13 colorful and juicy cocktail recipes to liven up your Fourth of July celebrations
- This weekend’s Fourth of July celebrations are the perfect time to impress your friends (via Zoom or otherwise) with colorful and beautifully crafted cocktails.
- If you’re hosting or serving multiple people, you can pre-batch Pomegranate White Tea Sangria, or freeze a bottle of rosé into ice cubes to make blend with fresh fruit later in the day.
- For individual servings, elevate your tequila game with a coconut-infused tequila cocktail that mixes in creamy matcha powder, or opt for a tea-topped highball that’s made with Scotch whiskey.
The Fourth of July always feels like the true start of the summer season, and what better way to enjoy the fireworks than with a chilled beverage in hand?
For extra color as well as flavor, don’t hesitate to incorporate summer fruits into your cocktails, like watermelon, pineapple, a colorful variety of berries, or even cantaloupe. While fresh fruits work best as a garnish, they can be replaced by a frozen alternative when making blended cocktails or big-batch sangrias.
Since this year’s Independence Day falls during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, if you are having guests over, be sure to party responsibly by limiting your gathering to only a few people, and taking the necessary sanitary precautions. Avoid communal chip bags and punch bowls, and try to pre-prepare cocktails so that your guests aren’t all touching the same bottles and mixing equipment.
Here are 13 unique cocktail recipes to elevate your at-home Independence Day celebrations, from world-renowned distilleries and expert mixologists.
1. Pomegranate White Tea Sangria
If you’re preparing for a socially distant crowd, whipping up a large batch of a sangria-style beverage before the party starts can be a great time saver. Try this recipe from Natalie’s Juice, which swaps out the oranges and apples used in traditional sangria for red and blue summer berries.
- 32 oz Natalie’s Pomegranate White Tea
- 750 ml bottle dry Rose wine, chilled
- 2 cups Lillet Blanc liqueur, chilled
- 1 cup strawberries
- 1 cup blueberries
- .5 cup blackberries
- Club soda, optional
- Garnish: Watermelon
Method: Chill the Pomegranate White Tea, Rosé, and Lillet Blanc for several hours. In a large pitcher, combine the Pomegranate White Tea, Rosé, Lillet Blanc, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. Chill for another three to four hours to let the flavors combine. Serve in glasses with some of the fruit and top with a splash of club soda, if desired. Garnish with watermelon stars for a patriotic touch.
2. Grand Club
This recipe from Grand Marnier pairs their orange-flavored liqueur with homemade raspberry syrup and one egg white to create a top layer of light foam.
- 1.5 oz Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
- .75 oz lemon juice
- .75 oz raspberry syrup*
- 1 dash orange bitters
- 1 egg white
- Garnish: fresh raspberries
*Raspberry syrup: Add 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water and 1 cup raspberries (frozen or fresh) to a sauce pan and bring to boil while stirring and pressing the berries apart with a spoon. Let cool and strain before use.
Method: Add all ingredients to in cocktail shaker, shake dry. Add ice and shake again. Double strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with raspberry skewer.
3. Más O Menos
If tequila is more your style, use 1800 Tequila’s signature coconut infusion in this creamy, matcha-flavored cocktail.
- 2 oz 1800 Coconut tequila
- Bar spoon of matcha powder
- 4 oz vanilla rice milk
- .5 oz simple syrup
- Shake of cinnamon
- Optional squeeze of lime for acidity
Method: Build in Collins glass and stir with crushed ice to combine. Garnish with grated cinnamon and a cinnamon stick.
4. Black-Eyed Rye
This rye-based cocktail from Sagamore is grounded and herbaceous, with a perfect refreshing lift from the ginger beer, lime juice, and mint.
- 1.5 oz Sagamore Spirit Rye Whiskey
- 3 oz ginger beer
- .5 oz lime juice
- .75 oz blackberry simple syrup
- 8-10 mint leaves
- Shake Rye Whiskey, lime juice, blackberry simple syrup*, and a few mint leaves with ice, and strain into a Collins glass.
- Top with ginger beer.
- Garnish with mint sprigs and three skewered blackberries.
*Blackberry simple syrup: Mix equal parts water, sugar, and blackberries in a pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Chill overnight and strain. If you need a quick option instead, muddle blackberries with pre-made simple syrup.
5. Honey Highball
For those who prefer a smokier whiskey that’s still refreshing enough for a summer afternoon, try this cocktail from whiskey-maker Aberfeldy. It’s a highball that effortlessly mixes a single malt Scotch with homemade honey syrup and chilled chamomile tea.
- 1.5 oz Aberfeldy 12 Single Malt Scotch whiskey
- 0.75 oz of local honey syrup* (a half cup of honey and a quarter cup of water, stir and leave to chill. Note: Syrup will only last 3 days)
- Chilled chamomile tea
Method: Stir together Aberfeldy 12 and honey syrup in a glass. Add cubed ice and chilled chamomile tea, then stir to incorporate. Garnish with a lemon twist and a dried chamomile flower.
6. Spring Flora
If you’re willing to go the extra mile for an Insta-worthy cocktail, this recipe from Sesión Premium Tequila is for you. It blends of hibiscus syrup, watermelon juice, and rosewater for a fruity flavor that’s not overly sweet.
- 1 oz Sesión Blanco Tequila
- ⅓ oz Aperol
- .5 oz lime juice
- ⅓ oz hibiscus syrup
- 1 oz Watermelon juice
- 2 drops rosewater
- 3 dashes Peychauds Bitters
Method: Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until cold. Double strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with grated chocolate.
7. Tommy’s Margarita
If a shot with lime is your tequila go-to, consider this slightly more elevated option, also from Sesión.
- 2 oz Sesión Reposado Tequila
- ⅔ oz lime juice
- ⅓ oz agave
- Garnish: slice of lime
Method: Add all ingredients to shaker. Add ice and shake until cold. Strain over fresh ice in rocks glass. Garnish with lime wheel.
8. Camarena Salsa-Rita
For the margarita lovers who want loads of flavor, the Salsa-Rita from Camarena Tequila packs a punch with pineapple juice and fresh cilantro, which you can also muddle at the bottom of your glass for an even stronger herbal taste.
- 2 oz Camarena Silver
- 1 oz lime juice
- .5 oz agave nectar
- 2 oz pineapple juice
- 3-4 cilantro leaves
Method: Add ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice, and shake together to combine/chill. Strain (or double strain) into an ice-filled glass, and garnish with cilantro, lime wheel, and pineapple frond.
9. Gin Mare Lavender Lemonade
This alcoholic lemonade from Gin Mare mixes their classic gin with lemonade and lavender syrup. If you don’t have Pimm’s handy, you can DIY it with a premade mixture of gin, sweet vermouth, and an orange.
- 1.5 oz Gin Mare
- .5 oz Pimm’s Liqueur
- .25 oz lavender syrup
- Top with lemonade
Method: Add all the ingredients to a short glass filled with ice and stir. Garnish with lavender and dehydrated lemon slices.
10. D’USSÉ Watermelon Spritz
Swap out the traditional Aperol spritz for this summer-centric option from D’USSÉ that adds in fresh watermelon juice and garnish.
- 1.5 oz D’USSÉ VSOP Cognac
- 0.5 oz Aperol
- 2 oz fresh watermelon juice
- 0.5 oz simple syrup
- 0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
- 1 oz sparkling wine
- Garnish: Watermelon ball skewer and orange peel
Method: Add D’USSE, Aperol, watermelon juice, simple syrup, and lemon juice into a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into an ice filled wine glass. Top with sparkling wine. Garnish with a watermelon ball skewer and orange peel.
11. Recuerdo Mezcal Blues
If you like mezcal, use Recuerdo Joven for this bright blue concoction that includes curacao for a pop of color, and fresh mint and raspberries.
- 1 1/2 oz Recuerdo Joven Mezcal
- 1 oz blue curacao
- 1/2 oz lime juice
- 1 oz mint syrup*
- Fresh raspberries
- Tonic water
*Mint syrup: 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 2-3 bunches fresh mint. Heat the water, sugar, and mint to a gentle boil and reduce to a simmer for 1-2 minutes while stirring. Pull off the heat and allow to sit for 30-60 minutes to infuse the mint. Cool and strain the mint.
Method: Muddle raspberries with the Mezcal, lime juice, and mint syrup, pour over glass of ice. Add the curacao, fill with tonic water, and top with fresh raspberries to garnish.
12. Sunset in Montauk
Cantaloupe isn’t often included in cocktails, but this recipe from New York City’s Fine & Rare combines the fruit tastefully with rosemary in a sorbet-topped glass that can’t be beat, especially on a summer holiday like July 4th.
- 1.5 oz Vodka
- .75 oz simple syrup
- .5 oz lemon juice
- .5 oz Aperol
- 4 cantaloupe cubes
- Fresh rosemary
- Garnish: rosemary sprig
Method: Muddle the cantaloupe and rosemary. Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake. Double strain into a tall glass. Top with Aperol sorbet, small rosemary sprig, and a melon ball.
13. Frosé Del Diablo
If your barbecue guests enjoy frozen drinks, you can begin prepping the night before to make this frozen rosé, handcrafted exclusively for Casillero del Diablo by mixologist Dan Magro. With blended strawberries, and drizzles of honey and balsamic vinegar, this cocktail will make the perfect addition to any backyard barbecue.
Ingredients: (Makes 4 cocktails)
- 4 oz vodka
- 1 bottle Casillero del Diablo Rosé
- 1 ½ oz balsamic vinegar
- 2 oz honey
- 10 medium strawberries, additional to garnish
- Fresh basil, to garnish
Method: Pour Casillero del Diablo Rosé into ice cube trays and freeze overnight. (One bottle of wine typically fills two standard ice cube trays). Place frozen rosé “ice cubes” in a blender along with vodka, balsamic vinegar, strawberries, and honey. Blend until smooth. Pour into coupe or wine glasses, and garnish with a strawberry and fresh basil.
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