Bank holidays are little pockets of joy scattered throughout the year, providing us with the well needed time to invest in our social life. Here’s hoping for some sunshine as the evenings stretch out so we can fire up the obligatory barbecue and get your mates together in the garden. As well as food, you can incorporate drinks in the planning process. So, we’re here to help you think about the important stuff, like what alcohol goes best with barbecued meats? And which cocktails are easy to make and just as easy to enjoy in the sun?
Sweet and Fruity Cocktai
Sticking to drinks that contain fruit juices will provide a refreshing and sweet taste that is often associated with summertime. Cocktails that can be made in advance, like Pimms or Punch, will take the hassle out of entertaining. The fresher the fruits and juices, the better. Fresh fleshy fruits like peaches, oranges and melon make perfect BBQ beverages, pairing well with fruity barbecue sauces, crunchy salads and holding their own against spicy rubs and marinades.
Kick things off with this fruity little number, Like a Breeze, featuring watermelon
liqueur and juice and pineapple juice. Or scale up this Rum Punch recipe by making it in a mixing bowl or jug and adding the ice just as your guests arrive.
Aperitifs are lighter and more complex than fruit-based cocktails. The aim of an Aperitif is to get your stomach ready for food, so they stimulate your taste buds and whet your appetite.
Steer clear of anything too substantial in terms of alcohol content if you want your guests to go the distance, but don’t be afraid of more assertive flavours. Sour, bitter or floral ingredients work best, so the Bitter Summer, using grapefruit and lemon, will really get the tongue going. The passion fruit provides the sweetness, and the Campari adds a complex, bitter orange flavour and a beautiful scarlet red colour to the mix. Another drink with a flavoursome range that’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser is the East London Dry, a non-alcoholic cocktail with cucumber, rosemary, lime and tonic water.
It’s not just about light and refreshing. Warming tones in a drink create comfort in the cooler evening temperatures. And you can take the effort out of making cocktails by ordering ready made ones from the experts. The In-House Cocktail Club Toasted Coconut Old Fashioned provides a charming twist to a classic that accompanies a warm night or sunny BBQ perfectly. The silky blend of Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch and Takamaka Coconut Rum with coconut oil and toasted desiccated coconut is a tasty twist on the original Old Fashioned cocktail. If coconut isn’t your bag, then try a Coffee Negroni. Another twist on a classic that will settle the stomach and keep you alert for the post-dinner dancing.
Pairing Cocktails with BBQ Food
With cold ham, hog roast and pork sausages a staple feature at BBQs, you need to ask, what alcohol goes well with pork? Apple and pork are a traditional combination and translates well when it comes to combining drink and food. A pitcher of Bramley Apple Smash is sure to complement the pork with the Bramley sauce cutting through alongside a sharp zing from the lemon juice.
Another apple-centred drink that will please drinkers and teetotallers alike is the non-alcoholic drink Fall of Apple. Thatcher’s zero apple cider provides the perfect base for this drink and allows everyone to enjoy it regardless of alcoholic preference. It may even convince the most enthusiastic of alcohol enthusiasts.
Bourbon is another beautiful match for BBQ meats, and it features in the Gone Scrumpin’ which is also delightfully snappy. Bourbon, pineapple syrup and cider, what’s not to love? With the addition of some cooling ice, it’s a fuss-free beverage that’s perfect in the heat of the sun and BBQ. The simple recipe makes this an excellent choice for a pitcher to share with others.
Of course, pairings shouldn’t exclusively be for the meat-eaters. With vegetarian and vegan barbecue foods becoming increasingly common, it’s best to consider what works well for meatless foods. Sangria instantly makes you think of the beach or being on holiday, and with it practically invented for sharing, it’s a great choice of serve with your sharing platters and crudités and dips. You can pack plenty of seasonal fruit into the pitcher to keep all those lovely crunchy veg company.
Whatever the weather, this summer will be the season of garden entertaining, so get your apron on, pour yourself a cocktail and get cooking!