American holidays—specifically, Independence Day—mean a lot to me.
You see, I’m a first-generation immigrant: I became a citizen of the United States seven years after I moved here from Asia at age 25. And the road to citizenship was long—quite possibly the most difficult endeavor I ever tasked myself with.
So every year, when July Fourth comes around, I celebrate with gusto because it reminds me of everything and everyone who helped get me here. It truly took a village (and an excellent immigration lawyer) for me to find my footing. And for that, I am grateful.
As always, I’ll be toasting with all-American cocktails made with all-American spirits…the way God intended. Here are 15 superb patriotic potions, should you choose to do the same—which I highly recommend.
15 Easy-to-Make, All-American Cocktails for the Fourth of July
THE PEACH BUM COCKTAIL
“Summertime is usually pretty busy, which is why we at Misunderstood like to keep our cocktails nice and easy! This refreshing cocktail is perfect to beat the heat and simple to batch for all those Fourth of July festivities. Enjoy!” —JD Recobs, cofounder of Misunderstood Whiskey
1.5 oz. Misunderstood Ginger Spiced Whiskey
½ oz. peach liqueur
4 oz. sweet tea
2 mint leaves
Squeeze of fresh lemon
Method: Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake briefly and strain the cocktail in a glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a lemon wheel and/or fresh mint bouquet. Enjoy!
“It’s really simple, easy to make, kind of hands-on with your Fourth of July guests, makes a great display as you can see.” —Oliver Griffen, assistant beverage manager at Keeneland Hospitality (Lexington, KY)
1.25 oz. Buffalo Trace bourbon
2.5 oz. lemonade
1 tbsp. all-natural raspberry fruit preserves
Fresh mint, raspberry and lemon wedge (for garnish)
Method: Fill an 8-ounce Mason jar with ice. Add in Buffalo Trace bourbon, lemonade, and raspberry preserves. Screw the lid onto the mason jar and shake well. Garnish with mint, raspberry, and lemon. Enjoy!
“Whiskey and cola is the quintessential American summer drink, because it is simple to make and is a refreshing sipper. Carbonated cocktails are delicious and you see growth in the category. The whiskey and cola, in particular, gives you some agency to choose the right kind of whiskey for your palate. And the Fever-Tree Distillers Cola lets the base spirit shine. It really complements oak-aged spirits with its beautifully balanced palate. You get the cravable kola nut combined with vanilla and baking spices like cinnamon. It is not artificially sweetened and not syrupy so it is a perfect partner in a one-and-one cocktail.” —Lynette Marrero, cofounder at Speed Rack and bar director at Llama Inn and Llama San
3 parts Fever-Tree Distillers Cola
1 part bourbon whiskey
Curl of lemon rind, garnish
Method: In a highball glass filled to the brim with fresh ice, pour in the bourbon before topping with chilled Fever-Tree Distillers Cola. Using a knife or a potato peeler, curl a rind of a lemon and twist over the glass before placing it in the glass. Give a gentle stir and enjoy.
“Celebrate American independence with the spirit of the Golden State, Argonaut California Brandy. The bold aromatics of distilled California wine varietals are further expressed by the masterfully blended balance of 86-proof brandy. The rich flavors of ripe apple and golden honey add depth and complexity to this refreshing cocktail. During the era of Colonial Tavern America, saloons offered brave imbibers brandy, comfort, and entertainment. Enjoy this cocktail with loved ones and in recognition of our pioneering predecessors.” —Reza Esmaili, senior brand ambassador at E. & J. Gallo Winery
1.5 oz. Argonaut Speculator brandy
0.5 oz. apple brandy or applejack
0.75 oz. lemon juice
0.5 oz. honey syrup (2:1)
Angostura bitters, dash
Method: Measure all ingredients and pour into mixing glass with ice. Shake vigorously and double strain over a double rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with express oils from lemon twist and discard. Add lemon wheel.
THE SWEET + SPICY
“I love this recipe because it is not only refreshing for summer days, but it is a true crowd pleaser as well. The sweetness of the strawberries is balanced with the spice from the jalapeño and Barritt’s ginger beer. All of the flavors pair perfectly with Four Roses Small Batch with its natural palate of summer fruit, cherries, caramel, and rye spice.”—Celeste Dittamo, founder at Whistle and Tins Mobile Bar
1 ½ oz. Four Roses Small Batch
6 slices of strawberries
2–3 slices jalapeño (remove seeds for less spice)
½ oz. lime juice
3 oz. Barritt’s ginger beer
Spicy BBQ rub, garnish
Method: Use lime to wet half the rim of a Collins glass, then dip rim in spicy BBQ seasoning (or rub). Squeeze a quarter of the lime into the glass. Add sliced strawberries, 2 to 3 sliced jalapeños, and muddle. Add Four Roses Small Batch, ice, and a small pour of ginger beer, then give a quick stir. Add more ice and top with ginger beer. Garnish with jalapeño slices and lime wheel (strawberry slice optional). Note: When choosing a rub, look for peppers and sugar in the ingredients and opt for one with thicker granules for the best, most flavorful rim. For less fruit chunks, shake ingredients in an ice- filled shaker, then strain over fresh ice.
“What better way to celebrate the American landscape than by using seasonal, local ingredients this Fourth of July? The Timber Rattlesnake, while a take on an original cocktail from the famous Savoy hotel in London, incorporates local honey to give you a taste of your agricultural landscape. (A timber rattlesnake is an endangered species of rattlesnake found in Vermont.) This drink is a play on the classic Rattlesnake Cocktail (circa 1930 by Ada Coleman and/or Harry Craddock) at the Savoy. They were known to say, ‘This cocktail will either cure a rattlesnake bite, kill a rattlesnake, or make you see them.’” —Sam Nelis, head bartender at Barr Hill Distillery (Montpelier, Vermont)
2 oz. Tom Cat gin
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
0.75 oz. honey syrup
1 bar spoon absinthe
1 egg white
Angostura bitters, garnish
2 sprays absinthe, garnish
Method: Dry shake; shake with ice. Double strain into a coupe. Garnish with Angostura bitters and Absinthe.
THE STONE FENCE
“The Stone Fence cocktail is one with roots in the Revolutionary War, as it is said to be the libation which fueled the takeover of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775. This version uses a hard cider to give some effervescence, Kentucky-made bitters, and of course, Old Forester bourbon.” —Jackie Zykan, master taster at Old Forester
1.5 oz. Old Forester 86 Proof
3 drops Old Forester Bohemian Bitters
4 oz. hard apple cider
Method: Combine all ingredients in Collins glass over ice. Garnish with lemon peel.
PENNY LANE MINT JULEP
“The Penny Lane Mint Julep is the perfect summer cocktail because of how light and refreshing it tastes. We combine Penelope bourbon with Natalie’s strawberry lemonade to bring familiar summer flavors to the forefront of each sip. Whether you’re into bourbon or not, this is a must-pour cocktail for everyone this Fourth of July!” —Michael Paladini, founder at Penelope Bourbon
1.5 oz. Penelope bourbon
3 oz. Natalie’s strawberry lemonade
1 oz. simple syrup
3–4 chopped fresh mint leaves
Lemon slices, for garnish
Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish
Method: In an old fashioned glass or julep cup, muddle the strawberry and mint leaves with simple syrup. Top with ice. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice combine strawberry lemonade and bourbon. Shake until well chilled. Pour into glass. Garnish with lemon slices and fresh sprigs of mint.
SAGAMORE FROZEN BLOOD ORANGE SOUTHSIDE
“We call this refreshing cocktail a Sagamore Snowball—paying homage to Sagamore Spirit’s Maryland roots. Refreshing and perfect for a hot summer day, the easy-to-make drink is made with just two simple ingredients: a pour of Sagamore Spirit’s rye whiskey and equal parts of blood orange southside from Baltimore-based CAnE Collective over a ball of crushed ice. Pro tip: Buy a speed pourer to add to the top of the bottles and impress your friends with a pour worthy of top mixologists.” —Marcus Stephens, executive vice president at Sagamore Spirit
1.5 oz. of Sagamore Spirit Signature Rye Whiskey
Plenty of crushed ice
Method: Scoop your desired amount of crushed ice into a glass. Pour 1.5 ounces blood orange southside mixer. Top with 1.5 ounces of Sagamore signature rye whiskey.
KNOB CREEK PORCH STORIES
“Porch Stories is a seasonal take on the traditional old fashioned—perfect for sipping on a porch on a hot summer holiday like July Fourth. I like this drink because Knob Creek rye has a great balance of spice from the rye and richness from the corn in its mashbill. And that really complements the slightly bittersweet black tea honey syrup and the fruitiness of the peach bitters. It makes for a stellar refreshing sip.” —Jake Powell, bartender at Death & Co. (Denver, CO)
½ part black tea honey syrup**
2 dashes peach bitters
**Black Tea Honey Syrup: Brew black tea ‘concentrate’ by using one tea bag for every 2 ounces of hot water. Combine the strong tea with an equal amount of honey and stir to incorporate.
Directions: Combine ingredients in rocks glass and stir over ice. Express a lemon twist over the drink and insert for garnish.
“With this cocktail our goal was to incorporate some popular summer flavors like pineapple and citrus into one light and refreshing Collins-style drink. A perfect pairing for this year’s Fourth of July festivities, the rye brings out the sweetness from the pineapple and tartness from the lime and yuzu. High West’s Koji Collins is without a doubt a great accompaniment to any outdoor BBQ or picnic this fourth.” —Steve Walton, beverage director at High West
1.5 oz. High West Rendezvous Rye 2021
0.5 oz. pineapple rum
0.25 oz. Amaro Montenegro
0.75 oz. miso syrup
0.75 oz. lime juice
Bar spoon yuzu
Mint sprig, garnish
Chinese five spice, garnish
Method: Add all ingredients except soda water to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until chilled. Double strain into a Collins glass with ice and top with soda water. Garnish with a mint sprig.
“I came up with this drink when I once ordered a half-and-half with Fishers Island Lemonade from a bartender—expecting FIL and iced tee—but was handed a half-Fishers, half-beer shandy instead. It was a happy accident. After that, I began experimenting with different beer styles and found that a wheat beer, sour, session IPA, or light lager can be the best pairings. You can take it to a hoppy or fruity place, and it’s so refreshing! Now it’s become one of my team’s favorite ways to share a Fishers Island Lemonade—or to offer something different at a restaurant or bar.” —Bronya Shillo, founder at Fishers Island Lemonade and former bartender at The Pequot Inn (Fishers Island, NY)
6 oz. Fishers Island Lemonade (half a can)
6 oz. beer (wheat beer, sour, session IPA, or light lager)
Lemon wheel, garnish
Method: Combine ingredients in a pint glass and garnish. Enjoy!
IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY
“I choose to use Wheatley Vodka in my cocktails because it is the best-made American vodka on the market today in its price category. As most people know, Buffalo Trace Distillery produces the finest bourbons on the planet right here in Kentucky. They use the same quality ingredients to make this all-American vodka, which is distilled a ridiculous ten times.”—Jason Curtsinger, general manager at Belle’s Cocktail House (Lexington, KY)
2 oz. Wheatley Vodka
0.75 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice
0.75 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
0.5 oz. Cocchi Americano
2 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters
Method: Combine all ingredients in a shaker. Add ice. Shake and strain over fresh ice in a large distiller’s glass. Squeeze oils from orange peel into the drink, rub on the rim of the glass and drop into the drink.
“Nothing says independence like a locked and loaded flask filled with our award-winning Corsets, Whips, & Whiskey infused with Bilberry Black Hearts gin, blackberries, and ginger. It’s ready to take on backroads or backyard adventures. We celebrate and honor those that blazed new trails before us, by making new history and adding to the story of America. United we Whiskey!” —Bill Welter, founder of Journeyman Distillery
2.5 oz. Journeyman Corsets, Whips, and Whiskey
1.25 oz. Journeyman Bilberry Black Hearts Gin
1 tbsp chopped ginger
½ sprig rosemary
1 tbsp raw sugar
Method: Combine whiskey, gin, blackberries, and chopped ginger in a mason jar and let macerate overnight. The next day, remove the fruit and ginger from the jar, and add them to a saucepan with 2 ounces water, raw sugar, and ½ sprig of rosemary. Bring to a boil and then cut the heat. Combine the infused spirits with the syrup and let cool. Remove the solids and strain the liquid through a filter. Fill your flask and let the adventures begin!
DEVILS RIVER WILDBERRY LEMONADE
“Born from the wild and free-flowing waters of the Devils River in southwest Texas, Devils River Whiskey is a small-batch bourbon that shows up big in support of wild rivers across America, which includes the Devils River Conservancy. Add some blackberry simple syrup made with summer berries and fresh lemon juice, and you have the perfect cocktail to celebrate and stay wild this Independence Day.” —Matt Dyer, Vice President of Commercial Strategy & Business Intelligence, Devils River Distillery
1 oz. Devils River Bourbon Whiskey
1 oz. lemon juice
¾ oz. blackberry simple syrup
Method: Add Devils River Bourbon Whiskey, lemon juice, and blackberry simple syrup into a shaker and shake. In a rocks glass, add ice, fresh berries (the wilder the better), and a lemon slice. Strain cocktail into glass and top with a splash of tonic water.