the best bbq drink pairings for Summer

The greatest drink & BBQ pairings for this summer

The Summer season demands the perfect combination of flame-kissed food and BBQ cocktails. Are you excited to know the best BBQ drink pairings for Summer? Discover our top tips for creating harmonious pairings that will leave your guests craving more. Get ready to clink your glasses to a memorable Summer!

For many of us, this beautiful season is the perfect time to gather with friends and family and enjoy mouthwatering barbecues. Nothing beats the savoury and smoky flavours of grilled meats and veggies, whether it’s just unwinding after a long day or hosting a BBQ cookout on your terrace or garden. And what better way to enhance that experience than pairing it with the perfect cocktail? 

Knowing what cocktail works best for you can be challenging with so many flavours and ingredients in the market today. That is why we’ve compiled a list of drinks, cocktails and BBQ pairings that will elevate your meal to a new level. 

For classic lovers

If you stick to traditional dishes, go for wines you know and adore. Grill the perfect juicy steak and match it with your favourite bold, fruity red. For grilled chicken, try a rich, full-flavoured white such as Chardonnay. Moreover, when grilling fish, go for something crisp and zesty like a Sauvignon Blanc.

bbq drink pairings for Summer such as wine and beer
Craving some classic drinks? When in doubt, choose your favourite wine or beer!

How to pair cocktails with BBQ

Here are some tips to learn the best barbecue drink pairings for Summer:

  • Match the intensity. Ensure the cocktail’s strength and intensity align with the food’s robustness. Lighter cocktails work well with lighter dishes, while stronger cocktails hold their own against hearty BBQ meals.
  • Balance sweetness. Aim for slightly less sweet cocktails to avoid overwhelming the palate if your food tends to be sweet. For example, go for a less sweet drink if you eat grilled bell peppers or grilled lamb. Alternatively, if your food is savoury or spicy, choose cocktails with a touch of sweetness to provide a contrasting flavour.
  • Refreshing choices. Outdoor gatherings call for refreshing drinks, especially during Summer. Think about drinking and BBQ food pairings with citrusy or fruity profiles, as they provide a thirst-quenching experience. Experiment with your cocktails’ ingredients like citrus juices, berries, or tropical fruits.

Cocktail Flavor Profiles

  • Sweet: These cocktails are characterized by their sugary taste, often derived from sweet liqueurs, syrups, or fruit juices. They are pleasing to those with a sweet tooth and can be enjoyed as dessert-like drinks. Examples: Piña Colada, Mudslide, Mai Tai.
  • Fruity:They feature fresh fruit juices’ vibrant and refreshing flavours. They are often bright, tangy, and bursting with fruity goodness. Examples: Sangría, Strawberry Daiquiri, Bellini.
  • Sour: They are characterized by their tartness, often derived from citrus juices like lemon or lime. They are zesty and refreshing and stimulate the palate with their tangy acidity. Examples: Whiskey Sour, Daiquiri, Margarita.
  • Savoury: These feature earthy, herbal, or umami-driven flavours. They often incorporate ingredients like olives, herbs, or savoury spirits like gin or whiskey. Examples: Martini, Dirty Martini, Michelada.
  • Spicy: These cocktails feature a kick of heat or spice, often from ingredients like hot sauce, ginger, or jalapenos. They offer a fiery and invigorating drinking experience. Examples: Bloody Mary, Moscow Mule, Spicy Margarita.
Enjoy exploring new flavours and creating memorable BBQ experiences this summer!
  • Bitter: Bitter cocktails feature a pronounced bitterness, often derived from ingredients like amaro, Campari, or bitters. They offer a sophisticated and complex drinking experience. Examples: Negroni, Aperol Spritz, Boulevardier.
  • Herbal: Herbal cocktails feature the fresh and aromatic flavours of herbs like mint, basil, or rosemary. They offer a refreshing and invigorating drinking experience. Examples: Mojito, Gin and Tonic, Pimm’s Cup
  • Creamy Cocktails: Creamy cocktails are characterized by their smooth and velvety texture, often derived from ingredients like cream, Irish cream liqueur, or coconut cream. They offer a rich and indulgent drinking experience. Examples: White Russian, Grasshopper, Baileys Irish Coffee.
  • Citrusy: These feature the bright and tangy flavours of citrus fruits like lemon, lime, or orange. They offer a refreshing and zesty drinking experience. Examples: Cosmopolitan, French 75, Tom Collins
  • Light and Refreshing: These cocktails are characterized by their light and effervescent nature. They often feature soda water or sparkling wine as a key ingredient and offer a refreshing, thirst-quenching drinking experience. Examples: Aperol Spritz, Gin Fizz, Cucumber Cooler.

These flavour profiles can help you choose cocktails that suit your taste preferences and enhance your BBQ experience. Whether you prefer something sweet, sour, spicy, or herbal, there’s a cocktail to satisfy every palate.

The best barbecue drink pairings for Summer

Complete your barbecue with our colourful summer drinks. Try a boozy, fruity cocktail, a refreshing sangria or many more!

Refreshing Sangria

Sangria, typically made with wine, fruit juices, and fresh fruit, has a refreshing and fruity profile that complements the smoky, savoury, and sometimes spicy flavours of grilled meats. The sweetness and acidity of sangria can balance the richness and heaviness of the meats, providing a pleasant contrast. Moreover, Sangria is highly versatile and can be made with various fruits and wines (red, white, or rosé).

Watermelon Vodka Cocktail

There is no better cocktail when the sun is out at a BBQ than this refreshing Watermelon vodka cocktail. Watermelon is known for its high water content, making it extremely refreshing and hydrating, which is perfect for hot BBQ days. The Watermelon Vodka Cocktail can help guests stay cool and refreshed while enjoying their meal. Try mixing watermelon, vodka, honey and lime juice and let us know the results in the comment section! Plot twist: We dare you to serve this drink with grilled shrimp for a cooling combination!

Strawberry mojito 

A Strawberry mojito is a great pairing for BBQ due to its refreshing and vibrant flavours. The sweetness of strawberries and the zing of mint and lime complement the smoky and savoury notes of grilled meats. The cocktail’s lightness and effervescence balance the richness of BBQ dishes. Additionally, its bright red colour adds visual appeal, and it’s easy to make in large batches for guests!

Grilled lemon gin and tonic

We bet you didn’t see this one coming! For a different experience, add some grilled lemon to your gin and tonic! Grilling the lemon adds a smoky, caramelised flavour that complements the gin’s botanical notes and tonic water’s bitterness. Moreover, this drink is light and refreshing, perfect for hot BBQ days, and helps cleanse the palate between bites of rich grilled meats. The charred lemon slices add a rustic and appealing look to the cocktail, and honestly, it’s so easy to make, requiring only a few ingredients.

Elderflower gin fizz

Experience the feel of a quintessentially British garden with fruity and floral flavours that will have everyone dreaming of the countryside. Gin is the classic British spirit and is perfect to serve as a base for this cocktail. The classic gin and elderflower fizz recipe has bitter lemon, gin, cucumber, and elderflower tonic, while we encourage you to create a fruity version by adding blackberries and apples.

beer to pair with bbq
You don’t like cocktails? Read our Ultimate guide on how to pair beer and BBQ

For the little ones

Let the kids enjoy all the barbecue fun with a large pitcher of homemade lemonade. This traditional drink is easy to make and packed with flavour, making it zesty and loved by everyone.

The sober selection: juices and non-alcoholic drinks

For a family-friendly BBQ or those preferring non-alcoholic drinks, there’s no shortage of refreshing choices:

  • Lemonade: Classic or flavoured (strawberry, lavender).
  • Iced Tea: Sweet or unsweetened, with lemon or mint.
  • Fruit Punch: Mixed fruit juices with fresh fruit slices.
  • Sparkling Water: Plain or flavoured (lime, berry).
  • Cucumber Mint Cooler: Cucumber, mint, and lime juice blend.
  • Watermelon Juice: Freshly blended watermelon.
  • Coconut Water: Naturally hydrating.
  • Infused Water: Water with lemon-mint, cucumber-lime, or berry-basil. Also, the subtle flavours of raspberry, lemon, or mint in sparkling water can enhance the dining experience without overpowering the food.
  • Craft Sodas: Local artisanal sodas offer exceptional flavours and craftsmanship, offering a novel tasting experience.

These options are easy to prepare, refreshing, and perfect for a BBQ. Remember, each pairing is an opportunity to explore new taste dimensions, whether through the harmony of complementary flavours or the excitement of contrast.

At the end of the day, the most important rule when pairing cocktails with meals is to always go for something you enjoy. So don’t be afraid to try new things. Who knows? You might just find your new favourite cocktail and BBQ pairing. 


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