origin stories, in New Orleans. Forest, an herbalist who has made plant-based medicinal products for more than 15 years, started reading about the medicinal history of cocktails in 2016.
“Since we have children, going to a bar to taste a few of those intriguing cocktails was not an option,” Forest tells Supercall. “So I went into a shop and got a bottle of Peychaud’s bitters and some spirits and decided to make a few cocktails to dive deeper into the history of NOLA.” One of the first of those cocktails she dug into was a Ramos Gin Fizz, a drink that requires so much shaking, it verges on a full-blown arm workout.
But Forest clearly isn’t one to shy away from a challenge. She lives on the road with her partner, JF Roldan, and her three daughters (two of which are twins) in a red 1984 Wanderlodge Bus with a Westfalia Syncro (a favorite of the #vanlifer) attached to the back. They sold their house in Quebec, packed into the bus and left with no return date. The Road It Up bio succinctly sums up the entire adventure as, “Full-time bus living with kids + mountain biking + climbing + dreaming big Mixing delicious cocktails along the way.”
A quick scroll through the Road It Up feed reveals classic and original cocktails, sometimes shot outside and sometimes shot inside with a black backdrop. Mountain biking photos break up the drink ‘grams, as do pictures of their bus and various outdoors scenes. The photo selection follows a ratio of two parts cocktails to one part boho chic to one part outdoorsy family life.