Shake Up Your Grill Game
Three summertime sides come off the plate and into the shaker
We love the smoky char that the grill gives our favorite cuts of meat and vegetables, but a good bed of coals and a lick of flame can also elevate your seasonal cocktail menu. Let the deepened flavors of these three grilled favorites enrich the beverages you’ll serve this summer.
No cookout is complete without a deep red, juicy watermelon. Luckily, our favorite summertime treat is sturdy enough to hold its own on a grill grate. Cut into thick slices and brush both sides with a marinade of honey, fresh lime juice and a sprinkle of salt. Prep your grate with a rubdown of coconut oil for an extra hint of flavor. Once you spot grill marks and the melon has deepened in color, puree the fruit for a succulent addition to mint mojitos. Or, try shaking your puree with vodka, simple syrup, lime juice and basil. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a basil-wrapped cube of feta for a sweet/savory explosion.
This favorite root vegetable is a standby on the grill, and with the trend of savory cocktails on the rise, they’re the perfect candidate for a drink that will stand out. Toss carrots in 100 percent pure maple syrup. Depending on the size, they can go right on the grate, or use a grill pan with holes to still capture the flavor. Grill until softened enough to poke a fork through. Run through a juicer for an earthy, sweet liquid that pairs with apple, orange and ginger for a bright and healthy non-alcoholic offering. With its flavors of caraway and cardamom, aquavit is the perfect complementary spirit to kick things up.
Corn on the Cob
There’s always room for sweet corn slathered in butter and salt, but corn is also an astonishing flavor boost to craft cocktails. Baste a naked cob with olive oil and set directly on the grate. Being careful not to blacken, watch for the kernels to brown and be ready to burst. After shaving the cobs clean, puree the corn and press through cheesecloth to reserve the milk. Its mild creaminess and sweetness make a terrific base for a simple syrup you can then play with in a caipirinha with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and a rim of seasoning salt. Or use it in a mezcal old fashioned for a smoky/sweet combo that screams summer grillin’.