Because who doesn’t want to recreate the American flag in their glass?
On the Fourth of July it’s okay – encouraged, even – to bust out anything and everything with the colors our country is known for, from T-shirts to Tiki torches. But why stop there? Drinks sporting colors not found in nature (red dye 40 and neon blue, we’re looking at you) really ramp up the festive flair of holiday parties and backyard barbecues. Mix, toast, repeat.
Happy birthday, America!
Recipe courtesy of Middle Branch
In this Tequila sip, crushed blueberries add a reddish hue to the bottom layer in the glass, the middle layer is clear/light, and the top layer is blue tinged from the adding of butterfly pea extract. "We can see ourselves as one nation under God, but we are in fact a culmination of many influences from around the world,” says managing partner Lucinda Sterling. “Our neighbors to the South have given us the opportunity to enjoy some of these influences in just one glass."
- 2 oz. Casamigos Blanco Tequila
- 0.75 oz. fresh Lime juice
- 0.5 oz. Agave nectar
- 11 fresh Blueberries (reserve 1 for garnish)
- 10 drops Wild Hibiscus b’lure Butterfly Pea Extract
In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle 10 blueberries with the lime juice and agave nectar. Add the tequila, stir to combine, and pour into a Collins glass. Cover with crushed ice to just below the rim. Add 10 drops of the butterfly pea extract to the top of the ice and swizzle to combine. Top with more crushed ice and garnish with a blueberry.
Image and recipe courtesy of Haven Rooftop
“When I think of Fourth of July, I’m reminded of the beautiful weather, which was my inspiration for ‘Blue Freedom,’” says general manager Elda Devilla. “The chilled, brisk aromatics paired with fresh berries exude calm, cool refreshing flavors.” This cocktail is simple, utterly refreshing and completely addictive, making it a hit at Fourth of July parties.
- 1.5 oz. Vodka
- 1 oz. Lemonade
- 0.5 oz. Blue Curaçao
- Blueberries and strawberries, for garnish
Add the vodka, lemonade and Curaçao to a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled Martini glass, and garnish with blueberries and strawberries on a cocktail pick.
Image and recipes courtesy of Embassy Row Hotel
Of course a hotel bar in Washington, DC, would have some patriotic potables on the menu this time of year. This trio of tipples gets their color from Blue Curaçao, coconut vodka and red berry vodka. For even more of a festive flair, serve them in small glasses as a flight, garnished with paper American flags.
- 2 oz. Cîroc Red Berry Vodka
- 2 oz. Grapefruit juice
- 2 oz. Cranberry juice
- 0.5 oz. Grenadine
- Strawberry, for garnish
Build the cocktail in the glass over ice, and then transfer it to another cup to make the drink completely red. Garnish with a strawberry.
- 2 oz. Cîroc Coconut Vodka
- 4 oz. fresh Coconut water
- 0.5 oz. Lime juice
- Lime wedge, for garnish
Add the first three ingredients to a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake until well chilled. Strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice, and garnish with the lime wedge.
- 2 oz. Cîroc Vodka
- 4 oz. Lemonade
- 0.5 oz. Blue Curaçao
- Lemon wheel, for garnish
Build the cocktail in the glass over ice, and then transfer it to another cup to make the drink completely blue. Garnish with a lemon wheel.
Image and recipe courtesy of Red’s Table
Locally-produced Green Hat Gin goes into this refreshing Sour variant. Be sure to dry shake first before adding the ice and re-shaking, which will give the drink a luxuriously smooth texture and an appealing frothiness in the glass.
- 2 oz. Green Hat Gin
- 0.75 oz. Simple syrup
- 1 oz. Lemon juice
- 1 Egg white
- Splash club soda
- Blueberries, for garnish
- Raspberries, for garnish
Add the first four ingredients to a cocktail shaker, and dry shake to emulsify. Add ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice, top with a splash of club soda, and garnish with blueberries and raspberries.
Image and recipe courtesy of Red Owl Tavern
Based in Old City, Philadelphia, right across the street from Independence Mall, Red Owl Tavern wanted to pay homage to our country’s history with a rum cocktail – America’s original craft spirit. Independence Jawn is a modern American craft cocktail named in contemporary street vernacular; jawn is a slang word used by Philadelphians to describe anything and everything.
- Muddled blueberries
- 0.5 oz. Demerara rum
- 2 oz. White rum
- Peychaud’s Bitters
- Blueberries, for garnish
Muddle blueberries in the bottom of a Mason jar. Fill halfway with crushed ice, and then add the rums. Top with more crushed ice and Peychaud’s Bitters, and garnish with a few blueberries.
Tips for creating spirited sips this Independence Day:
- Not a fan of sweet ingredients? Use a bitter red liqueur like Campari or Peychaud’s Aperitivo in your creations.
- Extract from the butterfly pea flower is a great substitute for Blue Curaçao in a drink. Just keep in mind that the hue will be a bit less intense, and that the color can change a bit depending on whether or not the cocktail’s other ingredients are acids or bases.
- For an easy layered libation, pour a frozen blue Daiquiri into a Hurricane glass, followed by a Piña Colada and then a Strawberry Daiquiri. Or, skip the blue layer and simply stud the top of the drink with fresh (or frozen) blueberries.
Kelly Magyarics, DWS, is a wine, spirits and lifestyle writer, and wine educator, in the Washington, D.C. area. She can be reached through her website, www.kellymagyarics.com, or on Twitter and Instagram @kmagyarics.