Thursday, 4 July 2013

4th of July

As you've probably realised, I'm never, knowingly one to pass up a cocktail making opportunity and whilst I am, in no way American, I feel that having celebrated it once before, in Chicago (12 years ago), I am entitled to join in the fun. So, 'hip hip hurrah', for American Independence Day or perhaps, 'whoop', would be more appropriate....

Anyway, I'm sure most readers will know (especially the Americans), that 4th July is the day when the United States of America celebrate the official publication of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain in 1776. British schools perhaps do not focus quite so greatly on this important historical event as our American counterparts, but most of us are aware of the social significance it holds and are more than happy to join in the jamboree. So, without further ado, light your sparklers, charge your shakers and let's have some fun (whoop).

First up is our red cocktail, which I have named the Franklin, after Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the US and the Committee of Five who drafted and presented the Declaration of Independence to Congress. I have to confess, I don't know if he had a preference for tequila and watermelon - that may be more Freewheelin' Franklin than Benjamin, but it's a refreshing drink all the same.To make the watermelon juice,  I blitzed the watermelon in the blender and then passed it through a sieve to make sure all the pips were out, but you could just as easily mash the lot through a sieve without blending if you don't have access to a food processor. To make the 2 oz of juice, required for the cocktail, I used about a cupful of cubed watermelon.


1 1/2 oz Sierra tequila resposado
1/2 oz Chase Elderflower liqueur
2 oz watermelon juice
1/2 oz lime
1/2 oz orange
orange zest

Add all of the ingredients to a shaker with plenty of ice
Shake hard for 20 seconds and then strain into tall glass, filled with ice
Garnish with a lime wheel

 African Red Butterfly Glasses by Toasted Glass

This 'white' in our next cocktail comes from white peach puree, which is easy enough to make, either with a blender or by squishing through a sieve. First though, you need to remove the peach skin, which is easily done by first scoring it with a knife and then blanching in boiling water for 1 minute before plunging it in cold. This should sufficiently loosen the skin to make it easy to peel off. Cut the peach in two and remove the stone before blending.

This cocktail is also named after another of the Founding Fathers, Thomas Jefferson, who also went on to be the President of the United States. Did he like gin? Who knows, but I like to think he would have enjoyed this.

 For this recipe, I also decided to try out my new Williams GB, Extra Dry Gin from the Chase Distillery. As with their original gin, it's not made from bought in grain spirit, but distilled from start to finish at their Herefordshire distillery. It's a more classic tasting gin than their original, which I find a little more akin to an Eau de Vie than a gin, it being made from apples, but this one is packed full of botanical flavours and I could particularly pick up on the cinnamon and citrus as well as the more obvious juniper.


2 oz Williams GB Extra Dry Gin
1 oz Chase Elderflower Liqueur
2 oz white peach puree
1/2 oz lime juice
2-3 mint leaves
Sprig of mint to garnish

Add all of the ingredients, apart from the garnish, to a shaker with ice.
Shake hard for 20 seconds and strain into an ice filled tall glass
Garnish with a sprig of mint

And finally, the 'blue' of the red, white and blue and patriotically named after John Adams, whom, if you didn't already know, I'm sure you could guess, is another of the Founding Fathers and he also went on to be a President of the United States. Bizarrely, both Jefferson and Adams died on the same day, July 4th, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence...


1 1/2 oz Flor de Cana Rum
1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1 oz blue curacao
1/2 oz simple syrup
1 1/2 oz lime juice

Add all of the ingredients to a shaker, with ice.
Shake hard for 20 seconds and strain into an ice filled hi ball glass

So there you have it, perfect, refreshing cocktails to make July 4th go with a bang, whether or not you are in the USA. Enjoy x

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