Independence Day marks the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, signed by the nation’s founding fathers 246 years ago. Since then, Americans have proudly celebrated the country’s founding in a litany of ways. In recent times, Fourth of July celebrations have come to be known for extravagant fireworks displays, backyard cookouts and time well-spent with family and friends. In celebratory fashion, imbibing on the holiday has also become a tradition of its own. In 2021, beer and hard seltzer sales on Provi jumped 3.06%, spirits 4.4% and wine 2.78%, during the two weeks leading up to the holiday, suggesting healthy consumer demand for booze.
This means on- and off-premise buyers anticipate this hike in demand across all categories, particularly in beer and spirit sales. For many Americans, cocktails will be the celebratory drink of choice over the holiday, opting to batch cocktails at home or visit their local watering hole for a refreshing reprieve from the July heat. For bars and restaurants, this offers a chance to promote cocktails that match the holiday best or offer respite against the early-July heat. For wine and spirits shops, this is an opportunity to showcase spirits that are in high demand for home-cocktail enthusiasts. Here are five cocktails to serve up this Fourth of July.
Chatham Artillery Punch
Nothing says celebrating our nation’s founding more than whipping up a large bowl of Chatham Artillery Punch. This lethal combination of brandy, rum, whiskey and champagne could serve an army. In fact, that’s exactly what it did. This 18th-century concoction was delved out to Savannah, Georgia’s once militia, the Chatham Artillery, upon their return from a drill in Macon, Georgia in 1850. However, its true origins are said to stem back further. It was allegedly served to none other than founding father, George Washington himself when he visited Savannah in 1791 to deliver two cannons to the regiment. After a long night at the hand of southern hospitality, the punch ultimately was said to have produced such an awful hangover that Washington vowed to never return to the southern port city.
1½ cups sugar
2 (750ml) bottles dry sparkling wine
The night before, thinly peel lemons and muddle peels with sugar in a jar. Juice lemons to get 1½ cups juice and add to jar to dissolve sugar. Let stand overnight.
Fill a large bowl with crushed ice and add brandy, rum, and whiskey. Strain lemon juice and sugar mixture into bowl, discarding peels.
Just before serving, add sparkling wine. Yield: At least 20 servings.
While this cocktail doesn’t involve past presidents or early-American militias, the Margarita has captivated bar patrons since the 1930s. Its origin is speculative. Depending on who you ask, it either involves a theatrical showgirl, a Texas socialite, or the golden-age actress Rita Hayworth, whose real name is Margarita Casino. But according to cocktail historian, David Wondrich, the Margarita has a more humble origin story. It likely evolved from the classic Tequila Daisy—a mix of tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice and a splash of soda. Eventually, it became a Margarita—likely due to the fact that “margarita” means “daisy” in Spanish. As blenders became popular in the 1950s, so did a frozen version of the Margarita. Today, it’s a summertime staple at bars and restaurants as much as it is at home. Mix it up with some fresh strawberries for added flavor and flair this Fourth of July. This recipe makes one cocktail. Easily scale it by the number of guests you’re hosting.
1 cup ice
½ cup fresh or frozen strawberries
1 ½ oz tequila
1 oz triple sec
1 oz lime juice
Strawberry, for garnish
Add all ingredients to a blender excluding the garnish and blend until the ice and ingredients are fully incorporated.
Serve in a frozen cocktail glass, garnish with strawberry and serve.
Mojito by the Pitcher
Like many cocktails, the Mojito’s exact origin is lost in history, but several stories claim fame for this legendary blend of rum, mint, lime juice and soda water. From “Aguardiente de Cana” or “firewater of the cane” to La Bodeguita del Medio in Havana, Cuba where Hemingway famously was a regular, to the 1500s with Sir Francis Drake, whose crew suffered from dysentery and scurvy and benefited from a local concoction of Aguardiente de Cana, mint leaves and the juice from sugar cane and limes. Ultimately, the cocktail would gain popularity through the decades, culminating in widespread adoption at the turn of the new millennium. This Fourth of July, celebrate and enjoy with friends and family with a pitcher of batched Mojito.
Stir together sugar, water, and mint leaves in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium-high, stirring to dissolve sugar. Simmer, undisturbed, until mint wilts and syrup tastes minty, about 3 minutes. Remove and discard mint. Chill syrup until cold, about 30 minutes.
Stir together mint syrup, rum, and lime juice in a large pitcher. Chill at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
When ready to serve, gently stir club soda into mixture in pitcher, and add lime rounds. Pour evenly into 6 ice-filled glasses. Garnish glasses with lime peel strips and mint sprigs.
What better way to beat the Fourth of July heat than with this Texas Rancher staple. You may have recently heard about this easy-to-make cocktail—its popularity has soared in recent years, especially with the explosive rise of Ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails. This simple recipe involves tequila, lime juice and the hyper-effervescent sparkling mineral water, Topo Chico. Feel free to make this cocktail in a glass, but you’d be doing the original version a disservice. The most efficient way to make this cocktail is to simply drink just enough water from the Topo Chico bottle to make room for a shot of tequila and a squeeze of lime. We suggest switching gears and swapping tequila with mezcal, particularly with Madre Mezcal whose RTD “Desert Water” is equally delicious and refreshing.
12-ounce bottle Topo Chico, chilled
1 ½ ounces blanco tequila or mezcal
½ ounce fresh lime juice
Start by pouring out (or drinking) two ounces of the Topo Chico.
Add the tequila (or mezcal) and then lime juice to the Topo Chico bottle.
Frosé (Frozen Rosé)
Ah, Frosé. What’s not to love about this delectable frozen cocktail? Take one of summer’s delights, rosé wine, and mix it with a little bit of sugar, strawberries and fresh lemon juice and blend with ice to produce an infectiously delicious Fourth of July cocktail. Its low-ABV nature makes for a sessionable drink that lasts you through the long July afternoon. However, add a touch of octane with flavored citrus vodka or even gin. It makes for a great addition to a bar or restaurant menu, but this cocktail is equally easy to make at home for friends and family over the Fourth of July weekend.
1 750-ml bottle hearty, bold rosé (such as a Pinot Noir or Merlot rosé)
½ cup sugar
8 oz strawberries, hulled, quartered
2½ oz fresh lemon juice
Pour rosé into a 13x9" pan and freeze until almost solid (it won't completely solidify due to the alcohol), at least 6 hours. Meanwhile, bring sugar and ½ cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan; cook, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Add strawberries, remove from heat, and let sit 30 minutes to infuse syrup with strawberry flavor. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl (do not press on solids); cover and chill until cold, about 30 minutes.
Scrape rosé into a blender. Add lemon juice, 3½ oz strawberry syrup, and 1 cup crushed ice and purée until smooth. Transfer blender jar to freezer and freeze until frosé is thickened (aim for milkshake consistency), 25–35 minutes.
Blend again until frosé is slushy. Divide among glasses.
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