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Grilling season is well underway and it's gonna be amazing...just as soon as it stops raining. All day. For all the days. Soon enough the faucet will turn off, and when it does, we will all be looking to grill anything and everything that isn't nailed down in an effort to make up for lost time. When you do get a chance to fire up, why not start off with one of these cocktails crafted with sweet grilled fruit and spicy toasted chilies?
Grilled Pineapple Mojito
If you've never put fruit on the grill, pineapple is an excellent place to start. It has a lot of surface area to get nice grill marks on, it never dries out, and the heat brings out tons of excellent, sweet flavor. Grilled pineapple is excellent paired with lime and fresh mint, and muddled together, they make a heck of a mojito. The result is subtly smoky, tropical, and refreshingly minty. Grilled pineapple keeps really well, so throw some extra on and save any leftovers for a second round the next day!
Grilled Tomato and Toasted Chili Cocktail
If you want to make use of the grill while it's heating up, and you like your drinks on the savory side, this is the cocktail to put on your menu. Toast the chilies before you grill anything else, then allow them to steep in the smoky mezcal while you grill off the tomatoes and the rest of your meal. Finish up just before you sit down to eat, and you have just the thing to sip with steak or burgers. Earthy guajillo chilies complement the smokiness of the mezcal. Coriander works well with the acidity of the limes and tomato, while Worcestershire sauce adds salt and a bit of the umami that draws you to a tomato-based cocktail.
Grilled Peach Whiskey Sour
This summer cocktail gets its sour component from not only lemon juice, but also tamarind soda. Tamarind soda is produced by several companies, Jarritos and Goya are the brands that you will most often see for sale. Tamarind's tangy, rich flavor is great with the combination of sweet grilled peaches and bourbon, and the effervescence of the soda really highlights the brightness of the drink. But slow down: this cocktail is dangerously easy to drink
About the Author: Heather Meldrom is a former Senior Food Editor at Martha Stewart. Currently she works as a freelance food stylist, writer, and recipe developer based in NYC. She can be found at heathermeldrom.com and sweetandsavored.com.