In this weather any sort of BBQ is good, but a BBQ feast paired with a quality gin is even better...

Pairing your gin with rough-and-ready BBQ-style food however, is harder than it looks - trust us, we’ve been trying to get the combo right for years but with help from the guys at Copeland Gin we might have just cracked it.

When it comes to pairing gin with the grill, the BBQ is new territory for Copeland Gin founder, Gareth Irvine, but the last few weeks have seen him solve the issue (you can thank him once you've tried this delicious combo!)

Gareth says: “When we think about BBQ foods, we normally think grilled, smoky meats and fish. Pairing most spirits with such foods is easy - for instance, pork goes perfectly with the pineapple sweetness of a pina colada and a dry cider or crisp white wine is ideal with grilled chicken. Gin is often not considered but with BBQs one of the most-popular drinking occasions this summer, and gin the most-popular spirits, that no longer makes sense.”

Copeland Gin is an ideal BBQ partner as it's full of flavour and subtle berry notes

The Co. Down based gin was crowdfunded in 2015 but has grown to become a real crowd favourite both in Northern Ireland and this side of the border since its ‘Rhuberry’ flavoured gin landed in Aldi Ireland stores earlier this year.

All of the gins in this premium range are expertly flavoured with locally-grown herbs and fruits like rhubarb, raspberry, mint and basil,  championing the skill and produce of local farmers but also giving the gin-loving consumer something exciting and surprising in the saturated category.

 

Gareth’s top tips for adding the G&T into your next BBQ include:  

  • Spice it up

Gareth says: “Most gins will feature a spicy botanical, cinnamon or cardamom perhaps so when it comes to food pairings, a good tactic is to focus on bringing that out. In addition, the classic gin and tonic has a sharp, crisp flavour refreshing your palate making it ideal to enjoy with spicy foods. This year, we’ve actually seen a lot of brands and bartenders hone in on spice creating spicy-gin cocktails or spicy mixers like cardamom flavoured tonic.

“It’s super easy to add Thai or Asian influences to the BBQ. Dried spices like turmeric or curry can be used to marinate chicken or salmon. For the vegans, add chilli powder to your corn-on -the-cob and grill on the BBQ. For the perfect pairing, I suggest garnishing your G&T with plenty of lime and coriander to really enhance and compliment the heat.”

  • Focus on fish

“Fish has long been the perfect partner to gin from smoked salmon to traditional battered cod. However, when it comes to the summer BBQ, the options aren’t as obvious. Whilst yes, you can serve side dishes of smoked salmon it doesn’t have that authentic BBQ feel does it? Prawn skewers on the other hand do. What’s more, marinating your prawns in plenty of garlic, ginger and coriander will pair perfectly with most premium gins.”

  • Think about your marinades

“Speaking of marinades, why not shake things up a bit and use gin in your next one? Not only is this a foolproof way to ensure your gin serve complements your meal, it’s a really creative option so bound to be a crowd-pleaser. You can use gin to make salad dressings or sauces but my personal favourite for BBQ-ing is a minty gin marinade - perfect for lamb chops, chicken thighs or turkey breast.

“Simply combine 50ml of gin, a half cup of fresh mint, two cloves of garlic, the juice of two limes and a couple tablespoons of honey. Add your meat and leave it in the fridge for a few hours before grilling.”

  • Play it sweet

“Another option for the perfect gin pairing is to focus on summer desserts, rather than savoury foods. Sweets work really well on the BBQ too. A really simple idea is to pop some raspberries onto aluminium foil, top with dark chocolate shavings and grill for about give minutes. Pair this with our ‘Rhuberry’ gin for a sweetly satisfying end to any summer party.”

  • Throw out the rules!

“I know I’d rather a great gin than a great burger so don’t be afraid to break away from tradition if you really want to focus on pairing your gin with food. Picnic options like cucumber sandwiches work brilliantly. For something with a little more bite, mediterranean-inspired pasta dressed with olive oil, fresh basil, a little feta and olives is ideal with a gin martini.”

Copeland Gin’s ‘Rhuberry’ flavoured gin is an infusion featuring locally-grown rhubarb and blackberry and is available in all Aldi Ireland stores for €29.99 (700cl). For more information, visit www.copelandspirits.com