Red, White, and Booze: The Best 4th of July Cocktails

To some, 4th of July means gorging on juicy burgers from the grill, hunting for that perfectly shaded spot on the beach, and lighting up fireworks, but whatever happened to indulging in some good ol’ fashion alcohol in honor of freedom? Sources claim that while writing the Declaration of Independence, the Founding Fathers drank eight barrels of wine and other spirits. Even George Washington brewed his own beer and would encourage colonists to buy American-based ales, rather than those imported from England. With 4th of July being the only summer holiday, there’s no reason why we can’t start a seemingly forgotten tradition of raising our glasses to celebrate the country we live in. Whether you’re hosting swanky soirees or posh pool parties, we’ve compiled some tantalizing, lip-smacking cocktails that are guaranteed to light up any celebration.

The Americano

The Americano may have originated from Italy, but it was Americans whom made this red hot number famous. During Prohibition, tourists throughout Milan would order this highly bitter, zesty cocktail to satisfy their cravings. Today in Europe, it’s considered good manners to order an Americano when hanging out with American visitors.

1 oz. Campari
1 oz. Vermouth (We used Cinzano Rosso)
Club Soda
1 Orange twist

Pour Campari and vermouth over ice in a rocks or highball glass. Add a splash of club soda. Garnish with an orange twist.

The Firecracker

On the 4th of July in 1778, Washington celebrated with his troops by offering them a double ration of liquor. In the spirit of the first president, we recommend a tangy margarita made with two shots of tequila. Commemorate the country’s past and hopeful future with the best of both worlds combined in a powerful pomegranate concoction. Perfected by world renowned mixologists Andres Masso and Jacques Bezuidenhout, the Firecracker is reserved only for the brave.

2 Shots of tequila (We used Cabo Wabo Reposado)
1/4 Shot of sugar syrup
6 Fresh pomegranate seeds
Pomegranate juice
1 Shot of passion fruit mix

Muddle pomegranate juice and seeds in a shaker. Add other ingredients and then shake with ice. Fine strain drink into chilled glass.

The Yankee Doodle

How did Carrie Bradshaw manage to drink all those Cosmos and still look fabulous? Simple: her drinks are vodka-based. It’s a known fact that beverages pure in alcohol, such as vodka, cause fewer hangovers. Yet, not everyone can swallow down the fiery liquor without passing out. Fortunately, the Yankee Doodle incorporates ripe fruits that soak up vodka, giving you an ice cold pick-me-up without paying for it the next day. Best of all, it’s one of the few drinks that always look stylish with little effort. Keep it up you Yankee (and all fashionistas everywhere)!

1 ½ oz. Grape flavored vodka (We used SKYY Infusions)
1 tsp. Raw sugar
4 Slices of peeled ginger
5 Large green grapes
Clear soda

Muddle grapes, ginger, and sugar in pint glass. Add ice and vodka. Shake vigorously and strain drink into a cocktail glass over ice. Top with soda and garnish with raspberries and blueberries.

The Chi Chi

If your idea of a perfect 4th of July is basking on the beach, then you’ll need a tropical frozen cocktail to keep you company. The Chi Chi is a Pina Colada with vodka instead of rum. Wind down with this thick, creamy, luscious dessert as you watch fireworks light up the sky. Who needs to leave the country for an exotic escape?

1/2 Cup of ice
2 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Blue curacao
1/2 oz. Cream of coconut
1/2 Cup of chopped pineapple
Scoop of vanilla ice cream
Maraschino cherries

Pour ice, vodka, blue curacao, cream of coconut, pineapple, and vanilla ice cream into a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour drink into a chilled glass. Garnish with one pineapple chunk and maraschino cherries.

The Blue Star Martini

This little gem of a drink from Dallas never fails! Prepared at InterContinental Dallas, the Blue Star is from a red state, and is served in a chilled, icy white martini glass. OK, maybe we’re looking too deep into it. Gin is an ideal summer cooler that’s crisp, refreshing, and can enhance the flavors of freshly picked peaches. However, don’t forget the old saying “gin makes you sin.” Drink this deliciously sweet, yet potent cocktail slowly!

1 ½ oz. Gin
½ oz. Blue curacao
1 oz. Peach schnapps
¾ oz. Lime juice
¼ oz. Sugar syrup
1 Lemon peel

Place the gin, curacao, schnapps, lime juice, and syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain drink into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.

The All-American Blue

Savoring azure-hued cocktails are as American as sipping on some blue Kool Aid during a hazy summer day. In honor of a traditional holiday that never fails to make us feel good, we’ve got our eyes on an All-American Blue, a stunning drink that’s sure to bring out the true patriot in anyone. The All-American Blue is made with orange-flavored curacaos, white grape juice, and vodka for a subtly sweet cocktail with a clean, silky finish. Just like a pair of Levis, the All-American Blue never goes out of style.

2 oz. Vodka (We used SKYY)
1 oz. Blue curacao
2 oz. White grape juice
Club soda
1 Lime or apple slice

Pour all ingredients except soda in a shaker and shake hard. Pour into a highball glass with ice. Garnish with a lime or green apple slice.

The Patriot Martini

Pledge allegiance to the flag while lifting the always-festive Patriot Martini to your lips. This fruity concoction lights up any party with its vivid colors. The Patriot Martini comes from the Four Moons in South Carolina, a 2008 winner of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. The Patriot Martini’s delicate floral flavor uniting with frozen blueberries make it as scrumptious and wonderfully inviting as freshly baked apple pie. For a drink that incorporates all the colors of the flag, shake things up with a Patriot Martini, the only cocktail worth waiting for.

Blue curacao
1.5 oz. Vodka (We used Grey Goose shaken and strained over)
1 Hibiscus flower in hibiscus syrup
Chilled blueberries
1 Lemon
1 Lime

You will want to start with two plates or shallow bowls. To one dish, add blue curacao and the other with sugar. Dip martini glass first into the blue curacao and then into the sugar. Slowly turning the martini glass on one edge will provide a more even coverage of the sugar. Next, add a single hibiscus flower to martini glass and a tablespoon of the hibiscus syrup. Refrigerate the martini glass. Fill a martini shaker with ice and add vodka. Squeeze fresh lemon and lime juice into the shaker. Shake vigorously. Strain the martini into the chilled martini glass. Pour the drink against the side of the glass without disturbing the hibiscus syrup at the bottom. Garnish with chilled fresh blueberries.