Occasion: Declaration of independence of the USA
Date: 4th July, 1776
Here we are again and since it is the 4th of July today, most of you probably already know quite a bit about this one. It is of course the most well-known national holiday in the world, the Independence Day of the USA or the Fourth of July as we usually like to refer to it. So let`s get on with this post and find out how Americans like to celebrate their special day with a real classic cocktail waiting for you at the end.
It may catch you by surprise but the actual vote for independence happened on the 2nd July but it took Jefferson and co. a further two days to approve the declaration which separated the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain hence establishing the United States of America as an independent country and all the rest is history. Interesting fact that eight of the 35 signers were born in Britain or Ireland and incredibly two of the founding fathers (Jefferson and John Adams) died on 4th July, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
We all know that Americans love their barbecue and picnics when it comes to celebrations but the 150 million hot dogs they consume throughout this specific day would be long enough to stretch from Washington DC to Los Angeles more than five times! Most of it is probably eaten at the `Nathan`s famous hot dog eating contest` in Coney Island, NYC, which have been growing in popularity since 1916 and the record currently stands at 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes and that is including buns! The legend says that it has all been started by four immigrants trying to decide which one of them was the most patriotic by aiming to eat as many hot dogs as they could. Well great traditions are born from genius ideas after all.
It is inevitable that after so many hot dogs people seek for some liquid pleasures but what exactly Americans like to drink? Not surprisingly beer is the market leader by far but for the past years it is slowly losing ground to wines and spirits. Here we have to mention craft beers which are taking the States by storm and are being seen as the future quality replacement for more conventional beer brands. When it comes to spirits the USA have always been dictating the trends for the world. Vodka has been the market leader for a long time but rum, whiskey and tequila are being extremely popular nowadays. Since this article is about the US we have to pick Bourbon as our spirit of choice which was officially crowned America`s native spirit in 1964 and is being enjoyed by the rest of the world just as much as by the yankees.
Credit to Jim Beam for this exciting video showing us (and Mila Kunis) around their distillery.
Surprising can it be but the whiskey that gets its name from the French House of Bourbon – due to their contribution to the American Civil War – does not need to be produced in Kentucky (though 95% still is) but does need to be made of 51-80% corn and aged in brand new charred white oak barrels. Bourbon and its little (?) brother the Tennessee Whiskey are responsible for 2/3 of the US`s spirit exports which shows that this lovely spirit with hints of vanilla, caramel and oak is just as great sipping on its own as it is as the base of cocktails.
When we are talking about the US, the country that has been shaping the cocktail industry since we actually started making them and is the birthplace of so many classic and modern wonders, it is extremely challenging to pick one that stands out from the crowd. If there is one though that has a chance it is got to be the Old Fashioned which is a drink made the `old fashioned` way (spirit, sugar, bitters). Some people call for rye instead of Bourbon, some are using both but here is a recipe that will definitely make you have a beautiful evening and a memorable Fourth of July!
50ml Buffalo Trace Kentucky Bourbon
15ml sugar syrup
2 Dashes of Angostura Bitters
2 orange peels
Combine the bourbon, sugar, bitters and an orange peel in a mixing glass
Stir until you reach perfect dilution
Fine strain in a rocks glass over a large rock of ice
Garnish with an orange peel and a cherry