The Perfect Appetizer and Cocktail Pairings to Start Your Summer Meal
You really can’t beat the food of summer. No other season offers the most beautiful bounty of delicious fruits and vegetables. It’s the ultimate time of the year to visit local restaurants and find out what palatable creative genius Arkansas chefs have in store for us.
We checked in with a few Little Rock restaurants to find out what’s new on their appetizer and cocktail menus this season. The offerings vary from sizzlingly sweet and spicy to delightfully fresh and bright and we’re giving you fair warning – some of these offerings are only available for a limited time to ensure that only the freshest of local ingredients are used.
Fine Salad & Wood-Oven Pizza Co.
F’Rosé + Hot Chile Calabrese
APP: Hot Chile Calabrese Pizza featuring spicy calabrese salami, artichokes, house-made chile-infused hot honey, mozzarella, parmesan, arugula and tomato sauce.
Zaza’s newest addition to the permanent pizza menu features a house-made chile-infused Arkansas honey – a sweet and hot sauce that ramps up the already bold flavors of spicy Italian calabrese salami.
COCKTAIL: F’Rosé Frozen Rosé with house-made Arkansas strawberry simple syrup.
Pair the expertly spiced pizza with Little Rock’s original F’Rosé as a way to bring the temperature down between each bite – hot, cold, repeat. After all, good pairings are all about balance, right?
Ahi Ginger Citrus Ceviche Featuring Ahi Tuna
& Texas Two-Step Margarita
APP: Ahi Ginger Citrus Ceviche Sushi-grade ahi tuna, pico de gallo, avocado, cucumber, lime, cilantro, creamy ginger-citrus jalapeño vinaigrette. Served with tortilla chips.
COCKTAIL: Texas Two-Step Margarita
Your choice of Reposado Tequila or Mezcal mixed with jalapeño infused triple sec, basil, simple syrup and fresh lime. We recommend the mezcal for this pairing as the smoke of the mezcal plays well with the spiciness of the fresh ginger dressing.
Grilled Gulf Shrimp Skewers & Pineapple Rhubarb Swizzle
APP: Grilled Gulf Shrimp Skewers.
A half pound of gulf shrimp skewered, grilled to perfection and served with house-made garlic-herb compound butter and cracked pepper jalapeño sauce.
COCKTAIL: Pineapple Rhubarb Swizzle Lunazul Reposado, Cappelletti Amaro Sfumato, lime, pineapple
and ginger beer served with a candied-rhubarb swizzle stick.
Bright, citrusy and sweet pineapple highlights these garlicky, grilled gulf shrimp in
such a coastal way you may need to book a trip to Puerto Vallarta after the second sip and skewer.
Arkansas Heirloom Caprese & The Alpine Belle Cocktail
APP: Arkansas Heirloom Caprese Seasonal offering only. Try it while it’s available.
Arkansas-grown heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, EVOO, fresh basil, cracked pepper and balsamic glaze.
Although this can be eaten as an entree, we recommend this dish as an appetizer to share. Each bright bite is bursting with flavors of Arkansas sunshine and sweet, earthy, homegrown goodness. The perfect prequel to the Big Orange beefy burgers.
COCKTAIL: The Alpine Belle Koch Espadín Mezcal, Dolin Genepy des Alpes, red bell pepper syrup, Aperol, lime and rhubarb bitters. Made with sweet red bell peppers and rhubarb this light, refreshing cocktail showcases bright vegetal notes that pair perfectly with sun-ripened Arkansas heirloom tomatoes.
Photography by Jamison Mosley