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Photo originally uploaded to Flickr by user Thomas Hawk. Used under Creative Commons License CC BY-NC 2.0.

Photo originally uploaded to Flickr by user Thomas Hawk. Used under Creative Commons License CC BY-NC 2.0.

Nothing says “4th of July weekend” like firing up the grill and throwing on some burgers. And the obvious choice is to pair those burgers with beer. But if you want to class things up a bit, here are some wine and cocktail suggestions.


You really can’t go wrong with burgers and Zin. It’s a full-bodied wine that can stand up to a hearty meat, but it’s not so overpowering that you don’t want to drink it in July. Most Zinfandels carry a lot of dark fruits on the palate – cherries, plums, blackberries. Tannins make an appearance but won’t leave your mouth feeling dry. Zinfandel also has a wonderful peppery spiciness to it that matches well with the flavor of grilled meats.

Wines to try: Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Zinfandel 2012, Rodney Strong Estate Knotty Vines Zinfandel 2012, Sobon Zinfandel Old Vines (my personal favorite on this list).

Pimm’s Cup


Pimm’s Cup at the Oval Room in DC.

A quintessential British summer drink, the Pimm’s Cup is labor-intensive, but delicious. You’ll need a lot of fruit, and a bottle of Pimm’s No. 1, which any liquor store worth its salt will carry. (I make no promises, those of you who live in liquor backwaters, including the entire state of Pennsylvania.)

Recipes are easy to come by, but here’s one from Food & Wine. If you’re anything like me, you’ll enjoy the irony of drinking a British classic on Independence Day.

Gin & Tonic

The Classic.

The Classic.

Ah, the old classic. And it’s a classic for a reason. Light and refreshing, it’s just the thing to kick off a summer evening. Different gins will give you different-tasting results. If you’re a fan of cucumber, I recommend Hendrick’s. If lime is your game, try my mother-in-law’s favorite, Tanqueray Rangpur Lime. For a stiff drink, use a Navy-strength gin, like Leopold’s. And if you’re a whiskey drinker, maybe try St. George’s Dry Rye Gin.

Horse’s Neck

On the other hand, ff you’re a whiskey drinker who just wants whiskey, I recommend the Horse’s Neck, which is simply Bourbon, ginger ale or ginger beer, and a lemon wedge or strip. YUM.

Happy Independence Day, everyone!