Healthy Food and Cocktail Pairings for Summer

July 04, 2016

With crisp morning breezes and seemingly endless sunlight, summer is a perfect excuse to celebrate. While cocktails have a reputation for being sugary, high-calorie beverages, there’s an easy, new workaround. Using high-quality, natural ingredients like those in Austin Cocktails’ bottled, craft cocktails instead of artificial sweeteners is a game changer. Because Austin Cocktails does not use sugar or syrups and makes their natural ingredients impart all the flavor and body, these open and serve cocktails are crisp and naturally low calorie. It’s an ideal opportunity to experiment with complex, layered flavors you never knew existed. Here are four healthy food and cocktail pairings for every occasion.  

1. Summer Greyhound
Pairing tip: Be bold.

Summer Greyhound

Greyhounds, traditionally a mixture of vodka or gin and grapefruit juice, are a go-to summer cocktail. However, if you are looking too add a little extra zing to your drink, try Fred’s Ruby Red Cocktail (like all good cocktails, there’s a story behind this creation), which balances the citrus of grapefruit with herbaceous accents. It’s a bit more complex than your average Greyhound, batched with 5x-distilled vodka, ruby red grapefruit, natural mint, lime and a splash of organic agave. Real fruit instead of sugary juices or mixes cuts the calories in this classic summer favorite.  

When it comes to food pairings, the options are just as vast. Since greyhounds have mild flavors, be bold with your pairings. Up the ante with melon wrapped in prosciutto or bite-sized, garnished jalapeños. If it's not too hot, pair a greyhound with gluten-free mini pizzas or even grass-fed meatballs dipped in organic marinara sauce. The possibilities are truly endless.  

2. A Spin on the Classic Margarita
Pairing tip: A flavor fiesta.

Classic Margarita

Margaritas are always a good idea for summer, however most are too sweet for my liking. For a slightly more complex offering, opt for Austin Cocktails’ Bergamot Orange Margarita – premium tequila, natural Italian bergamot orange, lime, organic agave nectar, and, best of all, a Triple Sec that has dramatically less sugar than most. Smooth essential oils from the rind and bright citrus balance the smokiness of tequila, making this a go-to Mexican food summer pairing.  

Come dinnertime, your best bet is to stick with Mexican staples because that’s probably what your guests are eager to chow down on. Instead of serving up classic recipes, look for ingredient substitutes that are healthier and lighter. Swap tortillas for quinoa and voila! You have a burrito bowl. Along with meat-based tacos, add in plenty of vegetables and a few slices of avocado.

3. Cucumber Vodka Mojito
Pairing tip: Spice things up.

Cucumber Vodka Mojito

Whether sitting outside in the sweltering heat or on the patio in the shade, staying hydrated is key during the summer months. Austin Cocktails’ country-garden-inspired Cucumber Vodka Mojito has that plucked-from-the-patch taste few people can resist.  

Even though cucumbers have a distinct taste, don't shy away from spicy snacks with adventurous flavor. Ceviche works quite well alongside cucumber. Similar to your drink in hand, the ceviche’s spicy flavors are surprisingly refreshing, too. Another idea is to spice up walnuts; they're bite-sized but packed with delicious flavor. Other safe pairings are vegan empanadas, savory arepas and chorizo.  

4. Paradise Found Cocktail
Pairing tip: Think tropical.

Paradise Found Cocktail

As tasty as cocktails are, drinking them can sometimes lead to dehydration, especially in summer. One of the biggest perks of our Paradise Found Cocktail is that it keeps you hydrated with every sip. This drink is centered around coconut water from perfectly ripened, Indonesian coconuts which soften the bite of alcohol and deliver a smoother taste. They swirl their pristine coconut water with 5x-distilled vodka, natural stone and citrus fruits, basil and organic agave nectar to deliver a complex but refreshingly bright beverage.

Thailand might be halfway around the world for most, but traditional Thai food actually pairs quite well with fruity cocktails like Paradise Found. For sit-downs, chow down on sticky rice, fresh vegetables and marinated grass-fed beef. Alternatively, try gluten-free mozzarella toasts with herb oil. The cocktail’s basil flavor will really pop.