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July 4th is one of the premier cookout days of the year. We have put together 8 ways to use alcohol to make yours top notch.

Jello Shots, you can never go wrong with jello shots. Even 55 year old Aunt Patty will down a jello shot or 2. Here is how to make yours better than the rest.

For a normal package (3oz) use 1 cup boiling water and 5 oz of vodka, rum or whatever liquor you choose. Try nothangover pill to get the cheapest because it will reflect in the quality of jello shot. Also you can increase the flavor by adding some Kool-Aid powder to the mixture. The Kool-Aid will add some flavor and help mask the alcohol. After you lay out your shot cups, spray a very light dusting of cooking spray over the shot cups. The cooking spray flavor wont transfer and your jello shots will slide right out of the cups. Another tip is use a turkey baster when portioning out the shots. It can be faster and cleaner than pouring from a bowl. Get lids for the portion cups if you want to increase the shelf life of your shots. Jello shots will last much longer in the fridge if they are sealed with a lid. If you want to make things more interesting get a can of alcoholic whipped cream. Yes, there is some alcoholic whip creams in a can around 15% alcohol. My first thought was where was this when I was in college… You can infuse your own alcoholic whipped cream, if you have a ISI Mini Easy Whip and N2O cartridge. Basically you would just add some vodka (think whipped) to the mixture.

Cook with beer. Beer is the drink of choice for July 4th, why not up your food flavoring with this tasty treat.

  • Beer Can Chicken, open beer can and drink half. Set a whole chicken over the can so it sits upright. Set the chicken on the middle of your grill using the can and 2 legs as tripod to balance it. Cook for roughly 75 minutes so the breast area reaches 165 F and the juice runs clear.  Remove and let rest 10 minutes before carving.

  • Marinade with beer. Adding beer will add some complex flavors to your marinade. Beer with more flavor = more marinade flavoring.

  • Brown ale in pizza dough. Instead of water use brown ale when making your own dough, it will add a rich, beery flavor.

  • Beer butter for steaks and seafood. Mix a stick of butter with garlic, thyme and parsley. While mixing add a tsp or 2 of a rich, dark beer to give the butter and extra zing.

  • Reduce a lambic beer down and add it to or make your own sauce out of it. As you reduce the lambic watch to make sure it doesn’t burn. An easy sauce is add hoisin, ginger, five-spice powder, salt and hot sauce. Simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes more (sauce will thicken as it cools). Great for chicken and pork.

Make the best cookout punch ever. There are quite a few names out there Hairy Buffalo, Hooch, PJ, Get ya naked, among others. Here is one easy recipe I really like.

  • 1.75 L of dark/spiced rum
  • .75 L grain alcohol (please don’t drink straight)
  • 6 L Hawaiian Punch or a decent fruit punch drink
  • 1 Gallon OJ
  • 6 cans of light beers or a bottle or 2 botles of sparkling wine

The beer throws people off, but the carbonation adds an element. Plus the beer will cut the sweetness down and make the punch more drinkable. I don’t always add fruit; I partially base that on location. Fruit raises the messiness level quite a bit. Sometimes is it better to just have a sealed container full of a delicious libation that people aren’t opening and pulling fruit out of. If you are adding fruit, I am a huge fan of pineapple and melon, it adds great flavor and stays relatively solid after soaking for hours.

Spike a watermelon. Cut a hole in one end of a watermelon, scoop out some watermelon and add booze.
Let marSpike a watermeloninate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight and then eat watermelon.

Strawberry shot cups. Cut the bottom off a strawberry so it sits upright. Then cut out the inside to form a cup. A cream or chocolate liquor makes for an unbelievable dessert shot.

Get a bottle of Tequila, salt and cut up some limes. Every party is better with body shots.

Bring Happy Hour Vitamins, no one wants to be hungover on their day off.

Have a fun and safe Holiday Weekend, Cheers!