Happy Independence Day, America!
All across these United States, pools are filling, flip flops are flopping, and charcoals are being lit. Supermarket bravery (…because have you seen a checkout line on July 3rd? Not for the faint of heart…) is being rewarded with a nicely charred steak, perfectly grilled hot dogs, and beautifully broiled burgers.
I have to ask: what are you drinking with it, America?
Generally, the go-to adult beverage for barbecues and cookouts is an ice cold beer. Classic! But why not pair some vino with all the charcoally* goodness you’ll be serving today? I can help you do just that!
*not actually a word, but just go with it
The first and foremost tip for success here: chill your wines. Yes, all of them. A hot red wine on a warm day with barbecued food is not the move. Added food spices will only increase the heat and red-in-the-face factor. Don’t do that to your guests.
Second, keep it uncomplicated. I’ve matched several different menu options, but many wines like Chardonnay and Zinfandel have broad compatibility and are tasty with a variety of foods. Play with flavors and drink what you like.
And now, the pairings!
If you serve: spicy barbecued chicken
Try serving: a chilled California Zinfandel – complement that smoke and spice with a big red that matches each bite!
If you serve: grilled chicken
Try serving: nothing beats a glass of Chardonnay – oaky and deep or buttery and light, the summer crispness will make this a refreshing combo. Alternate pairing: a fruity rosé keeps it light and summery!
If you serve: BBQ ribs
Try serving: break out a Malbec and give gentle pours – the spicy meats meet this spicy varietal where it stands and blends together well.
If you serve: burgers (because of course you’re serving burgers…
or I’m not coming…)
Try serving: a tangy Sauvignon Blanc for veggie burgers, or a yummy Bordeaux for beef or bean burgers.
If you serve: salmon
Try serving: a northwestern Pinot Noir – salmon really stands up to a red, and the minerality of this region will complement the meaty substance that salmon offers. Deeeelish!
If you serve: spicy lamb
Try serving: a cool Shiraz – the fruity currant notes of the wine play nicely with the spice and unique flavors of lamb.
If you serve: grilled vegetables
Try serving: a cold Pinot Gris – keep it light to match the olive oil and green herbs with which you’ve most likely coated those veggies.
BONUS PAIRING: prosecco, cava, champagne…consider adding some bubbles to your barbecue! There’s a palate cleansing effect here that resets the tastebuds and embodies summer celebration. Fireworks in the sky and fireworks in your glass sounds like fun!
One final tip: sangrias and champagne punches lend themselves to big batch formats with self-serve setups and budget friendly pricepoints. You’ll get a fun beer alternative for the wine drinkers and free hands to enjoy the party yourself!
Have a safe and happy 4th of July everyone!