Before Tempe moved its fireworks display to Town Lake, our family spent many Fourth of July holidays shacked up atop The Buttes resort overlooking Tempe Diablo Stadium. We'd swim, play and sip cocktails poolside during daylight hours, then clean up for dinner and head over to the stadium for the spectacular fireworks show. What a treat.
Sometimes, if the kids were cranky, or we were too sapped from the heat or drinks, we'd merely stroll out to the balcony of our room to take in the display. You've read all those stories about locals vacationing in-town during the summer months to take advantage of low rates at great places? Well, The Buttes was about as good as it got for the Fourth - especially when you consider the potent combination of fireworks, a beautiful resort setting and poolside cocktail service. Oh, yeah.
The Mrs. and I, and the other families that joined in, always made sure to order red, white or blue drinks, color-appropriate for any Fourth celebration. Strawberry daiquiris or margaritas, piña coladas and blue Hawaiians were ordered - usually in that order - until we couldn't stomach another.
The annual melee led to experimenting with these colors on my own in the kitchen, where I've managed to expand beyond this "Love Boat"-style drink menu. The product of my drinks research is below for your own Fourth of July planning party.
Unfortunately, it looks like the days of celebrating the holiday with fireworks at The Buttes is over, but we can always cross our fingers for the proposed Mandarin hotel at Tempe Town Lake. Three cheers for the Stars and Stripes and red, white and blue cocktails!
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2 ounces raspberry-flavored vodka, such as Absolut
2 ounces blueberry-flavored vodka
2 ounces white cranberry juice
1 ounce fresh lime juice
Fresh raspberries and blueberries for garnish
Preparation: Combine vodkas and juices into a shaker filled with ice and shake and chill until very cold. Strain into martini-style glass.
2 ounces vodka
1 ounce gin
1 ounce blue curaçao
2 ounces sweet and sour mix
2-3 ounces lemon-lime soda
Lemon twist for garnish
Preparation: Combine vodka, gin, blue cura硯 into a shaker filled with ice and shake until very cold. Strain into a cooler glass filled with ice and top with lemon-lime soda. Stir, garnish with lemon twist and serve.
STARS AND STRIPES DAIQUIRI
8 ounces silver rum
8 ounces lime sour mix
2 ounces fresh lime juice
Mini U.S. flags on toothpicks
Preparation: Fill a blender with 2 cups of ice and add rum, sour mix and lime juice. Whip and add ice as needed to achieve firm, icy consistency. Pour into daiquiri glasses and drizzle grenadine and blue cura硯. Garnish with lime wedge.
THE 48TH STATE
3 ounces premium tequila (100 percent agave)
2 ounces premium orange liqueur, such as Cointreau
2 ounces fresh lime juice
1 ounce prickly pear puree
Splash of grenadine
Lime wedges for garnish
Mini U.S. and Arizona flags on a toothpick
Preparation: For prickly pear puree, buy two de-thorned cactus pears and peel and dice. Drop into small sauce pan with 2 ounces water and 2 tablespoons sugar. Cook until pureed (10 minutes) and allow to cool. Combine tequila, orange liqueur, juices, puree and grenadine into a shaker with ice and shake until very cold. Moisten rim of margarita or double old fashioned glass with lime wedge and coat rim of glass with salt. Fill glass with ice and strain mixture. Garnish with lime wedge.