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Archive for July 4th

TIP OF THE DAY: Star-Shaped Ice

Make star-spangled drinks with star-shaped ice. Photo courtesy


It’s the little touches that make guests smile. Like star-shaped ice in their July 4th drinks.

Make each soft drink or cocktail more special with star-shaped ice, made in a silicon mold.

No time to find ice cube trays?

Head to the market for carambola, star fruit, to garnish the rims of glasses.

Then, find some special cocktail recipes.

Here are options in addition to the Star Spangled Banner and Patriot cocktail recipes we published last week:


  • American Flag Cocktail: Individual red, white and blue tequila shots. Recipe.
  • Fruit Cocktails: Red, white and blue cocktails made with blueberry purée, peach purée and raspberry purée.Recipe.
  • Sangrita: Tequila, triple sec and ginger ale with white ice cubes and blueberries. Recipe.


    Serve glasses of red, white or blue Prosecco or other sparkling wine:

    The red sparkler has a base of cranberry juice, the white is plain and the blue uses blueberry juice. Add two inches of juice to a Champagne flute and top with the sparkling wine. Don’t stir: It breaks up the bubbles.

    You can make a non-alcoholic version with with lemon-lime soda.

    Find more cocktail recipes.



    TIP OF THE DAY: July 4th Menu Ideas

    There’s plenty of time to create a star-spangled menu for July 4th. Here are recipes for foods and drinks:


  • Yogurt Parfait: Start the day with plain or vanilla yogurt, or cottage cheese, topped with raspberries and blueberries.

  • Patriotic Cheeseburger: Cut cheese slices into star shapes and tint the pickles blue. Recipe.
  • Potato Salad: Make red, white and blue potato salad with your favorite recipe. If you can’t find purple Perurvian potatoes (pretty close to blue!), keep the skins on red-jacket potatoes. Sprinkle top with crumbled blue cheese or goat cheese, and decorate the bowl with a perimeter of blueberries or a dice of cooked Peruvian potatoes.

  • Bean Dip: Make a white bean dip and garnish the perimeter of the bowl with chopped, seeded tomatoes. Serve with a mix of blue corn, red corn and white corn tortilla chips. Recipe.

    Red, white and blue cookie pizza. Photo courtesy California Strawberry Commission. Get the recipe.


  • Fruit, Cheese & Crackers: Spread crackers with goat cheese and garnish with a strawberry slice,
    topped by a blueberry. For a sweet version, use graham crackers and cream cheese.
  • Goat Cheese Stuffed Celery: Crunchy, creamy and accented with pomegranate arils and blueberries. Recipe.
  • Tortilla Chips: Use blue and red tortilla chips with your regular nachos recipe, along with white Cheddar or other good white melting cheese. Sprinkle some blue cheese or goat cheese (it‘s very white) atop the red salsa.

  • Angel Food Cake: White cake with red and blue berries. If you’re grilling, grill the cake first. Recipe.
  • Parfait: Layer vanilla ice cream with strawberry or raspberry purée; top with whipped cream and blueberries.
  • Patriotic Cookie Pizza: Sugar cookie dough (from the supermarket), whipped cream, vanilla yogurt, strawberries and blueberries. Recipe. Similarly, you can top a white-iced cake or vanilla pudding pie or tartlets with red and blue berries.
  • Patriotic Cupcakes: Red velvet cake, white frosting and blueberries. Recipe.
  • Patriotic Toll House Cookies: America’s favorite cookie is cut into star shapes with a red, white and blue icing and garnish. Recipe.
    If you have a favorite July 4th recipe, please share!



    TIP OF THE DAY: Make A July 4th Cocktail

    A star-spangled cocktail. Photo courtesy Congress Hall.


    We serve Bloody Marys, Margaritas and Martinis year-round. But we love occasions that merit special cocktails.

    So we were more than pleased when this red, white and blue “Star Spangled Banner” cocktail recipe arrived from Congress Hall, a 200-year-old classic American resort on the ocean in Cape May, New Jersey (so charming, we wanted to make a reservation—see the photo gallery).


    This drink delivers delightful flavor from the two orange liqueurs and fresh raspberries.

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 3 tablespoons fresh raspberries, macerated and muddled
  • ¾ ounce orange liqueur (Cointreau, Curaçao, Grand Marnier, GranGala, triple sec)
  • ¾ ounce blue Curaçao
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • Coarse sugar or drink rimmer with red or blue flecks


    1. Moisten the rim of a Martini glass and dip it a half inch deep in sugar (use a shallow bowl for the sugar).

    2. Combine the muddled raspberries with the orange liqueur. Add to the bottom of the glass.

    3. Combine the vodka and blue Curaçao. Blue Curaçaos vary in color. If you want a darker blue, add a scant drop of blue food color (Curaçao is colored with food color. Cointreau, Grand Marnier and other high-end orange spirits are based on Cognac or other aged spirit, which yields a natural rusty orange color.)

    4. Shake with ice and strain into glass. Serve.


    For a red, white and blue effect, you can also use whipped cream and blueberries atop a red drink. You don’t have to sweeten the whipped cream; unsweetened, it provides a more sophisticated contrast atop a sweet drink.


    Adapted from a Congress Hall recipe.

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1 part vodka
  • 3 parts cranberry juice or pomegranate juice
  • Whipped cream (how about Bourbon whipped cream?)
  • Garnish: blueberries
  • Ice cubes
  • Straw

    1. Shake vodka and juice with ice in a cocktail shaker. Pour over ice cubes in a collins glass.


    Whipped cream and blueberries turn any sweet red cocktail into a patriotic one. Photo courtesy Congress Hall.


    2. Top with a small amount of whipped cream. Garnish with blueberries and serve with a straw.

    Find more of our favorite cocktail recipes.



    JULY 4th: Bipartisan Truffle Party Favors

    Party line party favors for July 4th. Photo
    courtesy Choclatique.


    If your crowd spends a preponderance of time discussing politics, serve some of these clever chocolates for July 4th.

    Made by the creative L.A. chocolatier Choclatique, white chocolate shells are filled with chocolate ganache and topped with colored white chocolate donkey and elephant medallions in party colors.

    They are sold in two-piece party favors (one elephant, one donkey per box in a 12-box package) and boxes of 8, 15 and 30 pieces, all ranging from $18.00 to $55.00.

    And of course, given party politics, each size is available in all-donkey or all-elephant.

    Head to and search for “Capitol Collection.”

    Find more of our favorite chocolates.




    JULY 4TH FOOD: Elegant Tomato And Mozzarella Skewers With Grapes & Olives

    As long as the grill is fired, here’s a tasty appetizer that goes great with drinks: Mediterranean Grilled Mozzarella Skewers with tomatoes, kalamata olives and caperberries.

    The recipe was created by Chef James Campbell Caruso for It makes six skewers.


  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Spanish sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 12 fresh mozzarella ciliegine balls (1/3 ounce each)
  • 12 seedless red grapes
  • 12 pitted kalamata olives
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 12 large caperberries
  • 6 (8-inch) to 12 (6-inch) skewers

    Photo courtesy


    1. In a large bowl, mix the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, oregano, pepper flakes and garlic. Add the remaining ingredients; toss well to coat. Refrigerate for 2 hours to marinate.
    2. Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium.
    3. For 8-inch skewers, thread 1 mozzarella ball, 1 grape, 1 olive, 1 tomato and 1 caperberry on each skewer; repeat so you have two of each item on each skewer. For 6-inch skewers, thread 1 of each item, in the same order.
    4. Grill the skewers on all sides for 5 to 7 minutes or until the cheese is soft and the skewers are thoroughly heated. Serve the skewers as a tapa or side to grilled meat.

    Find more cheese recipes in our Cheese Section.



    JULY 4th FOOD: Red, White & Blue Colored Popcorn

    Here’s a treat that you can make in any theme colors—just as long as the colors are available as flavored gelatins.

    For a red, white and blue display, use JELL-O Berry Blue plus any of the red flavors (there are seven, from Raspberry to Watermelon). You can use standard, pale yellow corn as your white layer, or look for white corn kernels to pop. The colored layers are sweet; the plain popcorn can provide a salty counterpoint.

    Layer the colored popcorn in a clear bowl, or fill individual bowls.

    Yield: about 16 cups
    Prep Time: 10 Minutes
    Cook Time: 20 Minutes

    Ingredients Per Color

  • 12 cups popped popcorn

    Color popcorn for any occasion—from fall colors above to red, white and blue. Photo
    and recipe courtesy Eagle Brand.


  • 1 can (14 ounces) Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 package (3 ounces) flavored gelatin
    1. Heat oven to 300ºF. Line a large shallow roasting pan with heavy foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Butter foil.
    2. Remove all unpopped popcorn. Pour popcorn into prepared pan. Keep warm in oven.
    3. Combine sweetened condensed milk and dry gelatin in medium saucepan. Heat and stir over low heat until mixture is slightly thickened and bubbly, 4 to 5 minutes.
    4. Pour mixture over popcorn. Stir gently to coat using a long-handled wooden spoon.
    5. Bake 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Carefully turn out onto another large piece of lightly buttered foil. Cool. Break into pieces or clusters.
    6. Repeat process to create the second layer of colored popcorn.
    7. Layer blue, white and red popcorn in a clear bowl.

    More flavored popcorn recipes.

    For gourmet popcorn gifts, we love 479° Popcorn, in flavors such as Black Truffle + White Cheddar, Chipotle Caramel + Almonds, Fleur de Sel Caramel, Ginger Sesame Caramel, Madras Curry Coconut + Cashews and more.



    JULY 4th: Send A Free Food E-Card

    We’re celebrating July 4th with red, white
    and blue whoopie pies.


    Send a yummy e-card featuring our favorite red velvet whoopie pies: a red, white and blue treat.

    Just head over to our E-Card Section and wish friends and family a happy celebration.

    Want to exclaim “Whoopie?” You can buy the delicious whoopie pies at




    JULY 4TH FOOD: Red, White & Blue Potato Salad

    Potato salad is almost imperative at a July 4th celebration. With this recipe from Frieda’s Produce, you can make yours red, white and blue.

    If you can, prepare the potato salad a day in advance, the flavors will have more time to blend.

    Makes about 6 to 8 cups.


  • 2 pounds mixed potatoes: red jacket, yellow jacket and purple; leave skins on
  • 3/4 cup chopped green onions (scallions), divided
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground pepper
  • 3 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • Garnish: 2-3 ounces crumbled blue cheese (garnish)

    Add red-jacket potatoes for a red, white and
    blue potato salad. Svetlana Kolpakova | Dreamstime.



    1. Put potatoes in a large pot; add enough salted water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Drain potatoes and cool.
    2. While potatoes cool, prepare the dressing. In a medium bowl, blend half of the green onions with the sour cream, mayonnaise, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Cover and chill.
    3. Slice the potatoes into 1/2-inch slices or chunky quarters and place into large bowl. Add chilled dressing, blue cheese and remaining green onions; toss gently to coat potato pieces. Cover and chill for at least two hours, or up to one day. Flavors will continue to blend as the salad chills.
    4. Garnish bowl with additional blue cheese, if desired.

    Find more potato salad recipes.



    JULY 4th FOOD: Red, White & Blue Cocktails


    Want a celebratory drink for July 4th?

    How about a red, white and blue layered shooter?

    A drink with several layers of different colored liqueurs is called a pousse café (pronounced POOSE-caff-fay). A classic pousse café is a liqueur-based drink served with after-dinner coffee. In French, the name translates to “pushes coffee,” or coffee chaser. The term first appeared in France in 1880.

    Because different liqueurs have different densities, they can be made to sit atop each other in discrete layers, when poured in order of densest to lightest. The result is a fun drink that delights the eye, rather than a strategic layering of flavors.

    Three flavors can be combined in a shot glass, or more flavors in a tall cordial glass or a whiskey glass. We’ve had one with seven different layers—although that’s not necessarily a good thing. It may look stunning, but combining seven flavors in a pleasing manner is a tough job.

    The minute you tip the glass to drink, you’ll be getting tastes of all or several liqueurs—which is why it’s a good idea to cap them at three. Some bartenders provide a straw to sip the pousse café one layer at a time.

    The original recipe is believed to have been red, yellow and green layers: grenadine, yellow chartreuse and green chartreuse.

    But you can make a red, white and blue July 4th pousse café. Just call it a shooter: an all-American drink for Independence Day.



    American Flag Cocktail

  • Jubilee Sangrita
  • Red, White & Blue Cocktails With Fruit Purée & Vanilla Liqueur
  • Rosy Vodka Cocktails
  • Star Shaped Ice Cubes
  • Watermelon Martini
  • Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Leftover Pancakes

    When we make pancakes, we make twice as much as we need.

    Who wants leftover pancakes? We do!

    We reheat them by toasting them in the toaster oven. The outsides get nice and crispy. In our book, they’re even better than the original batch.

    July 4th Recipes

  • Red, White & Blue Pancakes. Make red, white and blue pancakes for July 4th brunch: Top your pancakes with sour cream, crème fraîche, plain yogurt or mascarpone, plus blueberries and raspberries or strawberries.
  • Star Shaped Pancakes. You can make very large pancakes and cut them into star shapes with a cookie cutter. Keep the scraps and reheat them later to make a “pancake trifle” with syrup or whipped cream and fruit.
    TIP: If you’re going to make pancakes, get a delicious whole wheat pancake mix. The pancakes will count toward your daily recommended 48 grams of whole grain.


    Add blueberries for a red, white and blue
    July 4th treat. Photo by Simone van den Berg
    | IST.


  • See our review of the best pancake mixes in whole wheat and whole grain.
  • See the different types of pancakes in our Pancake Glossary: aebleskivers, arepas, blini and more.


  • Comments

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