Best 4th of July Cocktails From Bars Across the U.S.
As spring starts its slow simmer into summer, a slew of warm-weather enjoyments—shorts, barbeques, and cocktails by the gallon—become customary. Cold-weather libations—dark, heavy, and warming—give way to lighter drinks that are frosted and fruit-filled.
It’s kick-back season, when watching the sun set by the pool takes on a heavenly purpose and March’s 150-crunches-a-day regime starts to make sense.
While we do not doubt the abilities of a classic cold beer when the humidity starts to feel like a personal attack, cold drinks with rum, vodka, and tequila have a special way of keeping the heat at bay.
On a day like the Fourth of July, it makes even more sense to swap a light beer for something a little splashier. It’s your chance to experiment with different flavors—hibiscus!—and ingredient combinations—ghost peppers and agave!—that only seem feasible at this most optimistic time of year.
Regardless of where you find yourself this July 4, something cool, crisp, and refreshing should be on the menu. Whether you’re traveling to an exotic locale or hosting a leisurely fête in your own backyard, these cocktail recipes, gleaned from bars across the country, will keep you and your friends in, well, a very festive spirit.
Read on for our cocktail starter pack, built for the Fourth of July.
Ancient City Cooler
From the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club in Ponte Vedre Beach, Florida
- 2 oz. St. Augustine Distillery Co. Florida Cane Vodka
- 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
- 1 oz. juice from blended fresh watermelon
- 1 oz. simple syrup
- 1 slice watermelon
Combine St. Augustine Distillery Co. Florida Cane Vodka, lemon juice, watermelon juice and simple syrup into shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Pour into glass with ice and garnish with fresh watermelon slice.
From the Cantina Rooftop in New York, New York
- 2 oz. Fidencio Mezcal Joven
- ¾ oz. chai tea infused Dolin Sweet Vermouth*
- 1 oz. fresh lime juice
- 1/2 oz. spicy agave**
- 3 dashes Angostura Bitters
- Fresh ginger
Muddle three fresh ginger slices and add all ingredients into a mixing glass. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain all contents into a rocks glass and garnish with a lime wheel.
* How to make the chai tea-infused Dolin Sweet Vermouth:
Place 4 bags of chai tea into a 750ml bottle Dolin Sweet Vermouth and let infused for 6 hours. Strain and keep refrigerated.
** How to make spicy Agave
Makes one-quart container (33 oz.)
15 dried cayenne peppers (brake them in small pieces)
3 dried ghost peppers (brake them in small pieces)
Fill a container with agave nectar (full)
Hazel Park & Parcel
From Mabel Gray in Detroit
- 2 oz. vodka
- ¾ oz. Aperol
- ¾ oz. fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
- ½ oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
- ½ oz. simple syrup
- 5-6 dashes of grapefruit bitters
Combine all ingredients into a shaker over ice. Shake and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
From Fort Defiance Bar in Brooklyn, New York
- 2 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin
- 1 oz. pineapple juice
- .75 oz. lime juice
- .75 oz. coriander-cassia syrup
- 2 oz. tonic
Shake then strain into a tiki mug or large highball glass over ice. Top with 2 oz. tonic. Garnish with pineapple spear.
From Nick’s Cove in Marshall, California
- 1 ¾ oz. Tapatio 110 tequila
- 1 ½ oz. lime juice
- ¾ oz. agave nectar
- 1/2 oz. Combier Orange Liqueur
- 1/3 dropper habanero shrub
Lightly shake all ingredients. Pour into glass rimmed with chili-smoked salt rim. Garnish with lime wheel.
Pearl’s Rum Punch
From Pearl’s in Brooklyn, New York
- 1.5 oz. Angostura White oak Rum
- 1.5 oz. watermelon juice
- ¾ oz. lime juice
- ¾ oz. Demerara Syrup
- ¾ oz. orange juice
- ¾ oz. Martinelli’s Apple Juice
- 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
Shake all ingredients and pour into glass over ice.
From El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo, Puerto Rico
- 6 chopped mint leaves
- 2 chopped strawberries
- 4 oz. lemonade
- 2 ½ oz. Pitorro Frutas Rum (strawberry flavor)
In the bottom of a glass, muddle chopped strawberries and mint leaves together. Stir in the lemonade and rum. Fill the glass with ice. Garnish with mint sprigs or strawberry slices as desired.
Stillhouse Coconut Delight
From Stillwater Spirits & Sounds in Dana Point, California
- 1.5 oz. Stillhouse Coconut Whiskey
- 1 lime squeezed
- 1 oz. simple syrup
- 1.5 oz. house made coconut milk
Add all ingredients in a Collins glass, shake and pour over ice, garnish with lime wheel.
From JSix Bar & Restaurant in San Diego, California
- 1 oz. Bacardi Silver
- 1 oz. Appleton Rum
- 0.5 oz. lemon juice
- 0.5 oz. pineapple juice
- 0.5 oz. root beer
Combine Bacardi Silver, Appleton Rum, lemon and pineapple juice in a shaker with ice, and shake well. Strain into a tulip glass filled 3/4 of the way with crushed ice.