Top pairings | Wine, beer or cocktails - what’s the best match for a 4th July barbecue?

Top pairings

Wine, beer or cocktails - what’s the best match for a 4th July barbecue?

If you’re celebrating July 4th this week and haven’t yet made up your mind what to drink here are some last minute suggestions.

American BBQ has much more complex flavours than the typical British affair with sweet, sticky ribs and wings, smokey slow-cooked brisket and elaborately topped ‘dogs’ (there are some amazing topping ideas on the epicurious site).


To kick off with I’d offer a zesty sauvignon blanc or a refreshing riesling both of which would work the tangy dips that generally accompany an American barbecue and any seafood that is going on the grill. After than think in terms of a young fruity red with a bit of a kick: my choices would be syrah/shiraz or GSM (grenache/syrah/mourvèdre) blends, petite sirah or an inexpensive zinfandel.

Tip: Keep your reds cool. Even full-bodied reds can do with a short dunk in an ice-bucket.


Lager may be traditional but there are so many beers with fantastic flavours these days you can do much better than that. There are some great suggestions here and here. Crowd-pleasing options would be pale ales and IPAs but if you’re feeling more adventurous try German-style hefe-weisse, particularly with dogs and wings and porter with smoked brisket.


A mint julep would be the traditional July 4th cocktail though with peaches in season I prefer a softer, sweeter peach julep - a great match for sweet sticky ribs.

Non-alcoholic drinks

More and more people aren't drinking these days. Homemade lemonade and iced tea are popular choices: try this easy version from BBC Good Food. Floats are another great option - this watermelon soda float looks fabulously refreshing.

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And for more hot tips and recommendations check out my Substack Eat This, Drink That, Live Well.

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