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Independence Day Party

Written by: Celia Chen

4th of July Festivities
Celebrate Independence Day with an All American cookout filled with casual dishes, summer cocktails and fun activities the whole family can enjoy. We were inspired by past vacation weekends on the water but, our summer menus would work even if you are landlocked in the city. Here are some simple tips and fresh ideas for the holiday so you can host a stress-free Fourth of July gathering.

SIMPLY BETTER COCKTAILS
At a summer BBQ, there is no need to serve a fully stocked bar. We like to offer a few pre-selected beverages that compliment our overall menu. One of our favorite cocktails is the Mojito, which can be pre-made in large batches for easy serving. We prefer the original recipe made with Stirrings Mojito mixer and vodka with lots of lime and fresh mint. For something more tropical, try using coconut vodka.

Good old-fashioned ice tea is the perfect non-alcoholic beverage. A splash of Stirrings Mojito mixer would give it a sweet citrus flavor. We all know to keep cold water readily available but don’t forget to garnish those glasses with slices of cucumber which add an elegant touch.

SIMPLY BETTER FOOD
Fourth of July entertaining should be casual and relaxed with a buffet menu filled with a variety of savory dishes made with the season’s freshest ingredients. While there is no doubt that the grill is usually the star of the party, you can cook so much more than just burgers and hotdogs.
Get creative with your BBQ and explore some recipes for fish, chicken and summer vegetables. Peppers, onions and zucchini taste great with some grill marks!

This year our Independence Day menu focuses on some All-American favorites that remind us that summer has arrived - Lobster Rolls, Chili Lime Corn (which is cooked on the grill), and a Summer Berry Trifle with Lemon Mascarpone.
If there are a group of little ones, make sure you have some kid-friendly items on the menu like burgers or chicken kabobs. I like to give them their own table covered with brown kraft paper. Not only can they draw on it with crayons but also, it makes clean up a snap!

SIMPLY BETTER TIMES
While red, white and blue may be the palette of the patriotic holiday don’t go overboard with this bold color combination. Try dressing your bar in cool blues and whites with silver ice buckets and glass pitchers. Then use accents of red on your dinner or buffet table including patterned linens or floral arrangements.

The colors of summer berries are vibrant and make great centerpieces. Look for the yellow wooden pints of strawberries that come from the farm stand and arrange them in groups on your table between glass covered candles.
It may be a national holiday but we like to focus on what is happening locally. Whether you are vacationing by the beach or staying in the city, it’s a great time to participate in your local community. Gather the group for an outing to see the local fireworks and enjoy the festivities.

A seasoned event planner and entertaining expert, Celia Chen is the Founder and Editorial Director of Notes on a Party, an online magazine about entertaining that celebrates Events from the Inside Out™. For more inspiration, ideas and tips on party planning, visit www.notesonaparty.com

©2011 Diageo, Norwalk, CT. Please Drink Responsibly.

The Mojito is a cooling effervescent cocktail inspired by Havana's blithe lifestyle in the 1920s.

Ingredients
3 oz Stirrings® Simple Mojito Cocktail Mixer
1.5 oz Myers's® Platinum Rum
3 oz Club Soda
Garnish: lime wedge and a sprig of mint

Directions
In a cocktail shaker combine Stirrings® Simple Mojito Cocktail Mixer, rum and plenty of ice. Cover and shake vigorously. Add 2 parts Club Soda and mix gently. Pour into a cocktail glass and garnish with a wedge of lime and a sprig of mint.

The Mojito is a sparkling blend of sugar, mint and lime.

Ingredients
1 oz Stirrings® Simple Mojito Cocktail Mixer
1 oz Club Soda

Directions
Combine Club Soda and Stirrings® Simple Mojito Cocktail Mixer over a glass of ice.

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