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When friends and family gather today, celebrate your independence from humdrum drinks with colorful cocktails that sparkle just as much as the fireworks. (Phil Masturzo/Akron Beacon Journal/MCT)
A toast to the red, white and blue

By Lisa Abraham

Akron Beacon Journal


When friends and family gather today, celebrate your independence from humdrum drinks with colorful cocktails that sparkle just as much as the fireworks.

Hot weather and grilled foods call for icy cold libations. While beer and wine are always popular and appropriate, adding a drink or two that keep with the spirit of the holiday can increase the fun.

When putting together cocktails for the Fourth of July or any summer occasion, remember to keep them cool. Traditional holiday fare includes heavy grilled hamburgers and sausages, barbecued ribs, baked beans and potato salad. Beer is a good complement to these flavors, but cocktail sippers are best kept light to provide a counterbalance to the strong flavors of the food.

Use lemonade, juice, low-alcohol liqueurs, light wine and plenty of fruit to keep drinks refreshing. Let the colors of the day be your guide with red berry liqueurs and blue curaçao, an orange-flavored liqueur that gives drinks both a tropical flavor and festive color.

Here's a lineup of red, white and blue cocktails (and two nonalcoholic coolers) that are both light and festive for the day's celebrations.



Start to finish: 5 minutes

Servings: 2

1 1/2 cups ice

8 ounces lemonade

3/4 ounce raspberry or strawberry liqueur

Combine and serve cold.

(Recipe from www.yummly.com)



Start to finish: 5 minutes

Servings: 1

2 ounces vodka (New Amsterdam suggested)

1 ounce pineapple juice

1 ounce quality lemonade

Mint leaves, for garnish

Ice cubes

Shake ingredients very well with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a mint


(Recipe from New Amsterdam Vodka)



Start to finish: 5 minutes

Servings: 1

Ice cubes

2 measures (shots) gin

1/2 measure blue curaçao

1 red or blue cocktail cherry to decorate (optional)

Put the ice cubes into a cocktail shaker. Pour in the gin and blue curaçao. Shake well to mix.

Strain into a cocktail glass and carefully drop in a cocktail cherry, if using.

(Recipe from Bill Reavell, Neil Mersh and Peter Myers’ “The Ultimate Cocktail Book,”

Amazon, $13.83)



Start to finish: 5 minutes

Servings: 1

1 part bourbon (Jim Beam suggested)

1/2 part strawberry liqueur (DeKuyper suggested)

3 parts lemonade

1/2 part blue curaçao (DeKuyper suggested)

Build in order over crushed ice in a tall glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel on the rim.

(Recipe from Jim Beam Bourbon)



Start to finish: 4 hours (5 minutes)

Servings: 7

1 bottle dry white wine

1/2 cup triple sec

1/4 cup flavored vodka (citrus or berry flavored)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup simple syrup

3/4 cup blueberries

3/4 cup strawberries, hulled and sliced

3/4 cup raspberries

1/2 cup pineapple chunks

Combine all of the ingredients in a large ceramic or glass container and stir well. Cover and

refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Serve over ice.

(Recipe from Kim Haasarud’s “101 Sangrias and Pitcher Drinks,” Amazon, $11.97)



Start to finish: 5 minutes

Servings: 4

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Zest of 1/2 lemon

1 large pinch ground ginger

1 cup water

4 cups chilled sparkling water

In a blender, place the blueberries, lemon zest, ginger and water. Blend on high speed until

smooth, about 1 minute. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large pitcher.

Add the sparkling water, stir gently and serve.

(Recipe from Brian Preston-Campbell’s “Cool Waters: 50 Refreshing, Healthy Homemade

Thirst-Quenchers,” Amazon, $11.66)



Start to finish: 13 hours (25 minutes)

Servings: 6

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

Handful of mint sprigs, plus more for garnish

Juice of 4 large lemons

2 cups grapefruit juice

Crushed ice

8 ounces soda water

Put the sugar and water into a heavy-based saucepan and stir over a low heat until


Leave to cool. Crush the mint leaves and stir them into the syrup. Cover and leave to stand

for  about 12 hours, and then strain into a pitcher. Add the lemon and grapefruit juices to the

strained syrup and stir well.

Fill six old-fashioned glasses or tumblers with crushed ice and pour the cocktail into

the glasses.  Top each with soda water and decorate with mint sprigs.

(Recipe from Bill Reavell, Neil Mersh and Peter Myers’ “The Ultimate Cocktail Book,”

Amazon, $13.83)


©2013 Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

Visit the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) at www.ohio.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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