Fourth of July celebrates not only American Independence, but everything that has made this country great. It’s a day to sit back, enjoy the summer heat with burgers, sausages and kabobs sizzling on the grill and, of course, a cool and refreshing drink in hand. But what drinks are best for this mid-summer holiday? American classics? Sure. Light and refreshing libations to get you through a day of drinking and grilling, grilling and drinking? That’s a given. Here is what expert bartender Ryan Keapproth recommends you throw back on this all-American holiday.
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Ryan Keapproth was destined to become a bartender, drawn to the bar ever since getting baptized in beer during the Twins 1987 World Series win. Today, he works as the bar manager and mixologist at Senor Wong, slinging craft cocktails, sake, beer and wine to the thirsty residents, tourists, Wild fans and karaoke crooners from all over St. Paul. As a Latin/Asian fusion restaurant lounge located in the heart of downtown St. Paul, Senor Wong was one of the earlier signs of downtown St. Paul’s revival. Its menu of craft cocktails, and the rotating specials not found on the menu, has given St. Paul’s nightlife a shot in the arm.
But enough about that, here are a few ideas for your Fourth of July party.
There is nothing more American than bourbon, and a good Old-Fashioned is about the most classic American drink we have. It’s also great for drinking during the day, as it won’t wipe you out early.
- 2 oz Templeton Rye (nothing better, he says)
- Peychaud’s Bitters
- Orange wedge
- Amarena cherries
- Sugar cube
Mix the sugar cube, water and Peychaud’s bitters in an Old Fashioned glass. Muddle an orange wedge and Amarena Cherries. Pour in the 2 oz of Rye, just a splash of soda water, fill with ice cubes, stir and enjoy.
For a warm day, and a holiday no less, a blended, fruity drink can be extremely refreshing. Luckily, one of the perfect drinks for this occasion is also one of the easiest to make, and easy to make for large groups (like all of your friends at the Fourth of July BBQ).
- Crushed ice (Need a blender)
- 5 oz of rum
- 8 oz of Pina Colada mix
- 8 oz of Strawbwerry Daquiri mix
- Put the ice into the blender, followed by half of your rum (2.5 oz).
- Add the Pina Colada mix, and blend for approximately 30 seconds. Once it is finished blending, set it aside. (Don’t forget to clean out the blender before making the next blend.)
- Add ice, the remainder of the rum (2.5 oz) to the blender, add Daiquiri mix and blend for 30 seconds.
- In a large glass, carefully pour the Pina Colada portion into the bottom.
- Layer the Daiquiri mix on top, carefully, so as not to mix the red with of the white Pina Colada mix.
Root Beer Barrel
Root beer is another classic American drink. A good Root Beer Barrel is a great way to toss back a few and have a little fun without getting too drunk too early. It hearkens back to the simpler era, the 50s nostalgia that lives on through July the 4th.
- Root Beer Schnapps
- Lager beer
Place a shot glass (approximately 1-1.5 oz) of root beer schnapps into a 3/4 full tumbler of lager beer. Cover the top with your hand and slam it on the table. Drink immediately.
Related: Best Cocktail Bars In Minnesota
The name says it all: a drink that was meant for summer and meant to be enjoyed on a summer day dedicated to the independence of our country. Sure, the ingredients might be Italian, but America is a melting pot full of cultures that have contributed to the greatness of this country, and, in this case, a fantastic 4th of July cocktail.
- Sweet Vermouth
- Soda water
- Orange or lemon peel
Mix equal parts Campari and Sweet Vermouth into an Old Fashioned glass, and top it off with soda. Add a lemon or an orange twist to garnish.
On the 4th of July, there’s nothing better than crisp, cold beer. Try some of the local, craft brews that have been making waves in Minnesota’s beer scene for the last few years. Not only are you supporting local business, as was once part of this country’s fabric, but beer is also one of the best ways to go for midsummer drinks. On the Fourth of July, maximize your drinking potential with some of these great local summer brews:
Indeed Shenanigans: a cool, crisp summer ale you can enjoy all day
Summit Summer Ale: Kolsch-style, clean and delicious, made to enjoy in the sun
Fulton Lonely Blonde: a nice, smooth blonde, infinitely drinkable, and won’t weigh you down like an IPA or darker beer would
Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at Examiner.com, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.