The 4th of July is a time for celebrating the great freedoms we share as Americans while honoring our Revolutionary fathers while raising a glass along with a flag. One of my favorite freedoms…the right to enjoy a martini today and a margarita tomorrow. If you need a little inspiration for your holiday cocktail here is a complete list of tasty ones. A few spirit selections were sent for editorial consideration.
First off…I am a bit of a minimalist when it comes to mixing, so cocktails don’t need to be complicated to be good. A Brugal Extra Dry Rum with club soda, a squeeze of lime and a sprig of mint, or a Western Son Grapefruit Vodka with seltzer and lime, or a SNAP and ginger ale over ice will beat the hot July heat during any celebration, the key for these is to start with quality ingredients, just like you would when cooking using fresh herbs and fruit whenever possible. If you do want to get a little more creative, consider one of these patriotic sips.
1 ½ oz. SKYY Vodka
1 oz. Freshly Squeezed Meyer Lemon Juice
½ oz. Simple Syrup (equal parts water and sugar melted together white stirring over low heat)
3 Meyer Lemon Peels
Directions: Muddle lemon peels, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Add the vodka and ice. Shake and strain over fresh ice cubes. Garnish with a twist of lemon.
1 ½ ounces Milagro Silver Tequila
1 ounce Cointreau
½ ounce Lemon Juice
½ ounce Lime Juice
3 basil Leaves
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice. Shake and strain over ice in a rocks glass.
Flavored vodka requires little effort in mixing to create innovative cocktails. When I was bartending in college it would take 6 or 7 different ingredients to create a martini that tasted like wedding cake or cotton candy….now, just buy cotton candy flavored vodka. I am not a huge fan of super sweet drink though, so trying the fruit based infused vodkas is better for my palate. There are a few new ones out from UV Vodka that I just tried. The UV Salted Watermelon in particular is tasty as it combines sweet and savory into one, and makes that 4th of July picnic that much more fun!
UV Salty Melonade
1 part UV Salted Watermelon Vodka
2 parts fresh squeezed lemonade
Directions: Combine over ice and garnish with a lemon wedge and slice of fresh watermelon.
1 part UV Cherry Vodka
1 part lemon-lime soda
Splash of lime juice
Directions: Serve in martini glass and garnish with cherries.
1 1/2 oz. Blue Chair Bay Coconut Spiced Rum
1 strawberry, cut and muddled
1 lemon wedge
1 tsp. agave nectar
2 dashes angostura bitters
Directions:Muddle the strawberry and lemon wedge in the agave. Add Blue Chair Bay Coconut Spiced Rum, bitters, and ice. Shake like crazy. Strain over ice into a rocks glass. Add a strawberry slice and lemon wheel.
Red, White & Blueberry
Created by Chef Lee Anne Wong, serves 2
4 parts Maker’s Mark Bourbon
¼ cup freshly squeezed and strained lime juice
¼ cup freshly squeezed and strained lemon juice
½ cup freshly squeezed and strained orange juice
1 part simple syrup
4 mint leaves, plus more for garnish
Assorted berries: raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries
Splash club soda
Directions: Combine the juices, Maker’s Mark Bourbon, simple syrup, and mint leaves in a large shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into 2 tall glasses over ice and add a splash of soda. Cut berries and mint leaves as garnish. Serve immediately.
Lady Liberty Lemonade
Makes 15 servings
1 bottle Citron vodka
1/3 bottle of Midori Melon Liqueur
1 liter freshly squeezed lemonade
1 liter lemon-lime soda
20 sprigs fresh mint
Lemon slices for garnish
Directions: Add spirits and lemonade together in a large serving pitcher with the mint and muddle a bit. Add the soda and lemon slices and serve in rocks glasses over ice.
Though it is more patriotic across the pond, a bottle of Pimm’s No. 1 always finds its way to my bar around the 4th of July as Wimbeldon is winding down and drinking the London favorite while watching my favorite is required…though my favorite somehow lost in the first round. If you don’t drink one on Thursday, definitely enjoy a Pimm’s Cup on Sunday morning while watching the men’s final match.
Pimm’s Original Cup
1 part PIMM’S* No.1
2 parts chilled lemonade
Garnish with mint, cucumber, orange and strawberry
Directions: Stir together over ice in a tall glass
And if you’re looking for a spot to raise a patriotic glass this weekend, Max’s Wine Dive will have 50% off all bottles of wine this week if dining in from 4pm-midnight, and will end the week on Friday with a cookout on their patio from 1-5….great way to start the weekend. Anyone with a military ID will also enjoy 50% off all food this week as well.