Barbeque Brawl with Leslie Sbrocco and Ray Isle

It’s “He Said, She Said” time again with Leslie Sbrocco, founder of Thirsty Girl, and Ray Isle, wine editor of Food & Wine Magazine, leading Kathie Lee and Hoda on the fourth hour of the Today Show through upcoming Labor Day weekend drinks choices. Whether it’s spicy catfish on the grill, vegetable kabobs or sizzling steak, these barbeque sip options will please everyone.

With spicy shrimp or Cajun catfish:Leslie and Ray

Leslie Pick: 2010 Elk Cove Pinot Gris Willamette Valley, Oregon $19

This fruity but dry wine expresses the fun of Pinot Gris. Its vibrant character is an ideal match for quenching your thirst after spicy fare. It’s also a top warm-weather alternative to Chardonnay.

Ray Pick: Aperol Spritz Cocktail $22

An Aperol Spritz—which is made with Aperol, an aperitif that’s like Campari but not as bitter—is the classic start-the-evening drink of Venice and Verona. It’s prosecco, Aperol, and club soda … so it’s not too high-alcohol, too. Plus it’s a touchsweet, which goes great with spicy foods.

With BBQ Chicken (spicy and sweeter sauces):

Ray’s Pick: Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale $5 (for one pint)

Samuel Smith’s is a rich, caramelly, dark, English ale, which marries well with any kind of spicy barbeque sauce.

Leslie pick: Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey $24 (a blend of Jack Daniels famous Old No. 7 Tennessee whiskey and honey liquor) and Stone’s Original Ginger Wine $13.00 (wine infused with ginger)

Honey Drop Punch: Leslie’s original punch recipe is lightly sweet and refreshing making it a daringly delicious pairing for sweeter barbeque sauces or honey-glazed chicken. (Serves approximately 10 cocktails)

· 1 cup (8 Oz)Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey

· 1 cup (8 Oz)Stone’s Original Ginger Wine

· 2 cups (16 oz) Unsweetened Lemonade

· 2 cups (16 oz) Ginger Ale

Combine all liquids into glass pitcher, stir, then add ice, squeeze in fresh lime or lemon juice and garnish with mint.

With vegetable kabobs drizzled with balsamic vinegar:

Ray’s Pick: Nino Franco Prosecco, Italy $16

With vegetables, you want something light and refreshing. Prosecco, the sparkling wine of Italy, is a great choice and Nino Franco is one of the best and affordable producers.

Leslie’s Pick: 2010 Yalumba Sangiovese Rose, Australia $12

A dry-style rose from Australia, this pretty pink goes as easily with the earthy vegetable kabobs as it does with fish or meat. Made from sangoivese grapes, it’s spicy, floral and packed with fruitiness.

*Both wines were served in the GoVino Glassware, which is easy to use, unbreakable, washable and the ideal option for outdoor parties.

With steak off the grill…

Leslie’s pick: 2008 Hearst Ranch “Three Sisters” Red Cuvee, Paso Robles, California $20

A blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre, this smooth yet hearty red complements the grass-fed Hearst Ranch steaks beautifully. For Hearst Ranch steaks.

Ray’s Pick: 2008 Chateau Ste Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Washington $15

An utterly classic pairing – the tannins in Cabernet cut through the fat of the meat, plus the flavors just work so well together. Chateau Ste Michelle’s Columbia Valley bottling is one of the best deals out there.

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