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Jun 24, 2014 12:57 AM

Fourth of July cocktails

I'm an American expat in Tokyo. I'm having a 4th of July party and I'm looking for cocktail inspiration. Last year I did a menu meant to highlight American booze. I did bourbon drinks (mint julep, whiskey sour, brown derby); rye drinks (Manhattan variations: Manhattan, Park Slope, Brooklyn); a Tom Collins (for American hoaxes, a bit of a stretch on the theme but I wanted a gin drink) and a Papa Doble (for one of America's most famous expats).

This was a hit, but I need something new. Plus, I'll have more folks so 8 options is a lot for me to mix each individual drink as I do. The audience will be mostly Japanese, American, German and Indian nationals who come to these things regularly and are pretty open and amendable to trying all kinds of things.

I was thinking of trying to find 4-6 iconic American cocktails. Maybe something from N, S, E and W plus 2 extra? I thought maybe:

Manhattan (East coast)
Sazerac (South)
???? North
???? West

Or maybe Sazerac being very New Orleans could stand on it's own and perhaps a mint julep for the South? Or is there a better idea than a geographic theme?

Anyway, clearly I'm having menu writer's block and would appreciate any help. I definitely don't want to go red, white and blue or other gimmicky stuff. Just good, iconic cocktails that would say "America," and be not too, too fiddly to mix to order (e.g. I'm not going to attempt any tiki drinks for this party).

I'll be serving slightly Japanese influenced American BBQ food like burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, etc. I can get most booze here. The only think I can't get for sure is St. Germain, but I've brought a couple bottles back recently. Bitters are a bit limited here, but I have Angostura, Peychaud's and a couple others.

Thanks for any ideas!

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  1. How about an Alaska for North? If it's hot and you want it to be more refreshing, add some lemon.


    1 Reply
    1. re: EvergreenDan

      Thanks! I hadn't heard of an Alaska before. That's a good one!

    2. If you want to go native Wisconsin, a brandy old fashioned.

      2 Replies
      1. re: autumm

        Thanks. I remember hearing old fashioned are different up there, is that right?

        1. re: tokyopix

          Brandy is the primary spirit. With bitters, orange slice, cherry, sugar, and lemon-lime soda. Lots of variations out there, I don't know what the "family" blend is

      2. For dessert. I was thinking a Key Lime Pie Martini. But the recipes I looked at seem to require key lime liqueur, which I'm guessing might be hard to find . . .

        1. I don't know where it would fit in your theme, but I love the occasional jalapeƱo cilantro thai basil margarita. I just had an amazing home made strawberry basil lemonade that would work well with a few types of alcohol.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Bellachefa

            Thanks. Sounds interesting. I'm looking more for classics, but that certainly sounds festive!

          2. maybe for West Coast something with Fernet. It's popular in SF, right?