Star-Spangled Cocktails for the Fourth of July
Derek Brown’s Bread Basket Sour. Photo credit: Courtesy of Smithsonian Channel
Friday is Independence Day, and this September is the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner. Dammit, we’re feeling patriotic!
So are the editors at the Smithsonian Channel, who, along with the American History Museum and cocktail historian David Wondrich, have roped 15 of this fine nation’s best bartenders into creating drinks in honor of our national anthem. They’re calling the project “Raise a Glass to History,” and they’ll be sharing the recipes all summer long.
“I want there to be a story before I put something in the glass,” participating Atlanta bartender Greg Best told us. “What’s going in the glass? To build a cocktail, it really takes thinking something through and going deep, and geeking out a little bit.”
And “geek out”he and the other bartenders did. Below, find four of their cocktails and the stories behind them. Make as many as you like this Fourth of July, because remember: You live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
OF THREAD AND THEORY
Best, who earned two James Beard Awards nominations for his work behind the bar at Atlanta’s Holeman and Finch, is the thinkiest thinker we know when it comes to crafting cocktails.
“A drink should be a medley or a tapestry of flavors, each one for a specific purpose,” he told us. Each ingredient in his creation represents a part of the country he loves. The apple cider vinegar speaks to his Yankee heritage, the Colonial-style Thomas Tew Pot-Still Rum is a throwback to summers spent on Long Island, sorghum syrup is for the South, where he lives now, and Breckenridge Bitters, made in Colorado, is his shout out to the West.
While all of this theorizing is important to Best, he also wants the drink to taste good, of course. “It’s not just a cocktail to appease the cerebral side of things. There are going to be a bunch of folks drinking these; it needs to be delicious,” he said. Amen. “Nothing is more horrifying [at an event] than seeing a tray covered with unfinished glasses full of your drink while everyone else is slamming down the pink one.”
Watch the video for how to make Of Thread and Theory, and find the recipe on the Smithsonian’s website.
BREAD BASKET SOUR