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Unique Food and Drink Ideas for a Summer BBQ Party

Unique Food and Drink Ideas for a Summer BBQ Party

Summertime is the ideal season to have a BBQ party with friends and family. While classic BBQ fare like burgers, hot dogs, and lemonade are always favorites, why not elevate your gathering with some unique and innovative options? Adding a twist to traditional BBQ staples can make your event memorable and exciting. 

From gourmet grilled cheese bars to exotic fruit skewers and DIY cocktail stations, there are endless ways to surprise and delight your guests. Imagine indulging in a gourmet s’mores bar, exploring international BBQ flavors, or even infusing your dishes with cannabis products for a modern culinary adventure. 

To help you plan an unforgettable BBQ, we’ve curated a list of seven creative ideas that cater to a variety of tastes and preferences. 

Gourmet Grilled Cheese Bar

Transform a simple grilled cheese into a gourmet treat by setting up a grilled cheese bar at your BBQ. Start with a selection of artisanal breads such as sourdough, rye, and ciabatta. Offer an array to make the experience more exciting. According to Thrillist, classic American cheese, pepper jack, and provolone are among the best cheeses to use on a grilled cheese sandwich. 

You can also provide various fillings like apple slices, crispy bacon, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, and sun-dried tomatoes.

Encourage guests to customize their sandwiches by choosing their favorite combinations. Provide a few griddles or panini presses so they can grill their creations to perfection. Consider adding a few unique spreads like truffle butter, pesto, or honey mustard to elevate the flavors even more. The concept of a grilled cheese bar has gained popularity in recent years, offering a fun and interactive culinary experience.

To complement the grilled cheese, prepare a few side dishes like tomato soup shooters, a mixed green salad, or homemade pickles. These additions will enhance the dining experience while providing a balanced meal for your guests. With a gourmet grilled cheese bar, you’re guaranteed to impress and satisfy everyone at your BBQ. The versatility and ease of preparation make it an ideal choice for any summer gathering.

Exotic Fruit Skewers

Add a refreshing and visually appealing element to your BBQ with exotic fruit skewers. Start by selecting a variety of colorful and unique fruits such as dragon fruit, star fruit, papaya, kiwi, and mango. Slice the fruits into small pieces, then arrange them on wooden skewers. This simple yet effective presentation not only looks stunning but also encourages healthy snacking.

Everyday Health suggests grilling health-conscious favorites like tomatoes, peaches, avocado, and zucchini for guests mindful of their dietary choices.

To give your fruit skewers an extra kick, sprinkle them with chili powder and squeeze some lime juice over them. This combination adds a tangy and spicy flavor that pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the fruit. For an added touch, consider serving a honey-lime dipping sauce or a yogurt-based dip on the side. Incorporating exotic fruits introduces guests to new flavors and can be a conversation starter.

These fruit skewers not only serve as a delicious and healthy option but also make for an attractive display on your BBQ table. They’re easy to prepare and can be made ahead of time, allowing you to enjoy the party without worrying about last-minute preparations. Exotic fruit skewers are sure to be a hit, providing a refreshing and vibrant addition to your BBQ menu. 

Cannabis-Infused Delights

For an adventurous twist, consider incorporating cannabis-infused products into your BBQ. Known for their unique and innovative offerings, cannabis-infused foods can add an extra layer of enjoyment to your gathering. Sluggers Hit suggests that if cannabis is legal in your area and guests are willing, consider adding it to your BBQ menu.

Start by infusing your BBQ sauces or marinades with cannabis oil or butter. For example, you can create a cannabis-infused BBQ sauce for ribs or a marinade for grilled chicken. Ensure that you clearly label any cannabis-infused items to avoid any accidental consumption by those who may not wish to partake. Transparency and clear communication are key when serving cannabis-infused foods.

Another idea is to incorporate cannabis into your desserts. Cannabis-infused brownies, cookies, or even a special cannabis-infused s’mores bar can be a hit. notes that here, an instant-read thermometer and an oven thermometer come in very handy. The oven thermometer ensures that you don’t burn your cannabis during the decarboxylation process, which would reduce the potency of the THC. Ovens often heat faster than indicated, and a 50° error could ruin the entire batch in this recipe.

Make sure you advise your visitors on appropriate usage and provide them with precise dose information. Cannabis-infused treats are a great way to create a unique culinary experience that honors both innovation and tradition.

Handmade Cocktail Station

Set up a DIY cocktail station where guests may create their own drinks to uplift your backyard barbecue. Start by providing a variety of spirits such as vodka, rum, gin, and tequila. Offer an assortment of mixers like tonic water, soda, fruit juices, and flavored syrups. Fresh garnishes such as citrus slices, berries, mint leaves, and cocktail umbrellas will add a fun and festive touch.

To help guests create their perfect cocktail, provide recipe cards for classic drinks like mojitos, margaritas, and cosmopolitans. Include some unique ingredients like infused syrups, fresh herbs, or exotic fruits to inspire creativity. Set up a few cocktail shakers, muddlers, and measuring jiggers to ensure guests have everything they need. The rise of home bartending has made DIY cocktail stations a popular addition to gatherings.

In addition to entertaining your guests, a homemade cocktail bar gives the party a unique flair. Everyone can experiment with flavors and make cocktails that fit their tastes. Make sure you have non-alcoholic alternatives as well so that everyone can take pleasure in creating their own drinks. This station will surely be the focal point of your BBQ, offering everyone limitless fun.

Gourmet S’mores Bar

Take the classic campfire treat to the next level with a gourmet s’mores bar. Start by offering a variety of graham crackers, such as chocolate, cinnamon, and traditional honey. Next, provide an assortment of chocolates including dark chocolate with sea salt, milk chocolate with caramel, and white chocolate with raspberry. To make it even better, include unique marshmallow flavors like caramel, coconut, or strawberry.

Set up a small fire pit or a tabletop s’mores maker so guests can roast their marshmallows to their desired level of gooeyness. Provide skewers or roasting sticks for easy handling. To add more options, consider offering additional toppings like peanut butter, Nutella, sliced bananas, or crushed cookies. S’mores have been a beloved treat for generations, making this bar both nostalgic and innovative.

A gourmet s’mores bar allows guests to get creative and customize their own delicious treats. It’s a fun, interactive experience that will delight both kids and adults. The combination of different flavors and textures will make this classic dessert even more irresistible. With a gourmet s’mores bar, your BBQ will end on a sweet and memorable note.


How do you keep grilled cheese warm for a party? 

To keep grilled cheese warm for a party, place them on a baking sheet in a preheated oven set to around 200°F. Cover loosely with aluminum foil to prevent them from drying out while maintaining warmth for guests.

How far in advance can you make fruit skewers? 

Fruit skewers can be made up to 24 hours in advance if stored properly in an airtight container in the refrigerator. However, for optimal freshness and texture, it’s best to prepare them no more than a few hours ahead of time.

How to make a DIY cocktail bar?

To set up a DIY cocktail bar, first, gather a variety of spirits, mixers, garnishes, and tools. Arrange them on a designated table with clear labels and recipe cards. Encourage guests to experiment and create their own signature cocktails according to their preferences.

In conclusion, innovative twists on classic BBQ staples offer a tantalizing array of flavors and experiences. It can transform a simple gathering into a memorable culinary adventure. From gourmet grilled cheese bars to exotic fruit skewers and cannabis-infused delights, each addition adds depth and excitement to the festivities. 

These creative options not only cater to diverse tastes but also foster engagement and connection among guests. Whether crafting custom cocktails or indulging in gourmet s’mores, the shared experience of culinary exploration enhances the joy of summer gatherings. By embracing innovation while honoring tradition, a BBQ becomes more than just a meal—it becomes a vibrant celebration of community and creativity.

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