Booze & BBQ - the Perfect Combo

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I think it’s safe to say that the dog days of summer are here. We’ve been seemingly stuck in a cycle of pretty hot days for a while now with little to no relief in sight. 

Some of us live for these days, while some of us (me) dream of cooler days ahead (no, not winter but I’m one of those it’s too dang hot people.)

One thing we can all agree with at this time of year is that cooking outdoors is far better than inside. Not only because we can actually do it comfortably for the next number of weeks and it just tastes better but it also helps keep the house cooler.

When it comes to cooking outside, either on the BBQ or a fire pit, there’s one basic rule: you must have a drink in your hand. Whether it’s a beer, wine, cocktail or cooler, well that’s up to you. Everyone has their go-to. Personally, I love a nice lighter, easy drinking beer as my condo patio gets extra hot with the BBQ going and the late afternoon sun doing its thing. 

While those drinks always taste good, you can use what’s in your hand to cook as well. 

The most obvious BBQ pairing is bourbon. It’s naturally sweet and smoky flavours just compliment charred meat so well. Any kind of whisky can work as well, if you feel like supporting Canadian choices over American ones for political reasons right now. 

Wine is of course a popular choice for any kind of cooking. Red wines work especially well with sauces or marinades for meat. It just takes existing flavours and kicks them up a notch. 

If you’re looking for something to sweeten up that sauce? Rum could be a good choice.  A spiced rum can especially add some sweet and savoury notes. 

That bottle of tequila that’s been sitting your cupboard for a while? It’s great for barbecue as well. It’s especially good with ingredients that you’d associate with it’s origins. Think chicken with some citrus kick, though it’s a pretty versatile flavour that works in a lot of different recipes. 

If you’re looking for a more herbal kick, then you might want to reach for that bottle of gin. It’s not something you’d considering using much on the grill. The flavours of gin can be a little more gentle, shall we say, and might not hold up to the big bold, charred flavours that fire brings. However, if balanced properly, gin can add some nice herbal notes for when you’re either short on fresh herbs or looking for a hint of something a little different.

No matter what bottle you end up cooking with, it’s important to cook the booze for as long as you can before serving. The longer you cook it, the more alcohol will be burned off. It’s not always important but something to keep in mind depending on who you are cooking for. 

What’s your favourite bbq pairing? 

Joel Gasson