Not an Average Fourth of July | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Not an Average Fourth of July

Serve patriotic cocktails and dessert this Fourth of July. Photo courtesy Jane Flood

Serve patriotic cocktails and dessert this Fourth of July. Photo courtesy Jane Flood

There is no better time to indulge in color than the Fourth of July—specifically red, white and blue. While cookouts, games and fireworks are de rigueur, these colorful cocktails and beautiful cake will create a celebratory beginning and ending to the festivities.

For a nice appearance, and seamless way to serve the cocktails, pre-mix several servings of each in similar containers and have them available for shaking over ice and straining for individual portions.

A designated bartender would be helpful—whether one who is hired or a volunteered relative. For my family gatherings, one of my four brothers is routinely "volunteered." Though the chosen bartender acts as if it is a chore, I think all of them secretly enjoy being the center of attention in their time of responsibility during the festivities. These red, white and blue cocktails are a festive alternative to beer by the pool this July 4. Consider mixing them ahead of time and placing in chilled containers so that they can be shaken over ice and served individually.

Now for the cake—prepare to enjoy the accolades! It is surprisingly lovely and clever. I have made it for so many Fourth of July gatherings that it has become a staple now. I have served it by preparing pre-cut slices as well as slicing and garnishing it in front of guests. Both work beautifully, depending on the setting. Children tend to like the pre-cut slices to run off with, while adults may enjoy the presentation of cutting and garnishing for each person. Serve the cake alongside watermelon wedges sprinkled with salt, and you will have happy guests who have enjoyed the entire celebratory day.

Flag-Inspired Raspberry Cake

2 cups raspberries

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons seedless red raspberry jam

1 classic white cake, cooked in two eight-inch pans for height

6 tablespoons amaretto (or one teaspoon almond flavoring with one teaspoon of sugar)

3/4 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt

1/2 cup blueberries

8 teaspoons sliced almonds, toasted

Place first three ingredients in a food processor, and pulse until coarsely chopped and set it aside. Carefully slice the cake horizontally into even slices. Spread raspberry filling in between each layer of cake.

Combine amaretto (or almond flavoring/sugar) with yogurt. To serve, slice cake and top with yogurt on the top left corner of slice, garnish with blueberries and sliced almonds.

Red Martini

1 1/2 ounces raspberry vodka

1 1/2 ounces pomegranate juice

1/2 ounce simple syrup

Combine all ingredients, shake with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass.

White Margarita Martini

1 1/2 ounces tequila

1/2 ounce triple sec

1/2 ounce fresh lime juice

Splash of sweetened lemon juice

Shake all ingredients well with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a slice of lime.

Blue Martini

1 1/2 ounces pear flavored gin

2 ounces sour mix

1/2 ounce blue Curacao

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a slice of lime.

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