The 4th of July conjures up images of backyard barbecues, apple pie, and fireworks.
Of course, cocktails are always appreciated as well on this most American of holidays. From vodka to rum, gin to whiskey, we found some great spirits to help you celebrate your Fourth in style. Here are some of our favorite spirits and some easy drink ideas; after all, no one wants to play bartender on Independence Day.
Spirit of America Handcrafted Bourbon Whiskey
With a red, white, and blue eagle on the bottle, you know this is as patriotic a bourbon as you can find. Surprisingly, this one doesn’t originate from Kentucky, instead being sourced from Midwest Grain Products in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. It’s then bottled by Hobson & Roberts in Indianapolis. This two-year old bourbon is no slouch though, packing a firm 86 proof punch. Freedom isn’t free, but with Spirit of America it can be surprisingly affordable.
Pour this on the rocks or with your favorite mixer and you’ve got a drink fit for ‘Merica on our national holiday.
Aviation American Gin
First we beat the British in the Revolutionary War, and now the Americans are giving the Brits all they can handle in the gin wars. While the British and Dutch are the historical homes of gin and genever, respectively, American upstarts like House Spirits Distillery have created new, American-style of gins. Aviation was one of the first to introduce people to this new idea of gin, and it remains an American classic.
Drink Suggestion: Gin & Tonic
- 2 oz. Aviation Gin
- 2 oz. Tonic Water (We Recommend Fever Tree)
- Squeeze of Lime
Preparation: Add gin to an ice-filled collins glass. Squeeze lime. Top with tonic water. stir to combine. Garnish with lime wedge if desired.
Bacardi Superior Rum
Wait, isn’t Bacardi Cuban? The short answer is yes, but like many Cubans, the Bacardi family fled Cuba when Castro took over. Now, most of the family lives in Florida, and the distillery is in Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States. Bacardi Superior is a versatile mixer our preferred way to drink Bacardi Rum on the Fourth is in a Cuba Libre. With a history dating back to the Spanish-Amercian War and later enjoyed by Americans visiting Cuba to avoid Prohibition, this is a simple drink that provides great flavor and a bit of history.
Drink Suggestion: Cuba Libre
- 2 oz. Bacardi Superior Rum
- Coca Cola, to Top (Preferably Mexican Coke Made with Sugar, not HFCS)
- Squeeze of Lime
Preparation: Add Bacardi to an ice-filled collins glass. Squeeze lime. Top with Coca Cola.
Laird’s Apple Brandy
Laird’s has been producing apple brandy and applejack (apple brandy mixed with neutral spirits) longer than anyone else in America. We particularly enjoy Laird’s Straight Old Apple Brandy offering, which contains about sixteen pounds of apples per bottle. The Applejack Rabbit from Jim Meehan’s PDT Cocktail Book is a quick and easy way to serve up a sophisticated cocktail for the holiday.
Drink Suggestion: Applejack Rabbit
Courtesy of Jim Meehan, PDT Cocktail Book
- 2 oz. Laird’s Straight Old Apple Brandy
- 3/4 oz. Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
- 3/4 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
- 1/2 oz. Maple Syrup (Meehan recommends Deep Mountain Grade B Syrup)
Preparation: Add all ingredients to a shaker, fill with ice, shake well for about 15 seconds and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon
While Founding Father Ben Franklin didn’t push for the turkey over the bald eagle as America’s national symbol, he did write about the bravery of the wild turkey. Wild Turkey 101 bourbon epitomizes the frontier spirit of earlier times, and Master Distiller Jimmy Russell has been bold and uncompromising in his quest to make the best bourbon whiskey possible. We enjoy Wild Turkey 101 in an Old Fashioned. While we appreciate both versions of the Old Fashioned, we’ll go with the version with muddled fruit and club soda this 4th.
Drink Suggestion: Muddled Old Fashioned
- 2 oz. Wild Turkey 101
- 1 Sugar Cube
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
- Soda, to Top
- 2 Maraschino Cherries
- 2 Orange Wheels
Preparation: Muddle one sugar cube along with two dashes of Angostura bitters, one maraschino cherry, and one orange wheel in the bottom of a double rocks glass. Add 2 oz. of Wild Turkey 101 bourbon, add ice, and top with club soda. Garnish with a cherry and orange wheel and enjoy.
Nelson’s Green Brier Tennessee White Whiskey
While there has been an explosion in craft distilleries, none have the provenance that Nelson’s Green Brier does. In 1885, the three largest producers of Tennessee whiskey were Jack Daniel’s, Cascade (George Dickel) and Nelson’s Green Brier. While Prohibition ended the original Nelson’s Green Brier, in 2009, Nelson’s triple great-grandsons reopened Green Brier and began producing the legendary whiskey again. This white whiskey uses a 100 year old recipe and is single distilled to capture as much flavor as possible. We enjoy it in a refreshing Whiskey Sour. If your preference runs to Jack or Dickel, both will taste excellent here as well.
Drink Suggestion: Whiskey Sour
- 2 oz. Nelson’s Green Brier Tennessee White Whiskey
- 1 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 oz. Simple Syrup
- Maraschino Cherry, for Garnish
- Lemon Wedge, for Garnish
Preparation: Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a cherry and lemon wedge.