The Best Drinks To Pair With A Cookout

Today’s cookouts call for more than just a cooler of beer - wine and cocktails are becoming increasingly popular in backyards across the country. From grilled dishes to cool desserts and appetizers, wine and wine cocktails complete the summer menu at every backyard cookout.

For grilled vegetables: Chardonnay. Serious Eats recommends washing down grilled zucchini and eggplant with a fresh Chardonnay with “unfurling lovely flavors of lime, cantaloupe, and pineapple. Extend the farmer's market theme by looking for a Chardonnay that retains fresh fruit flavors by doing time in stainless steel.”

Tip: For a yummy cocktail, try The Star Gazer. Mix Chardonnay, dark rum, vanilla bean syrup, and pineapple juice in a shaker, strain into a glass, and garnish with a lime wedge.

For cool salads and light appetizers: Prosecco. A dry Prosecco is crisp and bubbly, adding a balance to vegetable or potato salads and French onion dip, according to Good Food Stories, an online food magazine.

Tip: A Prosecco cocktail? For a Raspberry Prosecco Bellini, add raspberry liqueur, fresh basil, and Prosecco.

For grilled seafood: Grillo or Pinot Gris. Seafood and white wine have long been a summer staple pairing. Fresh, fragrant Grillo, a little known white grape from Italy, is great with swordfish.

For a lighter fish like salmon, a one-dimensional Pinot Gris has complementary citrus and mineral flavors.

Tip: Summer is made for the White Sangria Cocktail. Mix Pinot Gris, grapes, peaches, Grand Marnier liqueur, oranges, and limes.

For grilled steak and ribs: Syrah. A typically peppery and blackberry flavored dark wine, Syrah (also known as Shiraz) pairs well with a hearty steak and fall-off-the-bone ribs, according to Big Red Liquors in Indiana.

For grilled chicken: Moschofilero, Vinho Verde, or Verdelho. Moschofilero, a fruity and floral white wine from Greece, and Vinho Verde, a lighter and leaner white wine from Portugal, are great pairings with grilled chicken. Another Portuguese white wine, Verdelho, offers peach and pear flavors to complement the charcoaled flavor of chicken.

Tip: Turn Moschofilero into an Herbal Delight, a sweet summer cocktail that’s served on the rocks and includes Moschofilero, tonic water, and fresh basil and mint.

For sweet desserts: Moscato d’Asti. The pinnacle of dessert wine, Moscato d’Asti is perfect for sweet desserts, from fruit tarts to orange sorbet to coconut and pineapple pudding.

Tip: If you’re looking to shake things up, try a Strawberry Wine Punch with Moscato d’Asti, strawberry daiquiri mix from Coppa Cocktails, Sprite, and fresh strawberries.

For grilled sausage: Riesling or Poulsard. According to Serious Eats, “Given the meaty coils' predilection for spice and snap, Riesling—especially a dry Alsatian—provides a rush of acidity that enlivens like no other.

A red wine can have the same effect if the sausage is lamb. A light red like Poulsard from France or cherry Cabernet will do the trick.

Tip: To keep it simple and classy, make a white-wine cocktail spritzer with Riesling and seltzer water, club soda, or Sprite.

For grilled beef burgers: Cru Beaujolais. Earthy and bursting with flavors of red fruit, a slightly chilled Cru Beaujolais from France pairs well with a medium-rare cheeseburger with onions, pickles, lettuce, and tomato.

For grilled turkey or veggie burgers: Rosé or Sauvignon Blanc. The ubiquitous rosé is a summer favorite because it always adds a fruity zing to fresh dishes, especially turkey or veggie burgers. For the latter dish, a citrusy Sauvignon Blanc is also a great choice.

Tip: If you want to change things up, try frosé. This trendy Instagram-friendly drink mixes dry rosé, fresh strawberries, granulated sugar, vodka, and grenadine.

From Chardonnay to Rosé, wine is the cookout menu must-have this summer. Thankfully, we have a wide selection of red and white wine for every backyard barbecue.

For more information about wine and food pairings, visit DMV Distributing in Frederick, Maryland or find a tasting event with a DMV expert near you.

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Topics: Wine Insider, Wine Outing