Alright let’s be real, the official drink of July 4th is beer — preferably consumed while barbecuing ribs, leading a “U-S-A!” chant, and firing off a Roman Candle.
If you opt for hard liquor, whiskey is the obvious choice. Especially if it’s made in this country in small batches. This week, in honor of American excess, we’ve got four craft cocktails instead of one. Each is based around a different brand of bourbon and is perfect for toasting the rocket’s red glare.
by Chef Ferrel Dugas of Commander’s Palace (New Orleans, LA)
1 ½ oz. Benchmark Bourbon
½ oz. praline liqueur
1 oz. sour mix
1 ½ sticks of muddled thyme
Top off with Champagne
Muddle the thyme. Add the first four ingredients into a shaker, along with ice. Shake and double strain into a coupe glass. Top with champagne. Garnish with a spring of fresh thyme.
By Derek Mercer of Spiaggia (Chicago, IL)
2 oz Bulleit Bourbon
1 oz ginger-cardamom syrup (see recipe below)
1/2 oz lime juice
1 dash of Scrappy’s cardamom bitters
Splash of soda
1/2 of a lemon peel-with a peeler. Start from one end of the lemon and peel all the way around until half of the lemon is peeled.
Combine bourbon, ginger-cardamom syrup, lime juice, and bitters with ice in a shaker. Shake. Add a splash of soda to the shaker and swirl to combine all ingredients. Taste and adjust if necessary. Strain into a Collins glass with ice. Express lemon oil over drink and around rim. Garnish with lemon peel in the Horse’s Neck style. Serve.
Ginger-Cardamom Syrup Recipe
4 cups of simple syrup (1:1)
1 cup of peeled and sliced ginger
5 fresh bay leaves
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
6 limes, zested
Combine 2 cups simple syrup, ginger, bay leaves, and cardamom in a blender. Blend for 10-20 seconds. Add the rest of the simple syrup and in a pot, lightly simmer over medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and add in lime zests. Steep and let cool to room temperature. Fine strain. Label. Date. Refrigerate.
Don’t feel like battling Fourth of July traffic? If you live in the Chicago area you can have this drink delivered to you at home.
Stars and Stripes
By Mixologist Gary Hayward of Embers Ski Lodge (Nashville, TN)
“The U.S. palate is famous for its appreciation of big flavors. I wanted to combine some of the most popular flavors of the last three years — chai, vanilla, orange– and (obviously) whiskey!”
1.5 oz Angel’s Envy bourbon
.25 oz Martini & Rossi Bianco Vermouth
.5 oz egg white
3 oz Stars and Stripes syrup*
1 orange peel
.5 oz port
Combine bourbon, vermouth, egg white, and syrup into a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Use an eyedropper to collect and “drag” port across the frothy layer of the cocktail, creating “stripes”. We use a small star-shaped cookie cutter to create the orange peel garnish. Salute and enjoy!
*Stars and Stripes syrup
.5 L water
.5 L white sugar
2 oranges, zested
2 limes, zested
2 chai tea bags
1 earl grey tea bag
Zest fruit and combine all ingredients. Leave to rest for one hour and strain syrup into a container. Makes one liter which can saved and be used for approximately 11 drinks.
St. Regis Smash
2 oz. Breckenridge Bourbon
½ oz. Disaronno Amaretto Liqueur
2 dashes Peach bitters
7 mint leaves
Fresh sour mix (1:1 ratio sugar to lemon and lime)
Peach with maple sugar pinch, strawberry, sprig of mint
In an Old Fashioned glass muddle mint leaves and Amaretto Liqueur. Fill the same Old Fashioned glass with crushed ice. In a mixing glass, add bourbon, peach bitters and homemade sour. Shake with ice. Strain into the Old Fashioned glass, then stir. Garnish with peach slices, strawberry, and mint sprig. Add maple sugar on top of the peach slices for extra flavor.
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