12 summery 4th of July cocktails

We’ve all been there—it’s the 4th of July and you’re out in the sweltering heat in a full-body state of sticky. All you want is the first sip of a cold cocktail and a blast of A.C. While you probably have a cooler filled with cans of beer and hard seltzer at your July 4th festivities, sometimes an easy, but ever-so-slightly-put-together cocktail makes the holiday feel a little fancier.

In between sips of margaritas and micheladas, swap in a big glass of ice water or sip on a lower-ABV drink. Read on for 12 delicious and firework-worthy cocktails to sip all-day this 4th of July.

1. The Desert Bird

“This recipe is from the Esquire Tavern in San Antonio, home of Texas’s longest bar counter (it’s over 100-feet long!), with some tweaks” writes recipe developer Nikkitha Bakshani. A mix of agave-based spirit, pineapple, and campari gives all the July 4th vibes.

2. Pickled Michelada

From Memorial Day through the 4th of July, you’ll most likely see me with a Michelada in hand anytime after 5pm (or, more likely, 3pm). The only thing I love more than a spicy and tangy Michelada is a pickle, so this cocktail is my dream pairing. Salty, sour, and spicy, it’s the perfect combination for a sweltering 4th of July day.

3. Hibiscus Margarita

Vibrant hibiscus meets citrus and tequila in this stunning cocktail. Bringing the ‘red’ in red, white, and blue, this showstopping margarita is as delicious as it is eye-catching.

4. Cucumber-Fennel Fizz

Herby, a little earthy, and plenty fresh, this spa-water-meets-cocktail-hour cucumber and fennel flavored fizz is exactly what I want in the dog days of summer.

5. Best-Ever Piña Colada

Made with fresh pineapple and coconut milk in lieu of Coco Lopez, this frozen take on the classic cocktail can be scaled up for a crowd and stored in the freezer—no watery Piña Coladas at this BBQ!

6. A Very Good Bloody Mary

My July 4th festivities tend to be an all-day affair. This easy-to-make rendition by cookbook author and former Food52-er Ali Slagle is exactly how I want to start my holiday. Don’t forget to garnish your Bloody Mary with pickles, celery, or even a few cocktail shrimp—may your drink double as a snack.

7. Rosemary-Grapefruit Margarita

The addition of rosemary makes this grapefruit-driven margarita feel a little fancier. Plop me pool-side and place one of these in my hand, please and thank you.

8. Frozen Watermelon Five-Spice Daiquiri

“It’s what I drink when it’s still too hot to breathe in the evening,” writes recipe developer and Food52 community member hardlikearmour. This blended watermelon daiquiri gets a hit of Chinese five-spice, a spice blend of warming spices like cinnamon, clove, and star anise.

9. Beet Tonic Spritz

Beet juice, honey, and lemon get topped with a splash of ginger beer and tonic water for this ultra-refreshing, no-ABV cocktail alternative. Sip this during your all-day summer BBQ or swap it out between cocktails.

10. Negroni Spagliato

Swapping prosecco for gin in the classic Negroni ingredients makes this a Spagliato. It’s a spritz-y take on the night-cap ready cocktail. Sip this lower-ABV alternative and transport yourself to Italy on the 4th of July.

11. Blackberry Ginger Ale Mojito

Muddled mint, blackberries, and fresh ginger gives this Mojito a fruit-forward twist. If you can’t find blackberries, sub them out for any other kind of peak-season berry.

12. Gin Spritz

“It’s deliciously refreshing–awesome for drinking outside,” says Food52 Resident and baking extraordinaire Erin Jeanne McDowell. Sounds like the 4th of July to me.


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