You’ve probably got your summer cookout game planned out, but if you’re looking to take your summer cocktails to the next level, look no further than your grill. Grilling fruit is a great way to create cocktails that pair perfectly with hot summer days and long summer nights.
Here’s everything you need to know about grilling fruit for summer cocktails.
Getting Fired Up
Pick the Right Fruit
The best fruits to flame are those that don’t fall apart on the grill. Go for citrus, plums, watermelon, pineapple, and firm stone fruit like peaches and nectarines. Berries and cherries are a little harder to handle on a grill. But they can still work with a bit of finessing.
How to Grill
- Pineapple: Remove the skin and core, then cut the fruit into rings
- Stone fruit: Cut the fruit in half and remove the pit
- Watermelon and citrus: Keep the rind on and cut into wedges or rounds
- Berries and cherries: Use a grill pan or skewers
To put the fruit directly on the grill, brush the cut side with some butter or neutral-flavored oil. Then, place it flesh-side down on a medium-high heat grill. Most fruit only needs a few minutes on each side – you want them to get just a bit soft.
If you’re using skewers, keep the fruit in larger pieces, make sure the grill is well-oiled, and don’t forget to soak wooden skewers first. Turn the fruit to make sure it cooks without burning.
If you don’t have access to an outdoor grill, use a grill pan on the stove or your oven broiler for similar results.
What To Mix With Grilled Fruit
Grilling fruit concentrates the sweet and smoky flavors, so anything else that goes into the glass needs to balance things out.
Citrus and ginger mixers work well with grilled fruit. To add a touch of caramelized sweetness, use brown sugar instead of regular white sugar to make a simple syrup. You can also add herbs like mint or thyme to your simple syrup for another fresh summer taste.
Tip for Bar Menus
Grilled fruit makes a great addition to a bar menu, too. Puree or muddle grilled fruit to add summer flavors for innovative seasonal offerings.
Get Started With This Delicious Summer Cocktail Trend
Peaches and bourbon go together like ice cream and cobbler. This fruit twist on a whiskey smash is summer grilling in a glass.
Grilled Peach Whiskey Smash
- one peach, cut in half
- 3/4 ounce brown sugar simple syrup
- 2 ounces bourbon
- ginger beer (or ginger ale or club soda)
Grill the peach halves for about 7-8 minutes, just until the fruit is soft. When the peach is cool, muddle it in a cocktail shaker. Add the simple syrup and bourbon to the shaker with some ice. Shake and strain into a festive glass. Top off with a little bit of ginger beer. Garnish with a peach slice.
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