Thursday, June 20, 2013

Patriotic Cocktails: Star-Spangled Barbecue

Hey Gals!  We are so excited to kick-off our 4th of July party spotlight with one of the most important aspects to any party – the drink menu!! When B and I set about planning our star-spangled soiree, we immediately knew that we wanted to serve punch out of a watermelon boat.  What is more American than a cocktail served out of a watermelon!?  Plus, given the hot July heat, we knew it would be just the refreshing thirst quencher that our guests would be craving! 

Our inspiration, courtesy of Martha
So we purchased the biggest watermelon we could find, and the night before the party carved out our boat.  We decided on a simple design which was pretty easy to carve out.  Be sure to save as much as the watermelon guts as possible, since this is the key ingredient to the punch.  Also, we thought it would be cute to cut out stars in the watermelon, so we tried to keep as much of the watermelon whole as possible, and then used a star cookie cutter to punch out the shapes – it turned out super cute if I do say so myself!  Store the watermelon and the boat in the fridge overnight to ensure it keeps fresh.  To make the actual punch, we decided to use vodka as our main alcohol, and then added in some lemon lime soda and prosecco for fizz.  It was not only delicious, but refreshing.  Though, do watch out, because this punch packs a punch! 

The finished product - it definitely tasted as good as it looks!  And sorry Martha.. our boat is cuter than yours!

Since the watermelon punch would serve as our signature cocktail, we kept the other drink options simple.  This brings me to an important party planning tip – Keep your menu focused on a particular theme or signature item and don’t go overboard!  When in doubt, keep it simple!  Of course you want to offer a couple different options in case your guests don’t like your signature cocktail choice (though this was not the case with our watermelon boat – it was a hit!) but don’t make yourself crazy preparing a full bar!  Not only is this a very costly undertaking, but it also overwhelms your guests when there are too many options!  Plus, do you really want to be play bartender all day instead of enjoying the party with your guests?  We certainly did not, so we simply picked up a couple bottles of white wine (which never goes bad in the event that there are bottles left over), and some six packs of beer and viola – the bar was set!   Well, I guess that’s a slight lie since we also offered some fun shots to get the party started! 

B and I couldn’t resist serving two different patriotic shots. We had started a tradition a while back where we offer our guests a welcome shot when they arrive.  It’s always something fun and on the sweet side, and we find that our guests love it and helps to get everyone in the party mood!
For our 4th of July welcome shot, we decided on something called an “Old Glory” shot, which had 3 different alcohols layered in red, white and blue.  Sounds amazing – right?!  Well turns out the layered appearance was really hard (meaning impossible!) to actually create, and resulted in a purpley murky sort of creation.  Also, the taste left a little something to be desired.  So not our finest welcome shot, but luckily we were able to ride high on our watermelon boat and laugh off our jokey layered shot attempt!  In case you are interested in try to recreate the Old Glory (good luck!), I’ve included the recipe and instructions below. 

Looks so simple.. 

Our last drink offering was patriotic jello shots!  While some people mock the jello shot, we happen to be huge fans, and without fail, our party guests go nuts for them every time!  So in keeping with our theme, we decided to try and layer red and blue jello.  Turns out layering really is not our forte!!  They turned purple, so after a couple of failed attempts, we just stuck to making the two colors separately.  Jello crisis averted!  About halfway through the party, we brought out these little treats for our guests and as usual, they did not disappoint!  They are super easy to make (as long as you keep it simple, and don’t layer!), and I’ve include a basic jello shot recipe below.  The very best part about these is that they need to be made in advance, so it’s one less thing to worry about when you’re in party time crunch mode right before your guests arrive!

Jello inspiration.. I'll spare you the pics of what ours actually looked like

Hope this has left all of you Gals out there inspired (and thirsty!).  Stay tuned for Part 2!

- M


  1. I agree, Gals, your boat is incredible and does trump Martha! I also agree with your suggestions about sticking to a theme and not going overboard. That way, the hosts can focus on making everything delish and pretty and still enjoy themselves at the party :)

  2. Thanks!! I’m sure our honorary Gal would also approveof our boozy watermelon boat – perhaps we can make it when we finally get to guest bartend on WWHL!

    And I’m glad you’re in agreement with our party tip – nothing worse than not getting to enjoy your own party!


Thanks for visiting The Sequin Notebook! We LOVE hearing from you :)
B & M

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