Best July 4th Drinks

By Justine Sterling Posted June 28, 2012
Aperol Spritz

Courtesy of Aperol

America’s favorite day for grilling and fireworks is also one of F&W editors’ favorite days for drinking. Icy mint juleps and citrusy Txakoli wine are on their list of what to drink for the Fourth.

Michelada “I know it's a Mexican drink, not from the U.S.A. BUT it's like a really fun version of a bloody mary—which is American! It's tomato juice spiked with lime juice, hot sauce and a little Simple Syrup or another sweetener, plus seasonings like Worcestershire sauce. Then you add beer to the top of the glass and you keep adding more beer so it constantly stays refreshed. And it's all over cool NYC drinks lists. They serve an awesome one at Empellon; they also have one at my new favorite place Mission Chinese Food, where they make it with smoked clam juice. It's my go-to drink right now.” —Kate Krader, Restaurant Editor and Editor of Food & Wine Cocktails 2012

Frizzante Wine “This week the F&W Test Kitchen tried out a recipe with grilled shrimp and I've been planning to make some 4th of July grilled shrimp tacos—with avocado, cilantro, radishes and lime—ever since. With these citrus-spritzed tacos, I'll pour a vibrant, frizzante wine that mimics the acidity of the lime. I'll probably grab a Txakoli from northern Spain, like the 2011 bottling from Ameztoi (its rosé Txakoli is also excellent) or a Vinho Verde from Portugal, like the super affordable 2011 Broadbent.” —Megan Krigbaum, Associate Wine Editor

Mint Julep “I'll be outdoors, grilling with a mint julep nearby. The julep is ideal for the Fourth for a few reasons: It's very American, it's a tasty classic cocktail and, most importantly, each sip means sticking your nose into a minty, frosty cup of crushed ice. When wine and beer are turning lukewarm in the heat, the worst that's happening to a julep is dilution—which you can fight by using overproof bourbon (like barrel-strength Booker's).” —Lawrence Marcus, Senior Digital Editor

Aperol Spritz “I’ve finally mastered shucking oysters, so I’ll be dishing out Beausoleils—tiny, beautifully briny oysters from New Brunswick—with sparkling, bitter Aperol Sprtizes made with oyster-friendly (and affordable) Prosecco, seltzer and Aperol, an Italian liqueur made with bitter orange, rhubarb and cinchona (the bark that gives tonic water that terrific tang). The spritz is an ideal summertime drink: not crazy high in alcohol (Aperol comes in at only 11%), a lovely orange-red hue and so easy to make.” —Justine Sterling, Assistant Digital Editor

Paloma "Like Kate, my summertime drink of choice hails from Mexico, with a detour in New York's East Village. Bartender and Mexican spirit guru Phil Ward makes a fantastic cocktail at the bar Mayahuel called a Smoked Palomino, combining earthy-smoky Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal, nutty Amontillado Sherry and the tart-chilling elements of grapefruit juice and ice. I sip these at home on hot days, but since mingling outdoors in the heat increases one's rate of cocktail consumption, I'm opting for one of Ward's recipes that's a bit lighter and even more refreshing. The Paloma offers the citrusy-sweetness of grapefruit, with bracing tequila and cold, fizzy club soda. Since I love mezcal's smoke with BBQ, I may add a splash of that as well." —Alex Vallis, Digital Features Editor

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