While a BBQ may mainly be about the food, drinks are just as important if you want to make it a success. Serving a special cocktail or two the next time you grill will give the event an extra flare.
However, the world of bbq cocktails can be a bit overwhelming. There are so many different cocktails and components that go into making them. Don’t be intimidated by the skill of the mixologist from your last trip to a cocktail bar.
We are here to show you that making cocktails the next time you are grilling does not have to be difficult. You can achieve amazing results even if you don’t have a lot of experience. Read on and we’ll tell you how to set up the perfect cocktail bar at your next grill.
The Key to Great BBQ Cocktails
When serving cocktails at a BBQ there are a few key things to consider. First of all, how many guests are you entertaining? If there are only a small number of guests you may just want to prepare one or two different cocktails.
However, if you are hosting considerably more people it is worth offering a wider variety of drinks. Make sure that you have a few options of different liquor for your mixed drinks. That way there’s bound to be a cocktail available that appeals to most of your guests.
Another important thing to consider is the ease of preparing and serving each cocktail. It is generally best to make your cocktails in advance. Unless of course you are a trained mixologist, or find it fun to spend the afternoon preparing individual cocktails.
Advanced preparation is easy to do. It will also leave you free to focus on the prep and cooking during the BBQ. Make your drinks ahead and store in the fridge until ready to serve. All cocktails are just as delicious when made in advance, as long as you serve them cold.
When hosting a party, including one where you’ll be grilling, a drinks station is a good idea. This should be a designated area where guests can go to help themselves to refreshments.
Make sure you equip your drinks station with cups, ice and lemon or lime slices. Also include soft drinks and any other beverages you are serving.
A good place to have the drinks station is near a fridge, so you can keep some drinks cold. Alternatively, set up coolers with ice under or next to the table. Fill these with beer, water, soft drinks, white wine or any other drinks that you want to serve cold.
Some other great additions to your drinks station are a trashcan, bottle openers, straws and napkins, plus, of course, glasses and cups. Make sure the trashcan is big and visible for people to discard empty drinks cans or cups. This will really help you with clean up after the event.
Try to have everything at the drinks station that your guests may need. That way you will eliminate guests rifling through the kitchen cupboards trying to find things. It will also help to reduce your own stress if you have to leave the grill to locate a missing item.
When it comes to serving your cocktails at the drinks station, be sure to label them. That way your guest knows exactly what they are drinking. Serve the cocktails in large pitchers or punch bowls and allow your guests to help themselves.
Ensure there is plenty of ice available for guests to put into their cups before serving. Serving and drinking cocktails cold is the key to the best flavor. Make sure to keep an eye on all of your cocktails and top up or refill where needed.
Having a number of people serving themselves drinks can be a risk if you’re using your best glasses. That being said, you might want to buy disposable cups for serving drinks at your BBQ.
If you want something that looks a little nicer, invest in an attractive set of reusable plastic cocktail cups. A set of reusable plastic cups are a great investment for hosting grills or other outdoor gatherings.
They come in all shapes and sizes so you will not have to compromise on appearance or practicality. With plastic cups you will not worry about them breaking or having to clean up broken glass.
They will also be really easy to clean up and maintain as long as you buy dishwasher safe ones. It is definitely worth considering if you plan on hosting many future BBQs.
Disposable cups are great for easy and quick clean up; you can throw everything in the trash. They are also cheaper than buying a new set of reusable plastic cups, at least in the short run. If you do not plan on hosting these events very often, then disposable cups are the best way forward.
Big Batch Cocktails
A great way to serve cocktails without the stress at a BBQ is by making big batch cocktails. These are simply large quantities of a cocktail which allow you to serve more guests at the same time. They are easy to make ahead and store in the fridge until ready to serve.
If you do not have a fridge nearby and want to serve them at your drinks station you have a couple of options. You could pour each cocktail into a smaller jug and keep an eye on when it needs refilling.
Or decant the cocktail into labeled plastic bottles and place into a cooler with ice next to your drinks station. Here are some recipes for big batch cocktails that would be great at any BBQ.
1. Classic Sangria
Fruity and fresh, this a great BBQ cocktail that everyone will enjoy.
Slice all the fruit into rounds and place into a large pitcher or bowl, depending on how you wish to serve your drink.
Place the rum and sugar into the fruit and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to develop the flavors.
When you are ready to serve the Sangria, muddle the fruit to release some of their flavors.
Add the red wine and orange juice to the fruit and rum mixture then stir well.
Serve and enjoy.
2. Pineapple Gimlet
This tropical cocktail is easy, refreshing and delicious.
Mix all ingredients together well in a large punch bowl or pitcher and store in the fridge.
Serve over ice.
3. Rum Punch
A rum base with an orange and pineapple kick makes this sweet and summery cocktail impossible to resist.
Mix all ingredients well in a large punch bowl or pitcher.
Store in the fridge until well chilled and ready to serve.
Serve over ice with orange or pineapple slices.
4. Mint Julep
Cool and refreshing, this whiskey based cocktail is irresistible with a minty twist.
Bring water and sugar to a boil and stir until sugar has fully dissolved.
Place 1 cup of mint leaves into the sugar and water and then remove pan from heat.
Let the leaves sit in the syrup for 1 hour to infuse flavor.
Strain and store in the fridge until ready to use.
Place remaining ¼ cup of mint leaves into a large bowl or pitcher and muddle with a wooden spoon. This helps release the flavors of the mint leaves.
Add the bourbon and mint syrup to the bowl or pitcher. Store the mix in the fridge until ready to serve.
When ready to serve, add in sparkling water or club soda and pour over ice.
5. Moscow Mule
This vodka and ginger beer classic is the perfect accompaniment to any BBQ.
Mix all ingredients well in a large bowl or pitcher. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.
When ready to serve, pour over ice.
Now you are ready to become the mixologist you always knew you could be. Making your favorite cocktails in large batches is not only easy but the results are just as delicious. The key is temperature.
Make sure to chill each cocktail in the fridge before serving. Also have plenty of ice available for serving the cocktails to your guests. If you are setting up a drinks station, have fruit slices, straws and stirrers available to add an extra touch to each drink.
Serving your cocktails in pitchers or punch bowls makes them easy to pour into cups. If you are using a punch bowl, an easy pour ladle will help to avoid any spills.
I hope these cocktail recipes have inspired you to add a bit of extra fun and flavor to your next BBQ. Good luck channeling your inner mixologist and creating fresh and fruity cocktails.