The Fourth of July can mean different things to different people, but for many the weekend is characterized by fireworks, beach and booze. Eater reached out to 10 top bartenders from across the country to see how the pros plan to celebrate the holiday weekend. Below, ideas and recipes for imbibing over July Fourth.
1) Blair Reynolds of Hale Pele (Portland): "I'll be sipping on my typical Zombie Punch while watching the fireworks. I've always found overproof rum enhances the fireworks watching experience. Really, any experience. Of course, we close up shop at Hale Pele for the Fourth, so I'll be left to my own devices. Good thing I started working on my line of mixers, for just such an emergency!"
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce B.G.Reynolds' Paradise Blend
1/2 ounce B.G.Reynolds' Falernum
1/4 ounce B.G.Reynolds' Lush Grenadine
1/2 ounce 151 proof Demerara Rum
11/2 ounces Dark Jamaican Rum
11/2 ounces Gold Rum
1 dash Angostura Bitters
6 drops Absinthe
Mix all ingredients with crushed ice and dump into 14 ounce zombie glass. Top with crushed ice. Garnish with a mint sprig, cherry, and Hale Pele swizzle.
2) Julian Cox of Redbird (Los Angeles): "Txakoli all day. It's a great dry white wine produced in the Basque country on the northeast side of Spain. High acid, low alcohol and beautifully dry. Perfect for drinking on a hot Fourth of July day. Or any day for that matter."
3) Jamie Boudreau of Canon (Seattle): "I am Canadian and will be doing my celebrating/drinking three days earlier ... I think I'll make myself a Maple Leaf; essentially a Bourbon Sour with maple syrup instead of simple syrup."
2 ounces bonded bourbon
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce maple syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 egg white
Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker. Shake and strain up into a coupe glass.
5) Chris Hannah of Arnaud's French 75 (New Orleans): "I like the Bastille Cup we do—a low alcohol fortified wine-based refreshing drink with fresh watermelon juice/water, lime and maraschino. Or a Bourbon Smash, doesn't get more American and refreshing than that."
Strawberry Basil Bourbon Smash
4 sprigs basil
1/2 ounce agave nectar
2 ounces bourbon
3/4 ounce lemon juice
Muddle basil and strawberries with agave in a mixing glass. Add bourbon and lemon juice and shake with ice. Double-strain over ice and garnish with basil crown.
6) Matt Nurge of Red Rabbit (Sacramento): "The majority of my time on Fourth of July is spent with family and friends. The last thing I want to do is to make someone work to make cocktails for me. So I will be drinking a nice peaty scotch like a Lagavulin 16 and some cheap beer to wash it down. Most likely a Miller Lite. Because I'm celebrating my freedom to drink what makes me happy."
7) Paul McGee of Lost Lake (Chicago): "Every year we celebrate Fourth of July by having a barbecue in our backyard. We have an abundance of fresh mint that grows in the backyard and I will always make a drink that includes mint in the recipe. A couple of years ago, I made Juleps for everyone; last year I made Whiskey Smashes and this year I will be making Mojitos with Rhum Agricole. I really like the earthy, grassy flavor of unaged Rhum Agricole in a Mojito instead of a Spanish-style rum. So this year we'll be drinking those ... and a lot of cheap beer!"
6 large mint leaves
2 lime wedges
2 teaspoons of turbinado sugar
2 ounces Rhum Agricole Blanc (Neisson Blanc or Clement Canne Bleu)
1 ounce club soda
Place mint leaves, lime wedges, and sugar in a collins glass. Lightly muddle to extract the juice from the limes and oils from the mint. Add rum and club soda and lightly stir to integrate all ingredients. Top with lots of crushed ice. Garnish with a big bouquet of mint.
8) Ryan Fitzgerald of ABV (San Francisco): "Personally I'll be camping somewhere ... ABV will be closed. I'll probably be drinking rosé or something white with oysters and later some Anchor California lager from a can while barbecuing. Obviously some Del Maguey Tobalá to go with everything."
9) Roger Gross of Libertine Liquor Bar (Indianapolis): "I'll be drinking an Applejack Sour because I want the most American beverage. Our country was founded on applejack and I'll enjoy it with some dry curaçao (Pierre Ferrand) and allspice dram to dry it out. Jamaican bitters #1 and #2 from our friends at Bittercube. Why? It's the most American thing I can do!"
1.5 ounces Starlight (local Indiana distillery) Applejack
.75 ounce Pierre Ferrand dry curaçao
.75 ounce 1 to 1 Demerara syrup
.75 ounce fresh lemon juice
.25 ounce St. Elizabeth allspice dram
2 dashes each Bittercube Jamaican #1, #2
1 egg white
Add ingredients to cocktail shaker, dry shake without ice to emulsify egg white. Add ice, shake vigorously and double strain into a double rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a fresh orange swath.
10) Trevor Easter of Noble Experiment (San Diego): "What I want to say is something bourbon and refreshing like a Kentucky Buck, but if I had to be honest it would probably be tequila and Mexican beer because I live in San Diego and Mexican beer flows out of the water taps. Also, it's hard to shake a cocktail in a hammock."
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