Most years, the 4th of July at our house is a big hullabaloo. Few things inspire the hostess in me like patriotism and sparklers. We invite family and friends to celebrate and Calvin wakes at 5AM to start his famous brisket. While listening to a playlist of patriotic ballads and Sturgill Simpson, he obsesses about this brisket - monitoring grill temperature and wood chip dampness like some sort of mad meat scientist. I start the day by readying sun tea and getting a large pan of lemon bars in the oven. Bar set up is our last task before guests arrive - peeling citrus, chilling mixers, and preparing perfect cocktail ice. When dusk falls and everyone is full of food and drink, we break out the sparklers, watching the lawn for fireflies and the skies for the first signs of fireworks. It's one of my favorite days of the year.
Image Above: Our home whiskey bar
This year Independence Day will look a little different without large gatherings of community, family, and friends. In the spirit of hostessing at a distance, I thought I would switch gears on the blog this week and share some of our favorite summer cocktail recipes, perfect for a 4th of July in quarantine. Nothing hits the spot like a great cocktail on a balmy Southern Saturday.
Blood Orange Paloma
The Blood Orange Paloma recipe is adapted from our go-to mixology book, Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails, named for the Manhattan craft cocktail bar where many of the recipes originated. From basic to complex, this book has you covered. It also offers lots of sage advice on how to stock an excellent home bar. We serve this beautiful pink libation on the rocks in a high ball glass with a salted rim, metal straw, and lime garnish. I love it paired with spicy or fatty foods.
Image Above: High Ball Glass from Libbey Province Collection, Hemstitch Linen Cocktail Napkin from Pottery Barn
Blood Orange Paloma Recipe
(Makes 1 Drink)
2 Oz Good Quality Tequila
1/2 Oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice
San Pellegrino Blood Orange Soda
1 Lime Wheel
Rim a highball glass with kosher salt. Squeeze the lime into a shaker and drop it in. Add tequila, grapefruit juice, and shake with ice. Strain into the glass, filled with ice cubes, and top with the Blood Orange Soda. Garnish with a lime wheel and serve with a straw.
Victorian Gin Punch
Nothing says Americana like a lemonade based cocktail on the 4th of July. We found this recipe online at NYT Cooking and adapted it a little bit. It is the perfect drink for front porch sipping and waving to the neighbors. I love the way it pairs with these cocktail napkins from Lettermade. This version of the recipe makes 4 generous drinks. Double or triple the recipe for larger parties.
Victorian Gin Punch Recipe
1/4 Cup Sugar
250 mL Gin
1.5 Oz Orange Liqueur
1/3 L Seltzer, Chilled
Use a vegetable peeler to peel long strips of pith free skin from the lemon. Place peels in a bowl, add sugar, muddle, and allow to sit for 2-3 hours. Juice the lemon to obtain 1/4 Cup lemon juice. Pour the lemon juice over the peels and stir to dissolve the sugar. Transfer to a pitcher half filled with ice. Add gin, liqueur, and seltzer. Stir, pour into coupes, and serve.
The Painkiller Slushie
A Savannah visit is never complete without a visit to The Wyld, by land or by sea. They serve up fantastic versions of Southern favorites like insanely good collard greens, shrimp and corn fritters, perfectly fried catfish, and crispy okra that puts every French fry you've ever eaten to shame. (Their French fries are delicious too.)
Image Above: Calvin, anxiously awaiting his food at The Wyld.
They are currently serving one of my new favorite Summer sides - watermelon sprinkled with lime juice, basil, and good quality sea salt. I was skeptical of the combination until I tasted it. Now I can't make it enough!
Image Above: Watermelon Snack
Our Painkiller Slushie obsession started on our last trip to The Wyld. As soon as we arrived home from our getaway, Calvin got to work experimenting with his own version. We serve it in these custom ceramic pieces commissioned from local artist, Darin R. Gehrke - our vessel of choice for tasteful Tiki.
Image Above: Darin R. Gehrke Ceramics, Homemade Rifle Paper Co. Cocktail Napkin
Painkiller Slushie Recipe
4 Oz Pineapple Juice
2 Oz Jamaican Rum
1 Oz Orange Juice
1 Oz Cream of Coconut
2 Cups of Ice
Pineapple Wedge for Garnish
Nutmeg for Garnish
Add pineapple juice, rum, orange juice, cream of coconut, and ice to blender and blend until consistent. Pour into Tiki glass of your choice and garnish with a pineapple wedge and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Serve with a straw. (Note: Calvin likes this recipe as is, but I like to add a 0.5 Oz rum float to the top before garnishing and serving. When it comes to rum, I say the more the merrier.)
Calvin's 4th of July Old Fashioned
You can't go wrong with good bourbon in a classic concoction. I try this drink everywhere we go and Calvin's version is still my favorite. I'm no mixologist but, in my opinion, if you are muddling something to make an Old Fashioned you are doing it wrong. This recipe is great with any number of good bourbons but Eagle Rare felt like the patriotic selection for this particular holiday.
Image Above: Single old-fashioned glass from Williams Sonoma's Dorset Crystal Collection, Vintage Cocktail Napkin
Calvin's 4th of July Old Fashioned Recipe
2 Oz Eagle Rare Kentucky Bourbon
1/4 Oz Demerara Syrup (Simple syrup made with Turbinado or
Demerara Sugar in a 2:1 sugar to water ratio.)
2 Dashes Orange Bitters
4 Dashes Angostura Bitters
Orange Peel for Garnish
Combine bitters, bourbon, and syrup in a mixing glass over ice. Stir until well mixed and desired dilution is reached. Pour over single large ice cube in single old-fashioned glass. Express oil from a strip of orange peel over glass and garnish to serve.
Finally, if liquor isn't your thing, you can't go wrong with a great bottle of Rosé in the Summer. We picked two of our favorite American options to feature here - cue "Born in the USA." The first is this Sonoma Valley Rosé, produced by Hamel Family Wines. We have it stockpiled in the cellar. It is a beautiful peachy color in the glass and crisp on the tongue. We came across this winery during our tour of Sonoma last Summer and had a truly spectacular experience touring the grounds and caves. Their wines are not widely distributed and are mostly sampled through a membership to their wine club or a visit to our house if you're in the this neck of the woods.
Image Above: Hamel Family Wines 2018 Rosé
Our budget friendly suggestion is a Washington State Rosé from Renegade Wine Co. We get it at our favorite Greenville wine shop, Northampton Wine + Dine. We serve Renegade Rosé at all of our big Summer parties and it's a huge crowd pleaser. It's also the perfect picnic wine.
Image Above: Renegade Wine Co 2018 Rosé, H. Goose Sporting Blanket (Made in the American South)
We hope these recipes and suggestions will provide inspiration and add some festive flair to your celebration this weekend. Happy 4th of July! And, cheers!