4 Cocktails for the 4th of July

A.J. Rathbun

The big summer holiday is only a week away and one particularly patriotic thing to do is serve better, more celebratory, drinks at your 4th of July picnic. At least I think it’d be patriotic, especially if you serve one of the following four tasty drinks (and I think everyone can agree that having a boring fourth fête is definitely un-patriotic).

American Punch: While this punch isn’t red, white and blue per se, it is ideal for summer and well-named for 4th of July parties. It’s highlighted by bourbon, too, which is swell, as bourbon may be the most American of liquors. This recipe is from Good Spirits: Recipes, Revelations, Refreshments, and Romance, Shaken and Stirred with a Twist.

Serves 8 to 10
Block of ice (or cracked ice)
1 750 milliliter bottle bourbon

10 ounces orange Curaçao (Pierre Ferrand is the way to go)
1 750 milliliter bottle brut Champagne
5 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
8 ounces simple syrup

1. Add the ice to a punch bowl (if using cracked ice, fill above the half-way point). Add the bourbon, Curaçao, lemon juice, and syrup. Using a long spoon, stir 50 times (plus once for Puerto Rico).
2. Add the Champagne. Stir briefly. Serve in punch glasses or wine glasses.

Admiral: A good thing to remember on the 4th of July is why we’re celebrating. I mean, I know it’s the birth of our country, but don’t forget the men and women who made it possible to live in this country and continue to watch over it even now. So, toast them with this recipe from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz:

Cracked ice
2 ounces gin (Ballard-made Big Gin would be good here)
1/2 ounce cherry Heering
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add the gin, cherry Heering, and lime juice. Shake well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Ward 8: One of the all-time classic political drinks, this number is a little strong and a little sweet, much like the political process in our country. These qualities also make it quite a hit for the 4th. The recipe’s from Party Drinks:

Ice cubes
2 ounces rye (Woodinville Whiskey Co. rye is a nice local choice here)
1 ounce simple syrup
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 ounce grenadine (if you can’t make your own, try Scrappy’s or Stirrings)
Orange slice for garnish, optional
Maraschino or Rainer cherry for garnish, optional

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes and no double talk. Add the rye, simple syrup, and lime juice. Shake well.
2. Add the grenadine to the shaker, and shake twice more.
3. Strain the mix into a goblet or other glass and garnish with the orange and cherry (if you want – remember, though, politicians get hungry).

All-American Mongrel: This delicious drink was printed up in Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz, but was created by one of finest local cocktail revolutionaries, Jim Romdall, the bar maestro at Vessel. You may have to work a bit to track down all the ingredients, but as our forefathers and foremothers proved, hard work delivers serious results.

Cracked ice
1-1/2 ounces blended Scotch (Jim suggests The Famous Grouse)
1/2 ounce Aperol
1/2 ounce bianco vermouth
1/4 ounce Nux Alpina walnut liqueur
Flamed orange peel, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the Scotch, Aperol, vermouth, and Nux Alpina. Stir well.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass. For flaming an orange peel for the garnish, you’ll want to be sure you have an oval-shaped twist about 1-1/2 inches long. First, light a match, holding it in one hand about 4 inches above the drink. With the other hand, hold the twist, peel side facing the drink, above the match. Twist the twist quickly, so that the oils shoot out, flaming as they pass through the flame into the drink.