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Summer Food and Drink Pairings

June 22, 2020
5 min. read

Summer Food & Drink Pairings

The summer season (which officially started on Saturday) comes with its own informal rulebook of unspoken truths. Commit these to memory and you’ll be one step closer to a foolproof and successful summer!

Rule #1: Grill whenever (and whatever) possible. This includes all your favorite meats, proteins, veggies, and whatever else you dare to try!

Rule #2: Make the most of the season’s fresh produce. This can be said of any season, but is especially true of summer’s flavorful fruits and veggies.

Rule #3: Stay hydrated! Beat the heat by sipping on your favorite refreshing iced beverages when outdoors.

Now what if we told you that you can combine all three of these tips into one brilliant summer strategy?

Using creative food and drink pairings, you can incorporate your favorite grilled meats and seasonal fruits and veggies, plus tie in delicious refreshments that perfectly complement each dish.

Check out a few examples below!


#1: Strawberry Fields Salad Crouton Cups + Homemade Lemonade

Strawberry Fields Salad Crouton Cups with Lemonade

Lemonade and summer go hand-in-hand. This quintessential refreshment is also the perfect companion for a fresh and fruity appetizer like this strawberry fields salad. For an added burst of strawberry flavor, try making a strawberry-lemonade variation (recipe below)!


Strawberry Fields Chopped Salad Crouton Cups

Strawberry Fields Salad Crouton Cups

This summer salad is made portable with cute flower-shaped crouton cups made with Martin’s Potato Bread—perfect for backyard picnics and al fresco dining. Fruity flavors like fresh strawberries and dried cranberries, mixed with savory bacon crumbles, sliced red onion, goat cheese, and pecans over a bed of mixed greens, topped with a simple vinaigrette is just what is needed this summer! Pair it with homemade lemonade (recipe follows).


How to Make Homemade Lemonade

Homemade Flavored Lemonades

Simple Lemonade Recipe {Customizable}


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 gallon cold water
  • 2 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, sliced, plus more for garnish
  • Ice
  • Flavored Ingredients (such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, basil, mint, or lavender)


  1. Prepare a simple syrup by adding 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over low heat. Stir until sugar dissolves; remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Bonus Tip: To make flavored lemonade, add optional ingredients (1-2 cups total) such as strawberries and basil to your simple syrup, then pour through a fine mesh strainer before adding to your lemon juice mixture. Try experimenting with different flavors from the list above!

  1. Add a gallon of cold water and 2 cups lemon juice to a large pitcher. Stir in the simple syrup and lemon slices.
  2. Serve over ice, with lemon wedges for garnish.


#2: Sweet Tea Grilled Chicken Sliders + Sweet Tea or Arnold Palmers

Sweet Tea Grilled Chicken Sliders with Arnold Palmer Beverage

If you’re from the South, chances are you are very familiar with sweet tea—a highly sweetened iced tea drink. (In fact, you may even consume it on a regular basis.) Did you know it can also be used as a marinade for meat such as fried or grilled chicken? That—and the fact that it’s a deliciously refreshing summer drink—makes it the perfect pairing for our Grilled Chicken Sliders. If you’re not a fan of sweetened tea, you can also serve your sliders with Arnold Palmers, a 50/50 blend of iced tea and lemonade. (Find both drink recipes below.)


Sweet Tea Grilled Chicken Sliders

Sweet Tea Grilled Chicken Sliders

An easy marinade of quick-brewed sweet tea, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper adds a decadent flavor to the chicken and helps it achieve that gorgeous caramelization on the grill. Serve the juicy grilled chicken (breasts or thighs, to preference) on plush Martin’s 12-Sliced Slider Potato Rolls along with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, and a bit of mayo. Enjoy with your beverage of choice (see below)!


How to Make Homemade Sweet Tea

Southern Sweet Tea

Southern Sweet Tea Recipe


  • 5 cups water
  • 5-6 tea bags (adjust to taste)
  • 2/3-1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (adjust to taste)
  • Garnish: lemon and mint
  • Ice


  1. Add water to a medium sized pot and boil over high heat.
  2. Once boiling, turn off heat and add tea bags. Steep for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Gradually stir in sugar until completely dissolved. (Note: For unsweetened iced tea, skip this step.)
  4. Remove tea bags and transfer tea to a large pitcher.
  5. Add enough water to fill pitcher. Flavor with lemon and mint, if desired.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Serve over ice.


How to Make Arnold Palmers

Arnold Palmer Lemonade-Tea

Arnold Palmer (Half and Half / Lemonade-Tea) Recipe


  • 1 Part Prepared Lemonade (see above recipe)
  • 1 Part Prepared Iced Tea (see above recipe)
  • Garnish: Lemon and Mint
  • Ice


  1. Simply mix together equal parts iced tea and lemonade! (Note: if you prefer to use unsweetened iced tea, simply leave out the sugar in step 3 in the Iced Tea preparation.)
  2. Serve over ice with lemon and mint for garnish.


#3: Sweet Chili Panzanella Shrimp Kabobs + Watermelon Slushies

Sweet Chili Panzanella Shrimp Kabobs

What would summer be without some grilled shrimp on the barbecue? These shish kabobs tie back in to rule #1 up above—grill everything! And to cool it down, we reference rules #2 and #3 with some quick and easy slushies. After all, we can’t make it through summer without nature’s ultimate refreshment: watermelon! Together, this food and drink pairing makes for a vacation-worthy meal.


Sweet Chili Panzanella Shrimp Kabobs

Sweet Chili Panzanella Shrimp Kabobs

Fresh shrimp, marinated in a sweet chili sauce, garlic, lime juice, and cilantro glaze; chargrilled alongside summer veggies like assorted bell peppers, zucchini, and roma tomatoes, and cubed Martin’s Party Potato Rolls! Serve as skewers or disassembled into a traditional panzanella and enjoy with your frozen watermelon slushie (recipe below).


How to Make Watermelon Slushies

Watermelon Slushies

Watermelon Slushie Recipe


  • ½ Medium Seedless Watermelon, cubed (about 10 cups), frozen
  • 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup or Honey (more to taste)
  • Juice of 1 Large Lime
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Mint or Basil leaves, loosely packed (optional)
  • 1-2 Cups Filtered Water


  1. Remove watermelon chunks from freezer (they should be fully frozen). Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to defrost slightly. (Note: if you don’t have time to freeze the watermelon, just use fresh watermelon with 1-2 cups ice.)
  2. Add watermelon, maple syrup or honey, lime juice, mint or basil, and water to a blender. Pulse until watermelon begins to break up, then blend continuously until mixture forms a thick, slushie-like consistency. Adjust maple syrup or honey to taste, adding more if necessary. Add more water as needed to achieve desired consistency.
  3. Divide into glasses and serve! (Serves 4)



What’s your favorite food and beverage pairing from the above list? Let us know on social media!


Looking for more ideas? Try these other food and drink pairings:


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