Updated: Jun 29
Celebrate this year's 4th of July with some deliciously red, white and blue boozy concoctions, featuring the best spirits from the Tennessee Whiskey Trail. From Margaritas to Martinis and everything in between, with one of these in your hand, you'll be feeling patriotic in no time!
1. Star Spangled Paradise
Featuring Platinum and Coconut Rums from Bootlegger's Distillery in Hartford, Tennessee
Bootlegger's Distillery is a hidden gem, tucked away in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. A moonshine distillery in a tiny shack painted orange, nestled along the Little Pigeon River and set against the backdrop of the Smoky Mountains? Picture perfect! If you happen to find yourself in the area, I highly recommend that you make the drive out to Hartford to visit this distillery to taste their collection of flavored moonshine, whiskey, and rum!
Bootlegger's has been distilling moonshine for 16 generations, and is still a family run operation.They're proud of their craft, and they have every reason to be. As they say on their website and will tell you when you visit, they distill every drop of alcohol that they sell. And it shows in their product.
“If You Only Get One Shot” make it Bootleggers Distillery."
1 oz Grenadine
1 cup of Crushed Ice
1 oz Bootlegger's Coconut Rum
1 oz Bootlegger's Platinum Rum
1 oz Pineapple Juice
2 oz Coconut Water
1/2 oz Blue Curaçao
1 oz Water
The layering of this drink is the key to it's gorgeous appearance. Prepare all three layers in advance, then add each one as follows. In a tall glass, pour the grenadine into the bottom, then add the ice. The ice needs to be crushed in order to hold the layers. Slowly pour layer 2 over the ice, then very slowly pour layer 3 on top. If you just dump it in, it will sink down to the bottom! Garnish with a strawberry and enjoy. Three cheers for the red, white and blue!
2. Americana Moonshine Margarita
Featuring Smooth Shine Tennessee Moonshine from Old Glory Distilling in Clarksville, Tennessee
Old Glory Distilling is just north of Nashville in Clarksville, Tennessee, and believe me, it is more than worth the drive to visit this lone distillery up near the Kentucky border. They have a state of the art production facility, and are happy to tell you all about it on their fun and educational tour and tasting experience. If you make it up here, make plans to stay awhile. Their spirits will tempt you to try out one (or more) of their creative cocktails or slushes!
Old Glory gets an extra nod in my book because they stopped distilling production last year in order to fill the need for hand sanitizer. I like a business that's committed to their community in such a way, and they make very high quality spirits too! I like using Old Glory's Smooth Shine in place of tequila for this Moonshine Margarita because it's got just enough of a kick to rival a good tequila, but goes down dangerously smooth.
"The products we proudly craft are a representation of the hardworking, patriotic, and unyielding character that embodies our city and this great country.
2 oz Smooth Shine TN Moonshine
1 oz Blue Curaçao
1 oz fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
1 Tbsp Granulated Sugar (optional)
Fresh Strawberries (optional)
Wet rim of glass with water, or run a lime around the edge. Scatter the sugar on a small plate. Dip or roll the rim of the glass in sugar to coat. Combine moonshine, sour mix, and Curaçao in a cocktail shaker and shake to combine. Drop ice in by hand to the level desired. Garnish with strawberries.
3. Blueberry Gin Smash
Featuring Tennessee Dry Gin from H. Clark Distillery in Thompson's Station, Tennessee
At H. Clark Distillery, they distill small batch bourbon, whiskey and gin in the picture perfect old town granary in Thompson's Station, just south of Nashville. Using techniques that reflect the tried and true distilling traditions from the past, they became the first legal distillery in the county in over 100 years.
A tasting here is like taking a master class in how to perfect the craft of modern distilling, while honoring the lessons learned from great whiskey makers of times gone by. Although H. Clark's Dry Gin is certainly smooth enough to sip on its own, it also makes a pretty delicious cocktail. I think the delicate botanic flavors go perfectly in this Blueberry Gin Smash.
"Our goal is not to make a lot of spirits. Our goal is to make a little bit, but make it really good." ~ H. Clark Distillery
1 1/2 oz TN Dry Gin
1/2 oz St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
12 - 15 Blueberries
Fill a glass half full with crushed or cubed ice. Place the blueberries in a cocktail shaker or beaker and smash them down with a muddler tool (this can be done in a glass with a spoon as well). Add the liquid ingredients and continue to muddle until the mixture is combined. Shake or stir a few times, then pour over ice. Garnish with fruit.
4. Raspberry Lemonade Sparkler
Featuring Belle Meade Bourbon from Nelson's Greenbrier Distillery in Nashville, Tennessee
The story of Nelson's Green Brier Distillery is one of my most favorite on the entire Tennessee Whiskey Trail. To hear it for yourself you'll have to visit their distillery in Nashville, but it starts with the journey of a 15 year old immigrant from Germany and ends with dusting off a bourbon recipe more than a century old. With a selection of classic whiskey and bourbon and a little something they call Louisa's liqueur, they've taken the Nashville distillery scene by storm.
Belle Meade Bourbon is distilled using a recipe that was resurrected after more than 100 years. To hear the full story, I highly recommend a visit to their location in the old Marathon Motor Works factory on Clinton Street. Reservations are recommended, and tours are required to sample their spirits. The tour is totally worth it, and their products are top notch!
"The past, present, and future of bourbon." ~ Nelson's Green Brier distillery website
1 1/2 oz Belle Meade Bourbon
3 oz Raspberry Lemonade
1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
3 oz Ginger Beer or Ginger Ale
Blueberries and Strawberries
Fill a glass half full with ice. Combine bourbon, lemonade, lime juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Shake to combine and pour over ice. Top with ginger beer or ginger ale. Garnish with fruit arranged on a toothpick. For larger rimmed glasses, use two toothpicks (one coming in from each side of the strawberry).
5. Blueberry Mule
Featuring Big Machine Vodka from Tenn South Distillery in Lynnville, Tennessee
Tenn South Distillery, now partnered with Big Machine Distillery, is the original and main production facility for the merged pair, located in the quaint little town of Lynnville about an hour south of Nashville in the Tennessee countryside. You can visit one of their two locations in downtown Nashville, or tour the distillery out in Lynnville and sample their hand-made craft spirits at the tasting room on site.
Using artesian water from the wells located on the property and locally sourced grains, they proudly distill their Big Machine Platinum Filtered Premium Vodka, Clayton James Tennessee Whiskey, and All Mighty 140 Shine.
"Made from 100% corn, Big Machine Vodka is distilled in small batches through our specially designed vodka still. After distilling, it is run through a 3 tier filter containing a combination of precious metals and other materials including real platinum. This process creates “The Smoothest Tasting Vodka, Period!” ~ Big Machine Vodka website
2 oz Big Machine Vodka
1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
3 - 4 oz Ginger Beer
12 - 15 Blueberries
Fill a glass half full with crushed or cubed ice. Place the blueberries in a cocktail shaker or beaker and smash them down with a muddler tool (this can be done in a glass with a spoon as well). Add vodka, lime juice, simple syrup, and a few dashes of lemon bitters. Continue to muddle until the mixture is combined. Shake or stir a few times, then pour over ice. Top with ginger beer and garnish with fruit.
6. Patriotic Pomegranate Martini
Featuring Memphis Vodka from Old Dominick Distillery in
Old Dominick is a modern distillery built on 150 years of tradition. Being the only West Tennessee distillery on the official Tennessee Whiskey Trail, it has a lot to live up to; and it does not disappoint! They've really hit the mark with informative and engaging tours of their state of their state-of-the-art distillery and a fun history lesson on how it all started with an Italian immigrant who came to Memphis at the age of 16.
A visit to Old Dominick Distillery in a newly revitalized area of downtown Memphis offers a chance to whet your palate with a selection of spirits and creative cocktails at their tasting bar. The flavor profile in their Memphis Vodka is perfect in a martini, mule, or any other vodka based cocktail!
"Made from only the choicest ingredients, our 80 proof Memphis Vodka can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks or as the illuminating base for your favorite cocktail.
1 1/2 oz Old Dominick Vodka
2 oz Pomegranate Juice
1 oz Cointreau (orange liqueur)
1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup (optional)
Lemon peel (optional)
In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, cointreau, pomegranate juice, and lemon juice. You can include simple syrup if you like sweeter drinks. Add crushed ice to the level equal with the liquid. Shake until your hand gets cold and strain into glass (remaining ice should stay in the shaker). Garnish with blueberries and lemon twist if desired.
Cheers and Happy 4th of July! Please drink responsibly.
For more fun cocktail recipes, check out my Travel Inspired Cocktails page, or one of my other recipe collections below!