Editor’s note: This story originally ran last year, when Henry Schmulling worked at Pint Central. He has since become Director of Bar Operations at Mac’s Speed Shop. We’ve updated the story to reflect that.
I don’t know any better way to celebrate Independence Day than by sitting by the pool with meat on the grill and a freshly made cocktail in hand. So Henry Schmulling, Director of Bar Operations at Mac’s Speed Shop, helped me make two patriotic cocktails using fresh, local and easily accessible ingredients that can be sipped at your July 4th get-together.
One could argue that a true American spirit is Kentucky bourbon, one of the few that, by law, must be made in the United States. 1792 Kentucky straight bourbon is made in Bardstown Kentucky and gets its name from the year that Kentucky became a part of the Union.
Bourbon is versatile and can be combined with a number of ingredients like peaches, cherries or apples. In this cocktail, we mix 1792 with peaches and blueberries to create something sweet and refreshing.
The 15th State
1 oz 1792 Bourbon
2 oz Looza Peach concentrate (found at Healthy Home Market)
1/4 oz of simple syrup
Splash of fresh lemon juice
Shake with ice and strain into ice-filled glass
Garnish with blueberries
I couldn’t imagine a barbecue without watermelon, so Schmulling created a cocktail that includes just that.
For this concoction, he chose to use Tito’s Handmade Vodka, made in Austin, Texas. Tito’s prides itself on being an American-born, handmade product. Corn-based, Tito’s is naturally sweeter and is perfect for summertime drinks.
Battle of Watermelon Creek
1 1/2 oz of Tito’s Handmade Vodka
2 large watermelon cubes (lightly muddled to release juices)
1 oz simple syrup
1/2 oz orange juice
Splash of Lenny Boy Ginger Kombucha (ginger ale can be used as a substitute)
Shake with ice and serve in ice-filled glass
Garnish with fresh watermelon cube
Wherever or however you decide to celebrate Independence Day, you can easily make delicious cocktails for you and your friends. Cheers, y’all!
Photos by Eric Zamora / Charlotte Observer and Heather Chaney.