Celebrate July 4th with Cocktails and Festive Appetizers

July 4th is one of my favorite holidays…lots of sunshine, shorts and flip flops and casual picnic food + fun festive cocktails!

I love a red white and blue cocktail on Independence Day! Enjoy my recipe for a Strawberry Basil Cocktail made with Crescent Simples Strawberry Basil Cocktail Syrup. It’s local! Made in Richmond, Virginia. You can find it locally at Ladles and Linens Kitchen Shoppe or on-line. Why basil with strawberry? Basil is a member of the mint family and you know how well strawberry and mint go together…basil and strawberry are an equally delicious blend of flavors.

4th of July Strawberry Basil Cocktail

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Drinks
Servings 1 cocktail


  • 1 jumbo ice cube tray
  • 1 cocktail shaker


  • 7 fresh strawberries
  • 12 fresh blueberries
  • Ocean Spray Strawberry Cranberry Juice optional
  • 1.5 ounces Crescent Simples Strawberry Basil Cocktail Syrup
  • 3 ounces vodka
  • spritz of fresh lime juice
  • Sprite to top off cocktail
  • Garnish: watermelon stars, strawberries and blueberries and a sprig of fresh basil


  • To make jumbo ice cubes, place a capped strawberry in each section of a jumbo ice cube tray. Add 3 blueberries to each section. Pour Ocean Spray Strawberry Cranberry Juice over the strawberries and blueberries to fill the sections in the tray. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze. Water may be substituted for the juice to make these ice cubes.
  • To make cocktail: Cap a strawberry and cut it into small pieces. Place chopped strawberry in a cocktail shaker. Add strawberry basil cocktail syrup. Muddle strawberry pieces with a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Add vodka to the cocktail shaker. Cover shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into cocktail glass. You can remove the cover of the cocktail shaker and pour all of the contents in the cocktail glass. Add jumbo ice cube.
  • Garnish with watermelon star or strawberry, blueberries on a cocktail pick and a sprig of fresh basil. To make watermelon stars, cut rounds of watermelon approximately 1/2" thick and cut out stars with a star cookie cutter.

Have you tasted Bone Doctor’s Sweet and Spicy Barbecue Sauce? Made in Charlottesville, Virginia by two orthopedic doctors who love barbecue. It’s nice and spicy with just a hint of sweetness. Available at Ladles and Linens Kitchen Shoppe or on-line.

BBQ Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

Citrusy and smoky flavors in this delightful shrimp appetizer.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Appetizer
Servings 6


  • 12 extra large, peeled, deveined, shrimp leave tails on shrimp
  • 12 slices pre-cooked bacon
  • 1/3 cup Bone Doctor's Sweet and Spicy Barbecue Sauce
  • 1 large fresh lime


  • Cut bacon slices in half and wrap each shrimp with a half slice of bacon. Place bacon wrapped shrimp on a baking tray.
  • Brush bacon wrapped shrimp liberally with barbecue sauce.
  • Juice the lime and drizzle shrimp with lime juice.
  • In oven, broil shrimp for 5 – 7 minutes. Serve immediately.

Another fun quick appetizer to serve on 4th of July is Saratoga Red White and Blue Potato Chips (available locally at Fresh Market or on-line) served with Wind and Willows Sante Fe Dip. Make the dip ahead of time, pour the chips in a bowl and enjoy the party!

Wishing you and your family a very happy and safe Independence Day!

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