Our favorite 4th of July cocktail recipe! This citrusy red, white, and blue layered drink recipe is perfect for summer parties and backyard BBQs. Have you ever seen such a patriotic cocktail?
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Please read the entire post for tips and tricks to ensure a perfect recipe every time. And don't forget to tag @peelwithzeal on Instagram so we can admire your creation!
Since I was making 4th of July jello shots, I figured it was important to keep the fourth of July theme going with this red, white, and blue cocktail.
It isn't fancy, or expensive to make but it is perfect for Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day! Plus it is a nice change from my tropical jungle juice recipe.
Why This Recipe Works
This layered drink is easy to make but needs clear lines to prevent the colors from bleeding together. Two things have to happen to ensure clear lines.
First, we have to layer the ingredients in a specific order, so they don't immediately bleed together. And second, the pouring technique is critical. Nice and slow.
We won't be slinging drinks like the bartenders in Cocktail (you know the really old movie, right???)
This recipe makes 2 cocktails. While you can't batch make this cocktail it does come together quickly, and no cocktail shaker is needed.
For this recipe, you need vodka and then red, white, and blue elements. Grenadine is the red layer and adds sweetness.
The white layer is lemonade and vodka. Because the red and blue layers are very sweet, I suggest a lightly sweetened lemonade. You can make your own but for store-bought, I prefer the Simply Lemonade brand.
The blue layer is Blue Curacao liqueur. Blue curacao is a citrus-flavored liquor, like triple sec. While there are high-quality high-end brands, I suggest keeping things basic for this cocktail.
For the vodka, use any brand of unflavored vodka you like. I know it can be tempting to add more flavor but there is a lot going on in this drink and want to keep things balanced.
See the recipe card for exact quantities.
⏲️How to Make a Layered Cocktail
For this drink, you want a tall glass. I usually use a pint glass or fluted water glass.
Step 1- Red Layer
Divide the grenadine between your 2 glasses. Then fill your glass with ice.
Do not add the ice first. The grenadine is thick and will coat the ice cubes turning the whole drink pink when you add the white layer.
Step 2- White Layer
Mix together the vodka and lemonade. You can do this in a cocktail shaker. I typically just stir it together in a glass measuring cup because it has a nice spout for pouring.
SLOWLY pour in the lemonade. Some people recommend pouring over the back of a spoon but I found that it created more of a splash for this particular layer. A slow and steady pour worked better.
Step 3- Blue Layer
Place a spoon upside down over the glass and slowly pour the blue curacao over the spoon. Just like bartenders make a black and tan. The purpose of the spoon is to cascade the liquid because it is heavier than the blue layer.
After doing this several times I felt like I mastered how slow you have to pour in the blue curacao (it is really, really slow) and I could achieve the look without using the spoon.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tip
While batch making this cocktail isn't ideal for this recipe you can set up a cocktail station for party guests to help themselves.
Mix the lemonade and vodka in a pitcher. Pour the grenadine into individual glasses and stage with the blue curacao and an ice bucket along with instructions.
Frankly, it is hilarious to see people compete and try different techniques to get the most perfect layers.
💭 Non-Alcoholic Option
You can make a non-alcoholic Red, White, and Blue drink by using this blue curacao syrup instead. Or you can use blue Gatorade (although admittedly, I don't love the taste of that).
💬Frequently Asked Questions
This liqueur is made using the dried peel of the Laraha citrus fruit giving it a citrus flavor similar to triple sec. The blue color comes from a dye and doesn't affect the taste.
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Red, White and Blue Cocktail
- 2 tall glasses
- soup spoon
- 2 oz grenadine
- 6 oz lemonade
- 3 oz vodka
- 2 oz blue curacao
- Pour 1 ounce of grenadine into each glass, fill with ice.2 oz grenadine
- Mix together the lemonade and vodka. Very slowly pour the lemonade into each glass.6 oz lemonade, 3 oz vodka
- Again hold the upside down spoon over the glass, SLOWLY pour blue curacao over to create the blue layer. Serve immediately.2 oz blue curacao
- Refer to post for visual layering technique to ensure separation between layers.
- The drink will eventually mix together as the ice melts.