Remember when you had to fill your own flasks and make thermoses full of your own pre-batched cocktails and punches before going on a picnic? Thankfully, those days are gone. We’re living in a golden age of ready-to-drink cocktails (RTDs), where pro-quality libations of all sorts, using top-notch spirits, real juices, and natural flavors, are readily available. Great cocktails to enjoy and more time to enjoy them is a pretty nifty combo. It all comes together in the summer, when we get to take those canned cocktails on the road and hit our local parks and beaches for picnic time. Fun food, delicious drinks, and the great outdoors — it doesn’t get much better.
But with so many options, how do you know the right drinks to pair with your favorite dishes? A great place to start is with Crown Royal’s line of ready-to-drink, low-proof (7 percent ABV) canned cocktails. There are four distinct award-winning expressions — Peach Tea, Washington Apple, Whisky & Cola, and limited-edition Whisky Lemonade — and each one of them pairs with an array of picnic basket favorites. Of course they all have the complex, but approachable, Crown Royal Canadian whisky as their base.
Check out our picnic picks for food and drink, and get ready to pack up that picnic basket, fill up the cooler, and have some summertime fun.
Fried Chicken & Crown Royal Peach Tea
Fried chicken is a versatile dish — delicious straight out of the fryer, of course, but put it in the fridge and bring it along to a picnic the next day and it may be even better. For a tasty twist on the fried chicken and sweet tea combo Southern classic, try it with Peach Tea, a perfectly balanced blend of whisky, peach flavor, and brewed tea. The taste combination is a perfect match for the chicken’s salty and savory seasonings. By the way, Peach Tea works beautifully with grilled chicken as well, especially when it’s cooked with herbs like rosemary or paprika.
Cheese & Crown Royal Washington Apple
Whether you’re munching on Swiss cheese and crackers or spreading some creamy Brie on a fresh baguette, cheese is an essential part of every picnic, be it fancy or no-frills. Crown Royal’s Whisky Cola can pair with food from across the cheesy spectrum. Cheese and apples are a classic pairing, so this blend of Crown Royal with natural apple and cranberry flavors is a no-brainer. The cranberries give it a tart, slightly autumnal feel, but it’s a taste sensation all summer long. The tart, fruity notes make a lovely counterpoint to milder cheeses like Gruyère or Gouda, while the sweetness balances out the more piquant flavors of everything from feta to Roquefort to a sharp cheddar.
Chips and Dip & Crown Royal Whisky & Cola
It seems to be hard-wired into most of our brains from childhood that a bag of potato chips and a can of cola are a match made in heaven, especially if you throw in some onion dip. It’s a pretty terrific pairing with Crown Royal’s Whisky & Cola, too. Cola is a much more sophisticated beverage than a lot of us give it credit for, especially when blended with Crown Royal whisky. Those allspice and vanilla notes, combined with the light alcoholic kick, are somewhat reminiscent of an amaro — a far cry from kid stuff. And if you think it’s a fine accompaniment to the classic potato chip/onion dip combo, wait until you try it with pita chips and hummus, or blue corn chips and fresh tomato and jalapeño salsa. The whisky and cola combination is a shapeshifter, with different characteristics coming to the fore to work with the flavors of the food.
Pasta Salad & Crown Royal Whisky Lemonade
There’s a pasta salad for just about every taste, and it’s a good bet that the carbonated combo of Crown Royal and natural lemon flavor will go with all of them. Its bubbles, bright citrus notes, and acidity can cut through the creamiest mayo-laden macaroni salad, while the sweetness and light kick of the whisky make a magnificent pairing alongside a tangier fusilli and tomato salad with Italian dressing. Asian noodles, like ramen or japchae, are also picnic crowd-pleasers, and Whisky Lemonade matches beautifully with their light, soy-based dressings. It may be impossible to find a pasta salad that doesn’t play nicely with Whisky Lemonade, but it’s fun — and delicious — to try.
This article is sponsored by Crown Royal.