Summer and barbecue go hand in hand: warm weather, the scent of food grilling, the sound of friends gathered around a patio table. Just add a cocktail to the mix and you’re positioned for a perfect summer day. Ready to shake up a drink and enjoy a well-earned lounge day? Here are four balanced and tasty cocktails hand-crafted by Breckenridge Distillery Liquid Chef Billie Keithley and the summer foods you’ll want to pair them with.
Grillin’ & Chillin’ Pineapple Old Fashioned + Smoked Seafood
The sweet-smoky profile of this cocktail enhances the salty succulence of smoked fish. Breckenridge Bourbon’s pronounced notes of butterscotch, candied orange and apple, dry cacao, brown sugar, vanilla and white pepper meld beautifully with the oceanic flavor of your favorite hot-smoked salmon, bluefish, or tuna.
For The Grilled Pineapple Simple Syrup:
- 1 c. demerara sugar
- 4 rings grilled pineapple, plus more for garnish
For The Cocktail:
- 2 ¼ oz. Breckenridge Bourbon
- ½ oz. Grilled Pineapple Simple Syrup
- 2 dashes lemon bitters
- Cherries, for garnish
Make The Pineapple Simple Syrup: In a saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 cup water with the demerara sugar and 4 rings of grilled pineapple. Muddle the fruit and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for 2 hours. Strain, bottle and refrigerate.
Make The Cocktail: Stir together all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a glass over a large ice cube and serve with a wedge of grilled pineapple and a cherry, alongside a serving of smoked salmon.
Sunshine Smash + Boneless Short Ribs
Breckenridge PX Cask Finish Whiskey’s complex, layered flavors of fig compote, orange marmalade, licorice, sweet oak and vanilla make it the ideal smooth, silky, sweet accompaniment for smoked boneless short ribs. The smoky-sweet combination will have you coming back for seconds… and thirds.
- 2 oz. Breckenridge PX Cask Finish Whiskey
- 3 blueberries, plus more for garnish
- 2 blackberries, plus more for garnish
- 1 sliced strawberry, plus more for garnish
- ½ oz. maple syrup
- ½ oz. fresh lemon juice
- ¼ oz. blackberry vinegar
Muddle the berries with the syrup, lemon juice, and vinegar in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add ice and the Breckenridge PX Sherry Cask Finish, then shake and strain twice over crushed ice. Garnish with berries and serve alongside smoked boneless short ribs.
Watermelon & Bubbles + Grilled Shrimp Skewers
Get your fill of watermelon this summer with this bright, watermelon-forward cocktail made with watermelon simple syrup and Breckenridge Vodka, which boasts notes of lemon cream and fragrant meadow flowers. The sweet but light cocktail pairs beautifully with the char of freshly grilled shellfish, so grill up some juicy shrimp skewers for the perfect summery side.
For The Watermelon Simple Syrup:
- 1 c. watermelon juice
- 4 oz. monk fruit sweetener
- 4 basil leaves
- ½ tsp. whole white peppercorns
For The Cocktail:
- 1 oz. Breckenridge Vodka
- 1 ½ oz. Watermelon Simple Syrup
- ½ oz. fresh lime juice
- Club soda
- 1 slice watermelon, cut into shapes, for garnish
- 1 slice cantaloupe, cut into shapes, for garnish
- Basil, for garnish
Make The Watermelon Simple Syrup: In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the watermelon juice, monk fruit sweetener, basil leaves and peppercorns. Muddle gently and stir until the sweetener is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for 2 hours. Strain, bottle and refrigerate.
Make The Cocktail: Combine the Breckenridge Vodka with the Watermelon Simple Syrup and lemon juice in a glass. Fill the remainder of the glass with ice and top with club soda. Gently stir to incorporate, then garnish with basil and watermelon and cantaloupe shapes on a skewer and serve alongside grilled watermelon wedges.
Sparkling Spring + Summer Salad
This cocktail is endlessly delicate: Breckenridge Gin, which features 11 botanicals, serves as the base, while fresh fruit and tonic bring gentle sweetness and bubbles. The gin’s floral juniper, citrus, and spice notes serve as the perfect complement to a satisfying summer salad of spinach, almonds, feta, melon and lemony vinaigrette.
- 5 slices cucumber, plus more for garnish
- 4 slices strawberry, plus more for garnish
- 1 ½ oz. Breckenridge Gin
- Strongwater Tonic
- Mint sprig, for garnish
Place the cucumbers and strawberries in the bottom of a glass with a handful of crushed ice. Add the Breckenridge Gin, stir, then top with tonic and more crushed ice. Garnish with cucumber and strawberry slices and a mint sprig, alongside a cucumber, strawberry and basil salad.