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Dipsology -- Beyond the Basics: Raise a Toast for U.S.A.'s Birthday

Some new cocktail options to try as the nation celebrates reopening.

It is the 4th of July weekend, and in just about every corner of the country, we are back opened and somewhat back to normalcy. It is with dark irony, after a year of governmental shutdowns, that we are permitted once again to celebrate the liberty we are supposed to be granted as citizens.

So with this return to the celebratory side of life let’s get to some appropriate potable for the adventurous weekend. It is with the recognition that some supplies may not be fully acquired, so we will start out simply, and build our way to more involved fare.

Drink American

This is a bit more than basic patriotic signaling. The overall economy has languished, and for those entrepreneurs who weathered the year of truncated commerce, this is a desperately welcomed time of renewed business. So more than simply going with American products give just a little forethought on where you get supplies. Look for suds from some of your regional micro-brewers. If you have the choice between getting bottles from a larger box-store chain or a privately-owned liquor store, opt for the small guy who has less of a bankrolled cushion behind them. Think nationally, and buy locally.

Star Fruit (Credit: Wikicommons)

 

Make Every Cocktail a Star

While nabbing your cookout supplies head over to the produce section and look for some carambola. This South American native fruit is widely available, possibly at farmer’s markets. It has a light flavor that compliments a wide array of cocktails, with a taste that trends close to a pear with a slight citrusy element. The best however is what earns it the other name it is known as  — star fruit. Once sliced you’ll have a perfectly shaped star to garnish any of your glassware, making any drink instantly holiday-themed.

 

Make Firecracker Cocktails

This is a bit of a novelty, but if you want to augment your festivities with some unique fun this will be appreciated. Find yourself some Pop-Rocks candy to rim your cocktail glasses, delivering an active and audible component to your guests’ drinks. The trick is getting the candy on the glass without setting off the effects until it is time to consume. Instead of a wet medium, like a lemon wedge or lime dip, pour out a thin coat of honey or simple syrup on a plate, then dip the rim of your glass, and next dip it in the candy spread out on another plate. Pour the drink in front of your guest and that way they get to enjoy the explosive effects.

Pudding shots and Jell-O shots (Credit: Brad Slager)

 

 Jell-O Shots

These are a dependable crowd favorite, and you can find flavors in red and blue, adding a spray of whipped cream to complete the color theme. The basic recipe is to add a cup of boiling water to the powder until it dissolves. Allow it to cool slightly and then add 3/4 cup of your choice of liquor. While vodka is the go-to normally, you can get creative and mix other complimentary liquors. Try vodka with banana liquor in a strawberry mix, or a vanilla rum with a blueberry mixture.

Pudding Shots

Slightly more involved but even more experimental is this option. With instant pudding cut down the milk to 1.5 cups, and add one cup of liquor. Then when blending you need to add a tup of Cool Whip, to help it set. One option is to make strawberry pudding with vanilla vodka and Rum cream. Add whipped cream when serving and drizzle some blue curacao.

 

Flag Shooters

Your layering skills will be put to the test as tall shot glasses are used to separate blue curacao, cream liquor, and DeKuyper Watermelon Schnapps. You might want to have some fun practicing your pours the night prior.

 

Stars and Stripes Cocktail

Here is a sweet cocktail that is a red, white, and blue treat for the eyes. Start by making ice cubes in a tray. Before setting it in the freezer dribble some cream liquor in the water to create white cubes. In an Old Fashioned glass over the cubes pour a mixture of 2oz. Bailey’s Red Velvet with a dribble of maraschino cherry juice, or Grenadine (to deepen to red), then float blue curacao to separate the colors, with white ice cubes.

Happy Birthday, Murica!