My body pays attention to two signals that summer is finally here: the smell of grilling and the sound of ice-cold drinks being pulled out of a cooler. When the temperature peaks, the only thing that really, truly cools me off is an icy beverage.
Over many summers, I’ve tried countless drink options that didn’t leave me satisfied—beer is too dry, wine is too high in liquor, and fruity cocktails contain way too much sugar for my taste. For years, I’ve searched for a light, cool drink that leaves me feeling refreshed.
Given my plight, I just about jumped for joy when Michelob recently released Michelob ULTRA Light Cider, a light, lower-alcohol choice that doesn’t leave me with a major case of the blahs after imbibing. I really enjoy its gentle sweet-tartness and just a tickle of fizz.
And guess what? Turns out Michelob ULTRA Light Cider is the ultimate accompaniment for grilling. I tend to grill food that isn’t heavy, and this cider’s light body doesn’t compete with the fresh foods I love to throw on the fire. Michelob ULTRA Light Cider also brings a lovely tartness to the party, which is easy to match up to fresh-grilled flavors.
My personal favorite pairing is grilled salmon, which, when drizzled with a quick reduction of brown sugar, soy sauce, and orange juice, allows the cider’s crispness to cut through the fish’s lusciously fatty tenderness.
Or why not try a butterflied chicken breast, stuffed with thyme-infused goat cheese? Trussed and grilled for just a few minutes on each side, this luxurious dish plays off Michelob ULTRA Light Cider’s soft acid notes, striking a rich chord with the chevre’s tangy liveliness.
For the ultimate in healthy barbecuing, you can’t beat a plateful of grilled veggies. Fresh, seasonal vegetables are so flavorful that they don’t need much of a treatment. Just a touch of seasoning encourages each vegetable to deliver its own maximal flavor, especially when allowed to char just a touch for caramelization—a light sweetness that’s echoed in the lightly sweet cider. My go-to grilled veggie plate always highlights what’s in season: thin-sliced, delicate summer squash with pink sea salt; corn on the cob rubbed down with sugar, salt, and olive oil; pineapple rings sprinkled with a touch of black pepper and brown sugar.
And don’t forget the lost art of shish kabobs! These don’t need to be weighed down with heavy meats. Just string your favorite fruits or veggies on a skewer, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill just until the edges have a light char. Combinations like chunks of peaches and nectarines, or red bell pepper and cherry tomato, play nicely with the flavor of the cider.
When it comes to summer grilling, your food and beverage choices should leave you feeling energized. For your next cookout, stock up on lighter grilling options and a cooler of Michelob ULTRA Light Cider—you’ll stay on top of your game while having the time of your life.