We’ve talked burgers and fries, but what would a burger extravaganza be without something to drink on the side? Most people reach for an ice cold beer, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, our inner mixologist knows that there has to be a cocktail out there that’s meant for burgers. To help with this search, we enlisted our friend and featured cocktail blogger Greg Mays of Simple Cocktails to share his favorite cocktails to pair with burgers…and what types of burgers to pair each with. Every true cocktail connoisseur knows that, just as you pair wine with food, you can do the same with cocktails. Greg is here to show us the way.
The first drink that people think of when they’re grilling burgers is arguably beer. It’s cheap, easy, and stays cold in a cooler on a hot summer day. Undoubtedly, there is a smaller population who’s happy to experiment with cocktail pairings with their burgers, and certainly as a burger gets more and more gourmet, a $1 can of Budweiser may be a crime that they’re unwilling to commit. I don’t intend to oversimplify the secret to burger-cocktail pairings, but depending on the type of burger you’re eating, but my general rule of thumb is: sweet, sour or whiskey. Or all three. When I eat a steak, I love to include red wine or red vermouth as they pair great naturally with beef, so you’ll see those in 4 of these 7 cocktails. I then chose a sweeter tequila cocktail to contrast with spicy chile and a light-and-fizzy gin cocktail to join with an Indian-themed burger. Enjoy these cocktails and enjoy your summer! This post is part of:
1. NY Sour
Though I’m known as a cocktail guy, I love wine very much. This cocktail is a whiskey sour with red wine floated on top – which is surprisingly easy to accomplish and looks really cool when you serve them. This drink is a great fit for a traditional backyard burger with pickles, ketchup and mustard.
The Southside Fizz is a classic cocktail that’s gaining popularity in bars, and if your barkeep isn’t familiar with the recipe, just call it a “Gin Mojito” and swallow your pride a little bit. I love the way gin pairs with Indian food in particular, and the mint makes it even better. I enjoy sipping this cocktail with a veggie masala burger.
3. Los Angeles
A slightly more complex take on the Whiskey Sour, the Los Angeles adds a dash of sweet vermouth (a great burger companion) and a whole, raw, egg. This is a rich drink as a result and should be paired with a lighter burger, maybe sliders with a pile of carrot straws on top.
I’m originally from Tennessee, where meat and moonshine are great friends. I came up with 2 Black Eyes thinking about how much I enjoyed blackberry ‘shine and how you can’t just drink one. The blackberries’ sweetness and the pungency of the unaged corn liquor are a glad companion for a sloppy burger, either slathered in barbecue sauce or served Hawaiian-style with teriyaki sauce and a pineapple ring.
When I don’t have red wine, I make a Negroni, in which the vermouth, gin, and Campari blend to give me a similar taste experience (no idea why). This fits great with a few burger options, like a turkey or (if you can get it) ostrich burger. (Recipe and photo: Two Tarts on NoshOn.It)
We drink a lot of Margaritas here in Albuquerque, but I’ve found that the grenadine and orange juice make the Sunrise a much sweeter experience, and that sits better with me when I’m noshing on a burger. There’s no doubt you should pair tequila with spicy stuff, and if you’re here in New Mexico, that means a burger with green chile on it.
7. Honey Paddy
Here’s a spin on the Manhattan, replacing the rye with honey Irish whiskey. As with a couple of the other recipes here, red wine/red vermouth is a great fit for our beef-and-bun meals, and the honey in the whiskey makes this a smooth and sweeter experience than you’re used to in a Manhattan. Drink this one with a gourmet burger, hopefully with melted blue cheese and arugula on top.
You can’t have a burger without ice cream, and what better ice cream than one with Jack Daniel’s in it? This recipe combines pecan, vanilla, cinnamon and Jack – you ready to break out the ice cream maker yet? The only stipulation is that as tempted as you’ll be to add more Tennessee whiskey, go easy, because it’ll prevent your ice cream from freezing all the way. This is best paired any every type of burger, because you’ll be eating it afterwards anyway.