We are coming up on the Fourth of July and if you are an American or in the USA this means fireworks, cookouts, and drinks with friends. Some of you are content with the basics, no special flare needed, however there are a few of you who are willing to go that extra mile to make this an extra patriotic celebration. At least, that is, with the alcohol. This is where Monkey Brew U., the school that has all your alcohol needs, is presenting you with a Fourth of July, summer session edition.
Above all else you need three specific bottles in your repertoire. Now the thing I hate about all this mix drink recipes is that the average Joe doesn’t have mint leaves, orange bitters,and kumquats in mi cabinets. However, in order to have red, white and blue options you will want to have two mixers and one style of rum on hand: grenadine, Blue Curaçao (pronounce kyoo-ruh-sah-ow) , and Bacardi White Rum. From here you have many options and a add red, white and/or blue to any of your drinks.
The Bomb Pop
I’ve seen many variations of this drink, surprisingly a great deal of these have all the correct ingredients, but they just don’t layer them correctly. To me, what is the point of having a bomb pop drink if you aren’t going to show of the red, white and blue layers.
The best recipe I found is from MaleStandard.com,
- Your first step is to mix equal parts of Sprite or 7up with Sweet n Sour mix, lemon vodka or rum, and raspberry vodka. You’ll want the lemon and raspberry vodka/rum to equal one shot for each person you are pouring for (i.e. 4 people equals 2 full shots of lemon vodka/rum and 2 full shots of raspberry vodka).
- Pour the ingredients in a shaker with some ice to chill it, because no one likes a warm shot.
- Strain that mix into your glasses. Remember this is a shot so keep that in mind when making these, you want to be able to shoot these not have to gulp them.
- Now the layering begins… There are several options when layering, so choose whichever option is best for you. You can use a spoon, cherry, or just carefully wing it and pour it slowly into the glass. I feel a spoon is the easiest and most effective way to achieve the layered look. When using a spoon you’ll place the spoon into the vodka mix at an angle and slightly break the surface. Slowly pour the blue curacao allowing it to spill over the back of the spoon. You’ll start to see it layer over the existing “white” layer.
- Next you’ll add the grenadine by pouring it slowly into the shot. The best way to do this is to pour close to the edge of the glass to create a sort of waterfall effect down the inside of the glass. The consistency of the grenadine will force it to drop to the bottom of the glass.
I’ve seen various versions of this shot, most often they suggest that you can replace the fresh squeezed lemon juice with lemonade. If you are going to be making these all night this may be the easiest and best substitution. You can use the White Rum to make sure that your white section of the bomb pop comes through really well. The most difficult part of this drink is the layering, which means you may want to practice a little bit before you try to show off to everyone.
You can’t have backyard grilling and fireworks without beer. I’m serious it’s a law. Now some of you may be quick to grab those Anheuser-Busch, Bud and Bud-light red and blue bottles. They are decorative and what’s more than Anheuser-Busch? Well, truth be told a lot of things are – especially since they sold the company to a Belgian brewer. Instead, I challenge you to go out and buy from your local craft/micro-brew. These are small breweries are going bottle to bottle with the big brewing companies. Sometimes it may cost you a little more but the money is well spent because, between you and me – I got a little secret for you. These beers have flavor. Like real flavor, where you can saw eww this tastes like christmas fairy threw up in the bottle or good God they bottled perfection and hand delivered it to my mouth wrapped in a bow made of bacon.
In the end it is up to you to search out a beer style that you like (Porter/Stout, IPA, Brown Ale, Red Ale, Pale Ale, Bock, Marzen, Saison/Farmhouse Ale, etc.) truly the list goes on and on so if you’ve only been drinking American Lagers or Light Lagers you are missing out on a spectrum of flavor. Buy local, buy fresh, and savor the flavor.
Just like beer, wine has had a huge surge in the local development aspect. Sure we all know France and Nappa Valley wines are high quality wines, but that doesn’t mean all the other wines are bad. Truth be told, even some of the best wine critics will tell you that it all comes down to personal preference. Typically you can find a high quality wine within the $10-$25 range. My only bit of advice is to avoid Arbor Mist, anything that comes in gallon sized jugs and anything in a box. Choose the style you like, be it red, white, port, sangria, etc. and you are good to go. I had a great opportunity to check out a wine tasting that featured local wines from my hometown that I never knew about before.
I hope you have a great and wonderful Fourth of July celebration. Those of you in the USA, enjoy your day off and be safe out there. Which includes that whole not drinking and driving bit. Those of you outside the USA, while you may not be getting the day off, any excuse to grill out and enjoy a few drinks with friends and family is well worth the effort.