It wouldn’t be summer without the hum of lawnmowers, the cool waters of a swimming pool, and of course, the irresistible scents of barbecue cookouts wafting through the neighborhood.
Barbecues are a summer tradition, but that doesn’t mean you have to stick to preparing the same foods and drinks over and over again. If you’re looking to mix up your barbecue fare, look no further than this handy guide.
What To Bring to a BYOB Barbecue
At a BYOB barbecue, everyone’s after the unspoken victory of bringing the most popular drink to the party. Our advice? Don’t be afraid to mix things up with something new.
Get Creative: Bring a Drink Other Than Beer
If you’re looking to impress guests or just mix things up, skip the usual beer and bring a more unique drink to fit any summertime occasion.
Hard Seltzer: Crisp, Refreshing, and Perfect for Summer
Hard seltzers are popular for a reason. They come in fresh, fun flavors that aren’t bogged down by the heavy carbs and sugar that you’ll find in beers or cocktails. Instead, our drinks feature zero sugar and zero carbs. Plus, since they don’t rely on wheat or barley, they’re 100% gluten-free.
Nothing says summer like citrus fruits and flowers, and our Clementine Hibiscus seltzer has both. This effervescent seltzer starts off with a citrus pop of fresh clementine, followed by the subtly sweet and slightly herbal taste of hibiscus, all made complete by an effervescent burst of seltzer bubbles.
We craft our flavors using plant botanicals, superfruits and adaptogens, instead of added sugar or artificial flavorings.
If you prefer spicy flavors at your barbecue, our Watermelon Chili hard seltzer provides the perfect balance of juicy summer fruit and warm spice. The refreshing brightness of watermelon flavor beautifully blends with the heat of chili, and an undercurrent of citrus brings it all together. These inspired flavors awaken the senses and bring a botanical buzz to your BBQ.
Hard Kombucha: For a Botanical Buzz
If your crew is already familiar with seltzers and wants a drink a little more unexpected, hard kombucha is a uniquely refreshing choice. Its tangy taste and fizzy texture are a sensational match for summer flavors, like those in our Tropical Hops pack.
These drinks take an innovative twist on tropical favorites, including Guava Citra, Passionfruit Simcoe, and Spicy Mango Mosaic. Our Tropical Hops are filled with ingredients that feel as good as they taste, plus zero sugar or artificial additives. Plus, they take everything you love about IPAs — the bold flavor, the carbonation, the buzz — and remove the parts you don’t.
The best part? All our drinks are vegan, gluten-free, and keto-friendly, so every person at the BBQ can reach for one.
Want to show off your mixing skills? A creative, crafty cocktail is a great way to mix up your BBQ and put a new twist on some standard summer drinks.
One idyllic summer cocktail is sangria, AKA wine punch with fruit. Hailing from Spain, this drink is made with either a base of red or white wine, along with infused fruit slices. You can use almost any fruit of your choice, but citrus fruits like lemons and oranges are among the most popular picks.
We recommend using our Wine Spritzers when making sangria since their fruity undertones perfectly complement whatever fresh fruits you include.
Another simple yet tasty summer drink is cherry limeade, and with a few ingredient swaps, you can transform this sugar-filled classic into a lighter, crowd-pleasing cocktail.
Start with our Black Cherry hard kombucha, which tastes like fresh, muddled cherries with a hint of lime. Top it off with some fresh lime juice and whole cherries, and you’ve got yourself an easy yet delicious cocktail.
While fruit flavors are an obvious choice for summer drinks, you can get adventurous with other fresh, earthy flavors, like cucumber. This next cocktail is our take on cucumber water, which on its own, is really just water flavored with cucumber slices.
Start with our Cucumber Juniper hard kombucha, which provides a cool, floral cucumber taste mixed with the piny, botanical flavor of juniper. Squeeze in some lemon juice, or mix it with your favorite lemonade. Finish it off by adding lemon and cucumber slices for extra infused flavor.
Make Your Own BBQ Sides
The main focus at a barbecue is usually the grilled items: hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken wings, veggie burgers, chicken breasts, pork chops, and more. With the right marinades, toppings, and buns, you can make these summer bbq recipes a star.
However, adding updated and tasty sides is also a great way to steal the show. Here are our suggestions for simple and savory sides to complete a summertime meal.
Who says the grill is just for meat? Grilled veggies provide juicy yet flavorful variety to a BBQ and can make a great main course for your vegetarian and vegan pals.
You can choose almost any of your favorite veggies for this side, from asparagus to zucchini to mushrooms. Simply wash your veggies, season as desired (we’re partial to black pepper and a touch of balsamic), grill them to crispy perfection, and voila! You have a delicious, mouthwatering side dish with minimal prep involved.
Grilled veggies pair perfectly with our light, herbaceous Grapefruit Thyme Hard Kombucha.
Fork and knife slowing you down? Go for an easy-to-eat option like grilled kabobs. Kabobs are easy to customize and quicker to eat, so you won’t miss a second of the festivities.
Start by cutting up your favorite entree into smaller pieces, whether it be grilled chicken, flank steak, veggies, or even tofu. Grab a few skewers and slide on the chopped items. You can stick to one main food and leave it at that, or go wild with flavors and create your own combo kabob.
If you’re making grilled kabobs, we highly recommend pairing each skewer with our bright, spicy Pineapple Chili Hard Kombucha!
If you don’t want to do any grilling at the event, go with a side you can prepare before the party, like baked beans. Dress up this classic dish with homemade barbecue sauce and a variety of toppings, such as cheese or mushrooms.
Baked beans have a distinctly smoky, savory flavor that makes them an excellent companion to our Tropical Hops Hard Kombucha.
If you’re interested in a twist on the usual barbecue fare, you might also feature sides based on Tex-Mex cuisine. Crowd pleasers include tacos, brisket enchiladas, chipotle chicken recipes, and lots and lots of toppings — cilantro, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, jalapeños, queso, and more.
These classic Tex-Mex sides pair with our Mango Coconut Hard Kombucha for a sweet and spicy combination of exciting flavors.
You can’t go wrong with the tried-and-true flavor combo of tomato, basil, and mozzarella, even at a barbecue. Toss basil, chopped tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella in a salad bowl, or layer them on a kabob for an easy appetizer. Sprinkle with feta cheese or a balsamic glaze for an extra pop of flavor on this fresh summer salad.
Caprese salad already features basil as a main ingredient, but we can never get enough of this aromatic herb. That’s why we recommend pairing Caprese salad with our Watermelon Basil Hard Kombucha.
Pasta and Potato Salads
Tried and true classics, these salad recipes are easy to prepare, transport, and serve, making them a great potluck item.
For pasta salad, cook rotini or another classic shape of pasta and mix in some of your favorite veggies. To keep it light and fresh for summer, skip out on heavy ingredients like mayo and finish it off with a vinaigrette instead.
For potato salads, consider skipping the eggs and using an avocado oil-based mayonnaise to make for a vegan meal. You can also pump up the savory factor with additions like fresh herbs, celery, dill pickles, and apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.
Both pasta and potato salad pair with a refreshing, summery drink — like our Wild Berry Hard Kombucha, for example.
Corn on the Cob: An Irresistible Favorite
We’re all about trying new culinary adventures, but some classics are just too good to pass on. Corn on the cob is a timeless barbecue side dish, but if you’re looking to innovate, experimenting with seasonings is a great way to bring new life to a classic. We personally love elote seasoning if you really want to spice things up.
You can prepare corn on the cob at home before the BBQ or throw it on the grill when you arrive! Grilled corn will have a crispier texture and more smoky flavor than when it’s boiled or steamed over a stove.
Corn on the cob tastes even better when paired with the right beverage. We recommend keeping our Tropical Hops Hard Kombucha nearby when enjoying this classic BBQ side.
Watermelon: The Simplest BBQ Side Dish
If you’re not a chef, don’t worry. Watermelon is a simple yet popular side dish to complement any barbecue main course — with no cooking required.
All you need for this one is a watermelon, fun plate or bowl, knife, and serving utensil. Simply slice up your watermelon, arrange it in a bowl or on a plate, add a serving fork, and you’re done! Or, if you want a healthy recipe for dessert, add it to a fruit salad with pineapple, grapes, and strawberries.
Watermelon is sweet and hydrating on its own, but if you’re looking to up your game, pair it with our Watermelon Basil hard kombucha. This culinary combo will also go well with the aforementioned Caprese salad for a put-together pairing.
When it comes to a classic BBQ, it’s totally okay to step away from the traditional menu and mix things up a bit. Trying a new drink or side dish is the perfect way to put a new twist on this favorite summer get-together. Just don’t expect leftovers — with selections this good, there probably won’t be much left to take home.