Family barbecues, patriotism, and booze – the three things that encapsulate July Fourth. But, other than the obvious patriotism, how and why did the two B’s come into the equation? Let’s dive into each of these Independence Day pillars:

barbeque hero
It may seem obvious that the Fourth of July is America’s most popular grilling holiday, but the history engrained behind it definitely is not.

Virginia colonists had been smoking large animals over a pit way before the nation’s founding, but the practice became a tradition in the early 1800’s. During that time, political leaders staged rallies marking Independence Day, and roasting large animals like oxen and whole pigs were used as a way of drawing crowds.

Then, during the 20th century, when the US population moved from the country to the city and then suburbs, festivities became a family affair. Pre-World War II era magazine ads talked continuously about families staging “backyard barbecues,” as the charcoal grill became popularized.

Today, spending on barbecue essentials is ginormous, with last year’s sales totaling $6.6 billion.

Do you feel smarter? You should.

Anyway, after going down the internet rabbit hole, I believe I’ve found the best of the best. Not your average burger and dogs.

Grilled Buttermilk Chicken
grilled buttermilk chicken
Recipe courtesy of Kate Merker for Real Simple

Honey-Glazed Baby Back Ribs with Whiskey Marinade
Recipe courtesy of

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Lime Butter
corn tyler
Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence for Food Network

booze hero
Booze has played a part of celebratory festivities since the first Independence Day anniversary celebration. On July 4th, 1777, cannons were fired, a parade was held, and 13 toasts were done; 12 commemorating a state in the union, one being reserved for American women. Girl power! At the same time, General George Washington distributed double rations of rum to all of his soldiers. Years after, in the mid-1830’s, “volunteer toasts” became a regularity after the first 13 had commenced, with topics ranging from contemporary political issues to celebrating war heroes.

See? Americans have loved drinking since the beginning of US (get it?)

Okay, now that you’ve had your history lesson, it is time for the good stuff – the recipes.  Your top three cocktails. Here goes:

RED – Watermelon Blueberry Cooler
red cocktail
Recipe courtesy of

WHITE – Red, White, & Blue Gin & Tonic
white drink
Recipe courtesy of

BLUE – Finding Nemo
Recipe courtesy of Food & Wine

 Happy Fourth of July, Slicers!