BBQ Cocktails (Literally)

Five ideas for making barbecue-inspired cocktails
BBQ Cocktails (Literally)
Maryse Chevriere

You're out back, the grill is going, the sun is shining, and you've got a perfectly mixed drink in hand — it's exactly the kind of visual that helped sustain you through the brutal winter months. Now with summer (finally) here, it's time to make good on all that wishful thinking. Because there's no denying it: Barbecue and cocktails make a happy pair.

But what if we took that relationship to the next level? Consider, for example, cocktails that actually included barbecue and grilling flavors on the ingredients list. Like an Old Fashioned featuring bourbon infused with the same smoked bacon that garnishes your signature burgers, or a refreshing michelada rimmed with your go-to spice rub.

If you've got 'cue fever, we've come up with five ideas for truly inspired cocktails.


1. Barbecue sauce as Bloody Mary base

Traditionally made with ingredients like Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and horseradish, a savory cocktail like the Bloody Mary has a lot of potential for a barbecue adaptation. Try subbing in your favorite barbecue sauce for a seriously fresh-off-the-grill interpretation. 


2. Spice rub gets the garnish treatment

Why not use cocktails as another opportunity to show off your signature, secret-family-recipe spice rub? Try the rub mixture as a garnish on anything from a standard margarita or michelada to a citrusy libation like the Liquid Sunshine.


3. Smoked bacon spirits

One-up those pre-fab bacon-infused spirits by opting to make your own homemade batch. Infuse your favorite bourbon with smoked bacon fresh off the grill, then used the finished product as the base for the oh-so-tasty Bacon Old Fashioned.


4. Mix in sweet and smoky gilled fruit 

Pineapple, figs, melon, peaches — these are just a few of the fruits that taste great with a couple of grill marks on them. But instead of chopping up the grilled fruit make a salsa, try it mixed in a fresh fruit cocktail, like a Piña Colada.


5. Kick it up with hot sauce and vinegar

Hot sauce and vinegar are staples of many regional barbecue styles, so it only makes sense to try an incorporate them into your grill-side cocktail hour. Try oh-so-popular Sriracha shaken in the Spicy Basil, or apple cider vinegar in a gin-based refresher.