Michael Maxwell – Partner, Blue Orbit Restaurant Consulting
Next to Christmas, the annual 4th of July celebration in my family is one of the happiest memories from my childhood. Every year we packed up the family and spent the entire day in Rockvale, Tennessee for a tournament of local baseball teams, music, grilled burgers, homemade peach ice cream, candy, bingo, and firecrackers. My mom dressed us in red, white and blue every year, all my cousins were there, I ran at the speed of light all day, and I crashed in the back seat of the car on the way home. Then I woke up the next day and started waiting for next year.
However, oddly enough, the two things that stand out the most in my memories and that I have carried forth with me into every July 4thcelebration are lemonade and pop rocks (not combined, of course). So, I thought I would share with you a couple of Independence Day cocktail recipes that sprung from those memories that you could consider throwing into your seasonal restaurant menu offerings this year.
Basil & Gin Lemonade Cocktail Recipe for July 4th
The first is Basil & Gin Lemonade. My three rules of July 4thare to be lazy, to lay by the lake and to keep pouring. This is a batched cocktail that makes about 1 gallon, so all you need is a glass, ice, and a pitcher beside your hammock.
To make the basil syrup:
- Firmly packed leaf basil 2 cups
- Sugar 2 cups
- Water 2 cups
Muddle the basil and sugar together in a sauce pan, pour in the water. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and allow to steep until the syrup is cool. Strain to remove the basil.
To finish off this cocktail recipe:
- Water 2 quarts
- Lemon Juice, fresh 3 cups
- Gin 2 cups
- St Germain 1 cup
Mix water, lemon juice, gin, St. Germain, and basil syrup together and chill in a pitcher. When ready to serve just pour over a glass of ice and garnish with a few basil leaves on the stem.
And now you ask, what about those pop rocks? Yes… there is nothing better than candy that is like a firecracker in your mouth. No greater joy than to sit silently, hold your mouth open and listen to candy going crazy. As if that isn’t enough, in this recipe, I combined pop rocks with Big Red Soda. It’s probably enough sugar to keep you from blinking till July 6th, but the Anejo tequila helps tone it down.
Spirit of 76 Pop Rocks Cocktail Recipe for July 4th
To make this concoction which I call the Spirit of 76 (also the year I graduated from high school), you need:
- Anejo Tequila 1.5 oz
- Big Red Soda 3 oz
- Grenadine .5 oz
- Blue Razz Pop Rocks
Wet the rim of a rocks glass and roll it in pop rocks. Fill the glass with ice. Pour in tequila, big red, and grenadine. Stir lightly.
Then you take that bright red cocktail with the blue rim, hold it with a white cocktail napkin, and sip that explosion as the fireworks go off in the sky above you. It’s a perfect way to end the day and probably crash in the back seat of the car.