Weekend Grilling, Made Better With Spirits

With the Memorial Day Weekend just around the corner, it evokes memories of friends and family gathered around the backyard grill and the sweet aroma of smoky barbecue.

How do you improve on that? Try pairing your culinary genius with craft spirits. From whiskey, to bourbon, to vodka and beyond – the renaissance in American Craft Distilling has created so many new flavors it’s easier than ever to match booze with food. A good pairing makes both taste better.

Here are some suggestions to get you started.


Match Flavors: Read the tasting notes to find out what kind of flavors to expect from the spirit. Then, match it to the flavors of the food. A single malt with notes of honey, peach and mango may pair nicely with honey glazed grilled chicken. But combining it with barbecue pork in a vinegar based sauce might be jarring.

Match Intensities: Light bodied spirits go better with lighter fare such as seafood and chicken. But spirits with smoked malts hold their own against ribs drenched in heavy sauce. What you don’t want is for the food to overwhelm the booze, or vice versa.

Don’t Overthink It: If it isn’t perfect, or even a bad match, who cares? You’ve still got good food and great booze to enjoy. Try something different next time and let the snobs obsess over how they’re going to cleanse their palate.

Now if you really want to get fancy, here are some Rogue Spirits and food pairings ideas from our Distiller John Wilcox.

Savory: John suggests mixing a classic gin and tonic with our Spruce Gin, then pairing it with rosemary pork chops with sides of quick pickle cucumber and onion relish.

Sour: Try our Oregon Single Malt Whiskey with fresh lemon and orange juice, splash of lemon-lime soda, dash of bitters. Serve with steak drenched in sweet BBQ sauce. John’s personal favorite is Stubb’s.

Sweet: Muddle fresh blueberries and mint in Single Malt Vodka. Add a small dash of lime juice and sweeten with simple syrup or floral liqueur. Serve with balsamic-glazed chicken.

Have a great holiday weekend from everyone at Rogue Spirits!