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Drink What You Desire: Flag Code Punch

Celebrate your independent spirit with this July 4th-themed cocktail.
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Welcome back to Drink What You Desire, the monthly column where we explore the art and science of mixing drinks via the lens of innate human desires. Last month we explored queer identity and belonging. This month we’re celebrating an iconic American summer holiday, the 4th of July, through the lens of our innate desire for idealism.

Those of you have been following along these past few months surely must have noticed a pattern here: I have been contextualizing cocktail recipes by discussing them alongside a certain desire. I have not been pulling these out of a hat. So far, the desires detailed have been from psychologist Steven Reiss, who worked to understand our intrinsic human motivations, i.e., what makes us tick. He laid out 16 basic desires and theorized that all humans were motivated by them to greater or lesser degrees.

The Bedrock of America

This month, as many of us are planning outdoor festivities, we take a look at idealism, or our desire for social justice and fairness. Whether or not our country lives up to the ideals upon which it was ostensibly founded is a question best left to historians, but nonetheless, it is easy to use this time to reflect on how well we as individuals manifest an innate desire for equity, freedom, and justice in our lives.

And a great way to do that is with a drink that’s meant for a crowd. This literal red-white-and-blue punch gets its color from blue curaçao, which, despite the exotic name and color, is simply just orange liqueur dyed blue. Bourbon is a uniquely corn-based American whiskey and there’s no need to splurge on expensive stuff; a decent brand like Wild Turkey or Four Roses would be perfect—even a Tennessee whiskey like Jack Daniel’s or George Dickel would do in a pinch.

Make This Independence Day Colorful

The red-and-white flourish comes from the layered ice cubes. The process is slightly tricky, so it might pay to do a few practice cubes before the big day. If done right, they somewhat resemble red fireworks against a translucent white background, or red stars. One final tip if serving this drink in a scorching hot environment: chill all the ingredients—including the liquor—for a few hours before mixing. This will ensure the longevity of your cubes and make sure this drink is refreshing and delicious down to the last drop.

Flag Code Punch: The Recipe

Makes 4 to 6 drinks.

Ingredients

Chilled sparkling water

Blue Curaçao

Bourbon

Simple syrup

Fresh lemon juice

Strawberry-milk ice cubes

(see below)

Quantity

3½ cups

1 cup

½ cup

½ cup

½ cup

8 to 10

In a large punch bowl, or pitcher, combine all ingredients. Stir gently to combine all ingredients. Serve in individual old fashioned glasses, or red Solo cups.

Strawberry-Milk Ice Cubes

Makes 12 cubes.

12 strawberries, with tops trimmed off

Whole milk (or alternative non-dairy milk)

Filtered water, chilled

Put the trimmed strawberries, flat side down, in an empty silicone ice cube tray. Add a small amount of milk to each, but not so much that the strawberries start floating. Place in the freezer to harden for at least half a day, or longer, depending on your freezer. Remove from freezer and top with very cold water and quickly return tray to freeze for another half day, or overnight. To use cubes, pull from freezer about 10-15 minutes before serving and then gently pop the cubes out.

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