Jump to content Jump to search
featured image

How to Pair American Foods with Your Favorite Drinks

Tue, Sep 26, 23  |  recipes

How to Pair American Foods with Your Favorite Drinks

There’s a Latin phrase that really suits the American summer season. And we’re not thinking of E pluribus unum (although that still wins the day every time). Rather, Omne trium perfectum — translated to “Everything that comes in threes is perfect.” Think about it. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Burgers, brats, and dogs. Classic American foods with beer, wine, or liquor. We won’t get into the debate over what constitutes “American food,” because the list is long, varied, and depends entirely on who you ask…and with good reason! That said, we are leaning on some of the most traditional Fourth of July food choices and pairing them with delicious drink options that will please your neighbors, your family, and you.

We’ve picked three traditional Fourth of July recipes: BBQ, a seafood boil, and a sweet berry trifle, and paired each with a beer, a wine, and spirit so you’ll have a cool drink in hand when you raise a glass to the U.S.A. 

What to Pair with BBQ

It’s smoky, meaty, and whether you use a seasoned dry rub or a rich sauce, it’s all good from the grill. Here’s a handy recipe for grilled BBQ ribs from The Pioneer Woman. One of our own Cox’s & Evergreen Liquors grandmothers tweaked her family recipe after trying these, so we trust the seal of approval:

Grilled BBQ Pork Ribs (6-8 servings)

  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 ½ tsp. onion powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 racks baby back ribs (about 5 to 6 pounds total)
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable oil, plus more for oiling the grates
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ cup BBQ sauce, plus more to serve
  1. Preheat a grill (charcoal or gas) to 300˚, with the coals or flames only under one-half of the grill.
  2. For the spice rub: Mix the brown sugar, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne in a small bowl.
  3. Place the rack of ribs on a large sheet tray and remove the membrane from the underside of the ribs. Rub the vegetable oil all over both sides of the ribs, then sprinkle evenly with the spice rub.
  4. Place the ribs on the sheet tray, with the curves of the bones facing down. Add the chicken stock and vinegar to the tray. Wrap the tray tightly with aluminum foil and place on the grill over the side with no coals/flame. Cook over indirect heat until the internal temperature of the ribs reads 180˚ to 190˚, about 90 minutes to 2 hours. (Or, you can bake the ribs in a 300° oven.)
  5. Increase the grill temp to 375˚ and oil the grill grates well. Transfer the ribs directly over the grill grates and brush the tops with the BBQ sauce. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Carefully turn the ribs over and baste the other side with the BBQ sauce. Cover again and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Continue basting and turning the ribs until the BBQ sauce has created a sticky coating and the ribs are charred in spots, 10 to 20 minutes longer.
  6. Transfer the ribs to a cutting board, brush with any remaining sauce, cut into pieces, and serve.

Beer: American Pale Ale

An American Pale Ale. Why? This is a solid BBQ and beer pairing because an APA is lighter, and not as bitter, as its IPA cousin. It also uses American hops, which are more citrusy, giving you a crisp, bright sip that balances the fat in the meat and the smokiness of the grill and sauce.

Wine: Phantom Red Blend

A smooth, balanced red that transitions easily from the dinner table to the fire pit. Made by Bogle vineyards, it’s California-made with Zinfandel grapes, and you’ll find whispers of blackberries, peppercorn (great complement to the BBQ sauce!), and a subtle sweetness that doesn’t shy away from grilled meat.

Spirit: Woodford Reserve

It’s classic, and the fact that its subtle oak flavor elevates your grill work? Ideal. The notes of vanilla and caramel melt into the flavors of BBQ, but the proud kick from this Kentucky-made bourbon keeps things from getting too precious.

What to Pair with a Seafood Boil

You don’t have to be from New England to think potatoes, corn, shrimp, garlic, and butter belong together. This recipe is a staple, because you don’t actually boil anything except the potatoes, and that’s only for 10 minutes…it’s a sheet pan dinner with all the flavors of the real deal, and it saves you from steaming up the kitchen, or from calling off the party if it rains outside.

Sheet Pan Shrimp Boil Recipe (serves 6):

  • 1 lb baby potatoes, quartered
  • 3 ears of corn (cut each into 5 equal chunks) *Hint: Make it even faster with a bag of frozen roasted corn from Trader Joe’s
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed (with the side of a knife. Minced is an option if you prefer).
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (frozen is fine, if thawed)
  • 1 package smoked andouille sausage, sliced *Chicken sausage can also be substituted
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp fresh chopped Italian parsley
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Bring salted water to a boil and boil the potatoes for 9-12 minutes.
  3. If you’re using corn on the cob, add the chunks to the boiling water for the last 5 minutes, then drain the potatoes and corn well.
  4. Melt the butter, and stir in the 6 cloves of garlic (smashed or minced), plus the Old Bay.
  5. Prep a sheet pan with non-stick cooking spray, then add the potatoes, corn, shrimp, and sausage.
  6. Pour the butter mixture over the pan and stir to combine, then bake for 12-15 minutes.
  7. Squeeze the lemon over the pan, and sprinkle the chopped parsley. Serve warm!

Beer: Pilsner

It’s just a great option for this hearty summer meal. A touch dry, with a hint of acidity and the faintest floral bitterness to cut through the paprika-and-butter-coated shrimp. Pick your favorite Pilsner (we carry a healthy number of them in our shop!) and trust we led you on a satisfying path.

Wine: Riesling

Green apple, pear, honey, and tropical fruits…Riesling is a perfect match for the tender shrimp and the hearty potatoes in this seafood meal. While Rieslings can vary in dryness and sweetness, look for an off-dry or medium sweetness bottle, often labeled “Halbtrocken” if it’s a German Riesling.

Spirit: High-Noon Seltzer

Something about these just hits right. The High-Noon cans say (and keeping in line with our perfect threes belief): Real vodka, real fruit juice, real seltzer. These come in flavors like grapefruit, pineapple, and lemon, and honestly, all of them work really well to balance the buttery, savory flavors in the seafood dish.

What to Pair with a Berry Trifle

Fluffy angel food cake, juicy berries, and chilled cream…another delicious triumvirate! One of our favorite Fourth of July desserts, this trifle is festive, easy, and it’s red, white, and blue for the holiday. It can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Just pop it in the fridge and wait to decorate the top until you’re ready to serve.

Easy Berry Trifle:

  • 1 angel food cake, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 4 cups (2 pints) strawberries, sliced
  • 4 cups (2 pints) blueberries
  • 1 lemon, for 1 tsp lemon zest and 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 16 oz (1 lb) cream cheese
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 16 oz. container Cool Whip
  1. Arrange half the angel food cake in an even layer at the bottom of your serving bowl.
  2. Stir half the lemon zest and half the juice into the strawberries, and repeat with the blueberries, keeping the berries separate.
  3. Beat the ¼ cup sugar and the cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until smooth and light. Gently fold in the Cool Whip.
  4. Sprinkle half the blueberries evenly on top of the cake. Top with half of the whipped topping, then layer strawberries over.
  5. Repeat cake, blueberries, and whipped cream, then top with strawberries decoratively.
  6. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to 24 hours.

Beer: Sam Adams Summer

A citrusy, American Pale Wheat Ale, this classic summer staple is a perfect beer pairing for dessert. Especially one that doesn’t skimp on thick, chilled cream and sweet berries. The hint of spice in the beer is just enough to gently cut through the sugar, and light effervescence is like a sigh of satisfaction.

Wine: La Marca Prosecco

Bubbles. Cold bubbles. Need we say more? We will — if you’re not familiar with prosecco, it’s champagne’s Italian cousin, but somehow more casual. Prosecco is also less expensive, not as dry, and subtly sweeter. It’s easy to sip, and mixable too if you feel like topping off a cocktail with a fizzy layer. But we like it chilly, with dessert.

Spirit: Your favorite vodka + Lemon San Pellegrino

Haven’t tried it? Good. Then we’ve surprised and delighted you with this 2-ingredient cocktail that couldn’t be more perfect for dessert. The recipe isn’t even a recipe: simply pour a shot of your favorite vodka into a cup full of ice and top it with plenty of Lemon San Pellegrino. Welcome to spiked lemonade with a fizzy, light-hearted taste. A perfect cocktail pairing for a summer dessert. 
Be well, be happy, and be safe this Fourth of July (we had to end on a list of threes)! And as always, visit your local Cox’s and Evergreen stores to find plenty of your favorite sipping ingredients. Cheers!
By inquiries@coxslouisville.com