What better way to toast the 4th of July than with a few cocktails and a party with friends. While the barbecue is going, you can head inside and make use of a bag of ice with a cocktail shaker and the blender.
You will need some fresh fruit, a few other spirits, and mixers too but these cocktails are well worth the effort.
In this guide, we will look at 28 fun cocktails that you should make for the 4th of July. There is also a bonus section dedicated to Jell-O shots you can try too.
Fun Cocktails For The 4th Of July
Margaritas are a typical summer cocktail and with strawberries, they create a vividly bold red color to commemorate the 4th of July.
In a blender, blitz Blanco tequila with triple sec, hulled strawberries, freshly squeezed lime juice, and agave nectar with ice until smooth and slushy. Pour into a cocktail glass and garnish with another strawberry.
A Margarita does not have to involve too much sharp citrus flavors, as these Frozen Blue Moscato Margaritas prove.
You will still need a sugary-salty rim by running a lime wedge around your serving glass and dipping it in Kosher salt and granulated sugar.
In a blender with ice, blitz Moscato wine, blue Curaçao, tequila, triple sec, and freshly squeezed lime juice. Once smooth, pour into glasses and garnish with lime wedges and blueberries.
Go thick with these margarita layers and you cannot go wrong so make sure you have plenty of ice for body. Grab your blender and blitz ice with silver tequila, triple sec, and grenadine for the base red layer.
Pour that into glasses, rinse the blender, and lay on top the blue layer which is made from ice, silver tequila, triple sec, and blue Curaçao.
Repeat for the final white layer which is ice, silver tequila, triple sec (see also ‘10 Of The Best Cocktails Using Triple Sec‘), and lime juice then serve straight away before they melt.
Another margarita recipe you can try is this Blueberry Lemonade variation. Start by creating your blueberry lime syrup by combining granulated sugar with water and stirring over a medium heat until clear.
Add the blueberries and zest of half a lime then bring to boil and simmer until the blueberries burst then strain and leave to cool. Rim your glasses with a lemon wedge and dip in salty-sugar mix as preparation.
Pour tequila, triple sec, and lemonade in a mixing glass then divide between your glasses. Fill each one with ice, top with blueberry syrup and let it cascade down.
Sangria is ideal for a summer drink that goes down easy. Start by blending your Sangria by combining red wine with freshly squeezed orange and lime juice over ice then transferring to the freezer.
Give the blender a rinse and blitz frozen limeade concentrate with tequila and ice.
While your Sangria is chilling, run lime wedges around the rims of your glasses and dip them in salt and sugar then pour in alternate layers of Sangria and margarita mix then garnish with lime wedges.
6. Blue Hawaii
As you may expect from the name, a Blue Hawaii may look dazzlingly blue and remains delicious.
Either blitz with ice in a blender or use a cocktail shaker but combine vodka, light rum, blue Curaçao, and pineapple juice, with a sweet-and-sour mix.
Strain the mixture into a Hurricane glass over crushed ice and garnish with a pineapple wedge.
Of course, a Lynchburg Lemonade involves Tennessee whiskey. Combine the whiskey with equal parts triple sec, then add equal parts freshly squeezed lemon juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice.
Once shaken and chilled, strain the mixture into an ice-filled highball glass and top up with lemon-lime soda. Stir and garnish with a wedge of lemon.
The LiberTea is closer to an Arnold Palmer than a Long Island Iced Tea, even though they appear similar. Bring water to a boil in a saucepan, remove from the heat and add tea bags.
Leave to steep for around eight minutes, remove the tea bags then add lemonade and more water. Pour into a pitcher, leave to chill, and stir in fresh basil to muddle until fragrant.
Stir in your bourbon and honey liqueur then divide between tall ice-filled glasses and garnish with a lemon wheel.
As an American version of a Negroni, you simply have to try an Americano. Fill a highball glass with ice then pour in equal parts of Campari and sweet vermouth.
Add soda water and fill to the top then stir to combine and garnish with a twist of orange peel.
10. Stars & Stripes
Try a cocktail that pays homage to the flag to celebrate the 4th of July. The Stars & Stripes cocktail does just that with muddled blueberries added to vodka, absinthe, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and simple syrup.
Shake it up with ice in a cocktail shaker then pour unstrained into a highball glass then drizzle over raspberry brandy (see also ‘20 Brandy Cocktails To Treat Yourself At Happy Hour‘). Top with ginger beer and garnish with a sugar cube.
A Michelada may be an acquired taste due to its use of hot sauce yet that should not put you off. Run a lime wedge around the rim of your serving glass and dip it in chili salt for a spicy coating.
At the bottom of the glass, combine hot sauce with soy sauce and lime juice then fill with ice and top with a light Mexican beer (see also our favorite Mexican drinks). Stir gently and garnish with a wedge of lime.
As you may expect, the Hurricane is not subtle and does pack a punch.
In a cocktail shaker over ice, combine light rum, and dark rum with freshly squeezed lime and orange juice, passion fruit purée, simple syrup, and grenadine.
Shake vigorously then strain into a Hurricane glass over ice with an orange half-wheel and cherry as a garnish.
For a long summer’s evening, you sometimes cannot beat a Long Island Iced Tea.
You can make your own sour mix from granulated sugar, water, lemon juice, lime juice, and grapefruit juice, or just use freshly squeezed lemon juice and simple syrup.
Whichever you decide to use, pour it into a cocktail shaker with gin, white rum, Blanco tequila, vodka, and triple sec then top with ice.
Shake until chilled then strain into an ice-filled Collins glass and top with Coca-Cola.
14. Gin Rickey
Sometimes the classic cocktails (see also ‘Low Calorie Cocktails: 20 Of The Best‘) are the best and that’s certainly the case for the Gin Rickey.
Start by filling a highball glass with ice then pour over gin and freshly squeezed lime juice, top with club soda, and garnish with a wedge of lime.
15. Ranch Water
Though you would not get much work done on the ranch if you drank a few of these, they do offer refreshment on a hot day.
Fill your glass to the top with ice then pour in silver tequila, freshly squeezed lime juice, and Cointreau. Stir then add top up with sparkling water and garnish with a wedge of lime.
16. Miami Vice
For such a rewarding cocktail, the Miami Vice takes a bit more effort. Blitz together half of your rum with chopped strawberries, freshly squeezed lime juice, simple syrup, and crushed ice until smooth.
Pour the mixture into a hurricane glass and freeze then rinse the blender and add the rest of the rum to the cream of coconut, pineapple juice, and more crushed ice to blitz until smooth.
Pour the mixture on top of the frozen strawberry mix for a layered effect and garnish with a slice of pineapple.
With a refreshing punch, a Red, White & Night is well worth trying, whether for the 4th of July or any other time of the year.
Combine vodka, Cabernet Sauvignon, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice then shake vigorously.
Once well chilled, strain into a highball glass with ice and garnish with blueberries coated in powdered sugar.
Some cocktails take you places and the Blue Hawaiian Cooler should send you straight to the beach.
Blitz together light rum, coconut rum, blue Curaçao, cream of coconut, and pineapple juice with ice. Pour the mixture into highball glasses then garnish with pineapple slices.
As you may imagine, this cocktail was made popular by an Army and Navy Club, specifically the one in Washington D.C.
It also proves rather simple to create by pouring dry gin, orgeat, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and a dash of Angostura bitters in a cocktail shaker with ice. Once shaken and well chilled, pour into a chilled Coupe glass.
20. Fireworks Flair
As a cocktail to enjoy fireworks with, try a Fireworks Flair. For an extra touch, fill ice cube molds halfway with water, freeze, then add a blueberry and fill up to set.
The cocktail is simple enough with cranberry juice, blackberry brandy, vodka, and triple sec added to a cocktail shaker with ice.
Shake until chilled then strain into a glass filled with the prepared ice cubes and a lemon peel garnish with skewered blueberries and raspberries.
21. The Aviation
A classic gin cocktail with a rich history, The Aviation may be difficult to make due to its use of crème de violette yet if you can locate some then you have lift off.
Add gin, crème de violette, maraschino liqueur, and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until well chilled then strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a cocktail or brandied cherry (see also ‘20 Brandy Cocktails To Treat Yourself At Happy Hour‘).
22. Mint Julep
For a bourbon-based cocktail, a Mint Julep is still definitely suited to summer. Muddle mint leaves in a rocks glass then add maple syrup and your bourbon.
Fill the rocks glass with crushed ice then stir and garnish with a squeezed mint sprig.
23. Cape Codder
So the Cape Cod cocktail, or the Cape Codder, is basically a vodka cranberry yet it screams summer (see also ‘23 Cranberry Cocktails For The Festive Season‘).
Fill your rocks glass with ice then add vodka, cranberry juice, and freshly squeezed lime juice. Save a few lime wedges for a garnish too.
24. Big Red
The Big Red can be made on the spot if you have any lager, scotch whiskey, and ginger beer lying around. Simply fill a Collins glass with ice then add those three ingredients and gently stir to combine.
Fruity and spicy, a Firecracker is well worth trying simply to liven things up.
Muddle watermelon chunks then add aged rum, triple sec, freshly squeezed lime juice, simple syrup, and a dash of cayenne pepper in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice.
Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a wedge of lime.
Bonus: Jell-O Shots
You do not have to restrict yourself to cocktails created on the day to celebrate the 4th of July. Make some Jell-O shots in advance and you can show your colors with some brightly colored creations.
Notably, these Jell-O shots are of a jubilant nature with the red, white, and blue represented, as well as some Champagne.
One way to represent the red, white, and blue is visually in Jell-O shots (see also ‘28 Simple Homemade Jell-O Recipes‘). You will need three bowls to create Rocket Jell-O shots, one for each layer.
Mix boiling water and berry Jell-O mix until dissolved then stir in vodka for the blue layer. Repeat with cherry Jell-O mix for the red layer and leave both to cool.
For the white layer, sprinkle an envelope of gelatin over the milk and bring the rest of the milk to a simmer, turn off the heat then stir in vanilla extract, granulated sugar, and vodka.
Pour the heated mixture over the gelatin, stir until dissolved then leave to cool. Spray your shot glasses with cooking spray then add your berry Jell-O and refrigerate for about 15 minutes.
Top that with the white layer and end with the cherry Jell-O mixture to refrigerate and set.
Yes, you could simply quaff Champagne in a flute yet it has a different sense of fun in a Jell-O shot.
Combine Champagne with lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan then sprinkle on gelatin. Allow it to soften then bloom as it is heated over a low heat.
Once the gelatin has dissolved, remove the pan from the heat and stir in more Champagne and vodka.
Grease a loaf tin and chill the mixture for a couple of hours until firm. Cut the mixture into squares and dip each one in rainbow sprinkles.
You will need Jell-O shot cups arranged in a baking dish and a free shelf in your refrigerator for these 4th of July Jell-O Shots.
Combine strawberry Jell-O mix with boiling water and, once dissolved, add vodka and stir then cool and pour into the cups to create a red base layer.
Use unflavored gelatin mix for your white layer then add boiling water and sweetened condensed milk once the gelatin has dissolved.
Once cooled, pour in on top of the set red base layer. The final layer is made from berry blue Jell-O mix where you will add vodka once the mix has dissolved in boiling water.
Fill the layer to the top of the cups then refrigerate overnight and serve with whipped cream and Maraschino cherries for a fun garnish.
The 4th of July should be about celebrating America’s birthday and what better way to do that than with some patriotic cocktails.
These cocktails do not have to be complicated yet typically involve fruit juice, ice, and a cocktail shaker so stock up.
If you do decide to make the Jell-O shots then ensure that there is a free shelf in your refrigerator to chill them and make sure you have a strong enough blender, especially for the Margaritas.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Characterizes A Patriotic American Drink?
One of the key features of a patriotic American drink is symbolism. It could be the visualization of the red, white, and blue, or the Stars and Stripes.
It could even be an American-created cocktail or simply one that uses proud American ingredients like Tennessee whiskey.
What Is A Good Afternoon Cocktail?
If you are considering a cocktail to drink in the afternoon then stick to something breezy.
An Aperol Spritz can be quite light while a Beer Margarita could be a nice twist on simply drinking beer for hours. You could also make a pitcher of Sangria.