Marinades and cocktails to step up your dinner party game

Grilling is an inevitable part of the summer – although this may sound like an ominous thing to say, inevitable doesn’t carry any negative connotations in this scenario; who doesn’t love a steak during the summer? But when faced with hosting an evening Soirée, spicing up your steaks (literally) with a fresh, summertime marinade can make all the difference. In addition to marinades, pairing your steaks with tropical cocktails can leave unmeasurable smiles on your guests’ faces.


There is no one-step process for marinating a steak – there are seemingly thousands of iterations of spices and dressings you can use to increase your cuts’ flavor. During the summer, however, avoid using hearty dressings. Take advantage of fresh herbs, spices, and citrus while they’re in season! Adding lemon juice to your marinade can accent your steak’s flavor, and herbs such as fresh basil, white pepper, minced garlic, or even orange zest can add a pop of flavor to your cuts. A few hours before grilling your steaks, fill up a plastic bag or baking dish with your desired combination of dressings and spices – don’t over-do it, though. Steaks are already packed with robust flavors, and drowning them (for lack of a better word) can mask some of those naturally-occurring flavors.


Where there are delicious cuts, there is bound to be an ample supply of drinks for your guests. It’s important to note that it’s summertime, so avoid drinks that you would serve in the dead of winter. Look, I enjoy a Moscow Mule as much as the next person does, but there is a time and place for that soul-warming beverage. For summertime, as mentioned before, take advantage of fresh fruits and seasonal ingredients to craft the perfect beverage. There are a few drinks, however, that you should avoid when serving steak, solely for the reason that they don’t pair well with meat. Although the summer heat begs for the refreshing taste of a margarita, drinks containing tequila don’t match well with steaks because of their acidic nature. Look for something more along the lines of a Manhattan or Old Fashioned – something that puts hair on your chest, but doesn’t distract from the steak. When all else fails, have a cooler full of beer handy.


Although these may seem like loosey-goosey suggestions for your dinner party, they are anything but. What these suggestions entail is you putting a little more thought into your party. Yes, serving steaks and wine is a very refined choice to begin with, but taking that extra step will pay off (and your guests will notice, too.) If you’re unsure about what you should be serving, or what drinks to pair with your choice steak cuts, ask someone. Don’t fall into the trap of being someone who is afraid of asking for advice or guidance when having people over. Whether you’re looking for a marinade recipe or the perfect cocktail to serve, asking a bartender or store clerk may set you on the right path.


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