Smoke & sunshine
The best summer drinks start with fruit. Think of everything from pineapple mai tais to citrusy lemonade. Now take that fruit and grill it, and you're rocking a whole new level of intensified flavor from the smoky, caramelized fruit juices. So, let's get fired up and make some grilled cocktails! Note: Each cocktail includes a non-boozy mocktail variation.
Related: Get hot tips to make the best grilled fruit.
You'd think that pineapple was already sweet and juicy, but grilling it made it even more so. We even grilled oranges for garnishing, because why not? This will totally crush it at your next tiki party.
Make it a mocktail: Leave out the booze and pour orange juice, pineapple juice, and a touch of grenadine over ice.
While we were standing around the grill, the aroma of the sizzling tomatoes, onions, garlic, and peppers for the Bloody Mary mix made our mouths water! And the flavor of all those vegetables blended together was so robust, we really could have eaten this with a spoon. That's why we're calling it Gazpacho Bloody Mary. It's a soup! It's a cocktail! It's everything!
Make it a mocktail: Simple. Just leave out the vodka and thin out the grilled vegetable mix with your favorite tomato juice.
Sweet smoky grilled peaches muddled with grilled lemon and mint, shaken up with bourbon, and topped with ginger ale. Tell me when to stop, because this cocktail can't.
Make it a mocktail: Just leave out the bourbon and top up with ginger ale.
I always order a Paloma at my favorite Mexican restaurant in Seattle, so I wanted to try doing a grilled version. There's a smoky undertone that makes the flavors deeper and more complex, but the cocktail was still as refreshing as I was hoping it would be.
Make it a mocktail: Leave out the tequila and make up the difference with more club soda or grapefruit soda.
Caramelizing the citrus on the grill darkens the color of this family-friendly mocktail. To intensify the flavor, sweeten with grilled rosemary simple syrup (see notes below)and garnish with more fresh rosemary.
Make it a cocktail: Add 1 1/2 oz. vodka, gin, white rum, or silver tequila to each serving. For an especially smoky cocktail, add 1 oz. silver tequila and 1/2 oz. mescal to each drink.
Grilled Rosemary Simple Syrup
Grill 3 sprigs fresh rosemary until just fragrant and lightly charred, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Whisk together 2 cups water and 2 cups sugar in a small saucepan. Cook, whisking over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil and sugar dissolves. Add grilled rosemary; remove from heat and let steep 30 minutes. Discard rosemary. Chill syrup until cold, about 1 hour.
Portions of this article appeared in Allrecipes Magazine.