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Fourth of July cocktails

tokyopix Jun 24, 2014 12:57 AM

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. EvergreenDan RE: tokyopix Jun 24, 2014 05:51 AM

    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
      tokyopix RE: EvergreenDan Jun 24, 2014 07:59 PM

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

    2. a
      autumm RE: tokyopix Jun 24, 2014 08:29 PM

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

      2 Replies
      1. re: autumm
        tokyopix RE: autumm Jun 25, 2014 03:27 AM

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

        1. re: tokyopix
          autumm RE: tokyopix Jun 25, 2014 07:33 PM

          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. r
        Red Oakley RE: tokyopix Jun 24, 2014 10:15 PM

        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. b
          Bellachefa RE: tokyopix Jun 25, 2014 04:30 AM

          I don't know where it would fit in your theme, but I love the occasional jalapeño 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
            tokyopix RE: Bellachefa Jun 25, 2014 05:19 PM

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

          2. t
            tokyopix RE: tokyopix Jun 25, 2014 05:25 PM

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

            1. ArchibaldDrinks RE: tokyopix Jun 26, 2014 02:13 AM

              I would venture to say the West almost assuredly must be represented by the Margarita.

              5 Replies
              1. re: ArchibaldDrinks
                tokyopix RE: ArchibaldDrinks Jun 26, 2014 07:03 AM

                Would that be clearly West? It would certainly be convenient and popular I'm sure.

                I also found the Golden Gate for West (Grand Marnier, Benedictine, Campari, grapefruit and lemon juice). Anyone ever tried one?

                Detroit Daisy (rum, lime juice, grenadine and mint) could work for North but again I've never had one. Obviously need to use this weekend for try outs.

                1. re: tokyopix
                  EvergreenDan RE: tokyopix Jun 26, 2014 02:15 PM

                  Hmmm. Death & Co sounds promising, but 2 oz of Grand Marnier scares the enamel off my teeth.


                  Now a Golden Gate Swizzle would be awesome, but swizzling for a crowd would be a drag. Maybe self-swizzle?


                  1. re: EvergreenDan
                    tokyopix RE: EvergreenDan Jun 26, 2014 05:05 PM

                    Hee hee! "...scares the enamel off my teeth."

                    I hate to sound stupid, but could you elaborate on swizzle and swizzling? I've seen something about twirling the swizzle stick (is that the right term?) between your palms, but would I be adding another ingredient to the Golden Gate to make it a Golden Gate Swizzle?

                    1. re: tokyopix
                      EvergreenDan RE: tokyopix Jun 27, 2014 04:52 AM

                      No, a Golden Gate Swizzle is a completely different drink with lots of Fernet. Good for a sophisticated and/or adventurous crowd. Not good for safer drinkers.

                      Swizzling is placing a swizzle stick (although a bar spoon could be used) into a glass filled with crushed ice and spinning with your palms as if trying to start a fire by friction (not that I've ever done that). Ideally you swizzle until frost forms on the outside of the glass. It results in a very cold, more diluted drink.

                      Real swizzle sticks come the West Indies from a tree. http://www.cocktailkingdom.com/produc...


                      1. re: EvergreenDan
                        tokyopix RE: EvergreenDan Jun 27, 2014 06:06 PM

                        Okay, thanks for the additional info!

              2. rlh RE: tokyopix Jun 26, 2014 03:06 PM

                I recommend the Betsy Ross - easy, tasty, and not too common - I think she was from the Mid-Atlantic region - it's a great drink, and the Ferrand Dry Curacao is worth getting if you can:


                1 Reply
                1. re: rlh
                  tokyopix RE: rlh Jun 26, 2014 05:02 PM

                  Thanks! This looks good. I'll put it into the try outs this weekend. I think I can get the Ferrand as I've seen their products in several places.

                  Many thanks!

                2. t
                  tokyopix RE: tokyopix Jun 27, 2014 06:07 PM

                  For anyone else on this quest, I finally found this which is helpful:


                  It turns out that my mistake was searching "4th of July cocktails", which was just giving me froo-froo red, white and blue stuff. I finally switched to searching "American cocktails" and I'm having more luck.

                  Is anyone else doing cocktails for the 4th?

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