The Sparkler and Firecracker

It is Independence Day, and I know that all of you who keep up with my experiments are eager to know what I will be making.  When searching for ideas, I found an abundance of festive cocktails and found myself in the usual dilemma…so many drinks, so little time.  I found one drink, The Sparkler, and knew right away that I had to make it (you’ll see why in a bit).  The second drink I came across as a happenstance and being the Firecracker, I knew it would be the perfect complement to the first drink.

The Sparkler was intriguing because, well, any Fourth of July cocktail that uses pop rocks to rim the glass MUST be made.  End of story.  I modified the original recipe a little bit (which you can find here).

Ingredients: Cherries (or strawberries), Blueberries, 1.5 oz Blueberry Vodka, Lemon-lime soda, ice, grenadine, Pop Rocks (blue raspberry or cherry)

First rim your glass with Pop Rocks – spread your Pop Rocks into a shallow dish (cherry for red or blue raspberry for blue). Wet the rim with grenadine or simple syrup (or even water) then set into the Pop Rocks. You will notice that the Pop Rocks will start popping, but this will not impact your “experience” of enjoying this drink. Next, put the cherries (or strawberries) on the bottom of a tall Collins glass and drizzle grenadine over top. Add ice to fill the cup 2/3 full – this helps to separate the colors of your drink.  Next add the blueberry vodka then slowly pour in the lemon lime soda (if you pour it in quickly, it will mix in with the grenadine and leave less separation).  Top with a handful of blueberries and enjoy!

I think the Pop Rocks are the best part of this drink – it really makes an explosion in your mouth, which is fun and unusual when you are drinking a cocktail.  The rest of the drink was….meh.  I used a pretty good quality vodka and just didn’t find anything spectacular or unique about the mixture of flavors.  It was festive, though, and would be delightful to serve for the holiday.

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The second drink I made was The Firecracker.  I accidentally came across this recipe (click here) on instagram, of all places, by following @newenglandliving.  I also found the same recipe published as a pitcher cocktail (click here), which is SO helpful if you are preparing cocktails for a larger group.  And, while searching for the link for this post, I found a couple different iterations of this drink, by different names, using gin or rum instead of vodka, which could be tasty as well.

Ingredients: 2 oz vodka, 1 oz cointreau (or triple sec), 1 oz pomegranate juice, 1 oz lime juice, 1 oz simple syrup, and a couple dashes of bitters.

Put all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake.  Strain over ice into a double old-fashioned glass. Garnish with cherries and/or a slice of lime.

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The only disappointing part of making this drink was that I did not rim the glass in Pop Rocks.  No, it’s not the fun, layered red, white, and blue drink….but it is a robust red – and that’s the word that I would use to describe the drink, “robust”.  If you yearn to add more color, add blueberries and blue raspberry Pop Rocks or get a fun, festive pick for the garnish.  Otherwise, this drink lacks nothing.  The flavor is solid, not flimsy.  You get a bit of everything – the pomegranate, lime, and orange – in each sip.  I think it would pair nicely with most Fourth of July cuisine, but who cares?  Make it, I think you’ll like it!

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