Say cheers to summer with these cocktail-inspired dishes

·3-min read
cocktail-inspired dishes
cocktail-inspired dishes

I’m reluctant to say farewell to summer, but you can’t fight Labor Day, or the hints dropped in these first few days of cooler weather. But since I’m not quite ready for anything pumpkin, I’m going to see out summer with a cocktail — and, a few cocktail-inspired cookout dishes.

Try out these cocktail-inspired dishes and impress your friends at your next cookout

French 75 Dip 

cocktail-inspired dishes
Image Credit: David Todd McCarty/Unsplash

Start things off with this vegan dip, offered at the Nashville bar White Limozeen. It was inspired by its namesake effervescent gin cocktail born out of Paris in the early 1900s (also known as Food & Wine editor Kat Kinsman’s favourite tipple). The delicate flavours in the sauce mimic those of the botanical cocktail by adding juniper berry and lemon to a base of aquafaba, the vegan, multi-use liquid used for canned chickpeas. Cut up some radishes, peas, and carrots to dunk, and yes, sip a French 75 while you’re at it.

Martini Butter

A nice piece of grilled fish — or even some grilled clams — deserves a crisp, tart topper. First, pour yourself a martini. Then, blend 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, with 2 tablespoons finely chopped onions and 2 tablespoons stuffed ripe olives. Add 1 tablespoon gin and a few drops of vermouth, a little at a time, and beat until well blended. Transfer mixture to a sheet of parchment or plastic wrap and shape into a 2-inch roll. Wrap tightly and chill until firm. Cut Martini Butter into slices and place on top of just-grilled fish or meat. Makes 1/2 cup; store extra butter well-wrapped in the freezer.

Bloody Mary Butter

Those late-summer tomatoes in the garden and at the market are perfect for this compound butter recipe from our archives. Blend 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, with 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tomato and I tablespoon finely chopped celery. Add 1 tablespoon premium vodka and 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, a little at a time, and beat until well blended. Transfer mixture to a sheet of parchment or plastic wrap and shape into a 2-inch roll. Wrap tightly and chill until firm. Cut Bloody Mary Butter into slices and place on top of just-grilled beef or pork. Makes 1/2 cup; store extra butter well-wrapped in the freezer.

Aperol Spritz Cake with Prosecco Poached Rhubarb
Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Thom Driver

Aperol Spritz Cake with Prosecco-Poached Rhubarb

Wrap up your cocktail cookout with a cake that gets a bubbly kick from Prosecco in the batter and a gorgeous red hue from the Prosecco and Aperol used to poach the rhubarb on top. As Andrea Slonecker wrote in the magazine, using Prosecco in the batter delivers aeration (from the bubbles), which helps to create a lighter cake, while the wine’s acidity yields a slight tartness that’s similar to the flavour achieved by buttermilk. If you can’t find rhubarb this late in the season, try swapping in firm sliced peaches, pears, or apples, but add the fruit to the poaching liquid halfway through the cooking time so the syrup reduces but the fruit doesn’t fall apart. Pour yourself an Aperol Spritz, and raise a glass to the sunset of summer.

This story first appeared on www.foodandwine.com

(Credit for the hero and featured image: Photo by Huge Galdones / Food Styling by Christina Zerkis)

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