In case you didn’t know, May is National BBQ Month. True, every month should be National BBQ Month, but these are the 31 days to really go all out and get down to some serious grilling as the days get longer, the weather warms up, and we go careening toward Memorial Day weekend and — can you believe it? — summer.

Barbecue and warm-weather cocktails taste great even in turtleneck-and-long-johns weather, of course. But combine them with sunshine, warm breezes, and maybe a beach ball or two bouncing around nearby, and you’ve got a meal fit for royalty, even if it’s served on paper plates and in plastic cups. We’ve put together a few of our favorite BBQ staples, from grilled meats to sumptuous sides, and paired them with delicious summertime cocktails that enhance the flavor of the food and also taste terrific on their own.

The drinks run a wide gamut flavor-wise, but they all contain one common ingredient — Crown Royal whisky. Some people associate whisky with colder climes, but Crown Royal’s smooth flavor and versatility make it ideal for mixing into summer-themed drinks, whether you’re pouring one of its flavored expressions or the traditional Crown Royal Deluxe. The variety of flavor profiles makes it easy to pair Crown Royal with just about any food. You’ll also see that subbing Crown Royal in classic cocktails traditionally made with other spirits is both creative and very tasty.

BRATWURST WITH CROWN COLLINS

Nothing satisfies a big appetite like a big brat fresh off the grill, slathered with mustard or sprinkled with melted cheese. If you think brats n’ beer are the ultimate combo, think again! A Crown Collins is lighter bodied than a brewski, but it has the acidity and bubbles to cut through the fattiness of the meat, and the flavor of Crown Royal Deluxe stands up to the spiciest sausages. It’s a great pairing with hot dogs, too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ ounces Crown Royal Deluxe
  • 1 ounces fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • 2-4 ounces club soda

Directions:

  1. Pour the whisky, lemon juice, and simple syrup into an ice-filled tall glass.
  2. Stir until ingredients are blended together.
  3. Top with club soda to taste.
  4. Garnish with an orange wheel and Maraschino cherry (optional).

PULLED PORK WITH CROWN PEACH DAIQUIRI

Pulled pork is hearty and scrumptious summertime fare — we happen to love it on a potato bun with coleslaw and drizzled with a tangy barbecue sauce, but there’s basically no wrong way to eat it. For a drink, give this unorthodox spin on a Daiquiri a try. You thought Daiquiris could only include rum? You’ll think otherwise once you try this variation with Crown Royal Peach, which adds an unexpected depth to the classic cocktail.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ ounces Crown Royal Peach
  • ½ ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to an ice-filled shaker, shake until well chilled.
  2. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  3. Garnish with lime wheel or slice of fresh peach on the rim of the glass (optional).

JERK CHICKEN WITH CROWN APPLE COLADA

Whether you’re making your own marinade from scratch or using a store-bought sauce, island-influenced jerk chicken fresh off the grill is one of the great pleasures of summer — tender and flavorful with a big, spicy kick. How to temper the heat? This creamy whisky-based variation on the Piña Colada does the trick and then some.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ ounces Crown Royal Apple
  • ½ ounce pineapple juice
  • ½ ounce coconut syrup
  • ½ ounce fresh squeezed lime juice

Directions:

  1. Combine ingredients into an ice-filled shaker.
  2. Shake well until chilled and frothy.
  3. Strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice.
  4. Garnish with a pineapple spear on the rim of the glass.

MAC & CHEESE WITH CROWN & GINGER

Burgers, hot dogs, drumsticks — pairing them with a rich, gooey mac and cheese makes every dish at a cookout taste that much better. That richness calls for a clean and crisp cocktail counterpart, and Crown & Ginger fits the bill. It’s as simple a cocktail as you can get — which gives you more time to enjoy the food and the festivities. Crown & Ginger also pairs beautifully with macaroni salad, potato salad, or other mayo-based or creamy dishes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ ounces Crown Royal Deluxe
  • 4 ounces ginger ale

Directions:

  1. Add Crown Royal Deluxe to a highball/Collins glass.
  2. Add ice cubes, top with ginger ale.
  3. Garnish with a lime wedge (optional).

BURGERS & ROYAL PEACH SWEET TEA

Burgers are the quintessential summer cookout food, and with the explosion of plant-based burgers alongside the beef and turkey staples, just about everyone can enjoy them. The acidity and sweetness of the cocktail perfectly complement a savory and salty burger fresh off the grill. You can dial the sweetness up or down to your personal tastes, depending on the toppings and condiments you add.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ ounces Crown Royal Peach
  • 2 ounces iced tea
  • 1 ounce lemonade

Directions:

  1. Combine ingredients in a highball glass.
  2. Add ice, and stir until chilled and blended.
  3. Add sweetener to taste (optional).
  4. Garnish with a lemon wedge on the rim of the glass (optional).

This article is sponsored by Crown Royal.