Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July 4th Cocktail and Snack Roundup...Get the Party Started!

I just flipped the calendar to July this afternoon...it's so hard to believe that the year is half over already! That means July 4th is nearly here...so I want to share some of my favorite recent cocktail and snack finds with you today. All of these goodies are perfect for your July 4th celebration...or for any upcoming Summer parties on your calendar! No party is complete without a refreshing adult beverage...and some tasty treats to enjoy while you're waiting for the BBQ to come off the grill. No worries, my friends...I have got your covered! First up is a fabulous patriotic cocktail featuring Herradura Silver Tequila. This is one great cocktail, people: sweetly tart, with a tropical backnote from the addition of coconut water...and a smooth kick from the tequila. Add some red raspberries and blueberries to each glass, and you've got the perfect themed cocktail for your July 4th celebration! I made these over the weekend, and everyone who tried them gave them a big thumbs up and agreed that they were different from the usual party cocktail lineup.

Red, White and Blue Cocktail
Featuring Herradura Tequila

Ingredients (for each cocktail):

      1½ oz Herradura Silver
      2 ½ oz Coconut water
      ¼ oz Agave nectar
      ½ oz lime juice
      Blueberries and raspberries

Place all ingredients in to a cocktail shaker filled with cubed ice. Shake hard and strain over crushed ice in to a tall glass. Garnish with raspberries and blueberries.

If you're more of a wine drinker, no worries...I've got you covered too! I recently received a bottle of Good Vines semi-sparkling red Marzemino Frizzante to try. I had never heard of this Italian wine, so chances are you haven't either...but you should! This is one of the best new wines I've tasted in ages. Marzemino is best served chilled, making it perfect for al fresco Summer dining. It's refreshing and easy to drink...with a slight fizz. I intended to make a fruity sangria with this bottle of wine, but fate intervened last week. We were invited to meet some family at a local pizza restaurant that features mainly outdoor seating. They encourage diners to bring their own wine, so I grabbed the marzemino out of the fridge to share with the group. It was serendipity! The Good Vines Marzemino paired perfectly with the warm night air...and the pizza. Everyone at the table who tried a glass absolutely loved it and agreed it was a perfect warm-weather wine.

If you're serving alcoholic beverages, it's a good idea to put out some snacks to everyone to munch on. I usually put out chips & dip or cheese and crackers for starters. Another great idea is popcorn, which is something everybody loves. I recently received a five-bag sampler of popcorn from Illinois-based G.H. Cretors. This family business has been around since 1885, and they offer five varieties: sweet-salty Kettle Corn, Just the Caramel Corn, Just the Cheese Corn, Chicago Mix (half caramel and half cheddar), and Caramel Nut Crunch. This is popcorn you can feel good about eating: it's made with all-natural ingredients and contains no gluten or GMOs. It also tastes fabulous! The caramel corn is buttery-sweet and lightly crunchy, and the cheddar corn is very cheesy. I was very impressed that the popcorn is tender and contains very few hulls. You can order their popcorn online by clicking the link above...and they're even offering free shipping through July 5th!

One of the pairings that was specifically mentioned for the marzemino wine is desserts, especially brownies. You can certainly make a batch of homemade brownies to serve ont he side with this wine. However, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention one of my favorite brownies at this point. Salt of the Earth Bakery's amazing OMGCB is one of my latest obsessions: a fudgy brownie with a soft salted caramel topping. This brownie is certainly worthy of its OMG name. This brownie features a caramel topping that's flavored with French sea salt. The result is the perfect balance of sweet and salty...all wrapped up in fudgy chocolate goodness. If Salt of the Earth Bakery seems familiar, it's because they were featured in my recent article The Sweet Side of New York. They recently sent me more of their sweet-and-salty baked goods to try. I'll be featuring more of their lineup very soon, but I couldn't resist sharing this sneak peek today. This is one seriously decadent brownie

With these ideas in hand, you're now officially ready for Summer celebrations. Celebrate the holiday with good company, good food and good times. Have fun, enjoy the adult beverages in moderation and make sure you don't drive if you've been partaking to excess. We want you around for the next party!!

Disclosure: I was provided samples of Herradura Tequila, Good Vines Marzemino, G.H. Cretors popcorn, and Salt of the Earth Bakery items to facilitate this post. The photograph of the Red, White and Blue cocktail is copyrighted by Formulatin PR. All opinions expressed in this article are mine, and I received no further compensation.

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