Rosemary asked me to plan what I consider the perfect Fourth of July celebration and this is what I came up with. Of course, it starts and ends with Bourbon. It is America’s official beverage. Rye, vodka, gin and other spirits can be made anywhere, but Bourbon has to be made in the United States. To celebrate America’s birthday, I would start the day off with the Truman breakfast – what President Truman ate every morning. This is one egg, one slice of bacon, toast, a fruit cup, a glass of milk and a shot of Old Grand Dad.

After breakfast, I would fire up the grill to smoke some baby back ribs, slow and low. While tending the grill, I would have a whiskey sour or two made with Old Forester Signature (editor’s note: this is now called Old Forester 100 proof). I would also make my signature Bourbon baked beans using Very Old Barton Bonded. I am sure that Matt and Becca and the rest of Rosemary’s family would be coming over to join us, so Matt could make his famous whiskey sours using egg whites, so we would need plenty of eggs and fresh lemons. You can see the Instagram video of him making Whiskey Sours on my Instagram page.

With dinner, I would make Old Fashioned cocktails with Maker’s 46. I know, people say I don’t like Maker’s 46 because I find it too tannic, but I have to admit, it makes the best Old Fashioned cocktails. I would make them without the muddled fruit as the recipe in Tom Bullock’s book, The Ideal Bartender. 

For dessert, nothing is more American than apple pie and vanilla ice cream. I would pour some Nelson’s Green Brier Tennessee whiskey to have with dessert. It is made with wheat as the flavoring grain and I find the rich caramel flavors pair well with both the apple pie and the Ice cream. Nelson’s Green Brier, while technically not a Bourbon, but a Tennessee whiskey, is still made only in America – Tennessee to be specific. 

After dinner and before dark, I would serve Manhattans while relaxing either on the front porch or in the backyard in the shade of the trees. I know Rosemary and Maggie did a study and determined Michter’s Barrel Strength Rye makes the best Manhattan, but this is an American spirit day only, so I would use the Michter’s Barrel Strength Bourbon in the Manhattans. 

After the sun goes down and the neighborhood fireworks start, I would serve everyone their favorite Bourbon. On the rocks, with a splash of water or neat, I would keep it simple so everyone can enjoy the fireworks. In any case, I would make sure that they had a tall glass of water by their side so they could stay hydrated after the long day of celebrating. 

This is my idea of the perfect day of celebration on the Fourth of July. Good food, good friends and family and good Bourbon make for the perfect day of celebration. Just be sure to pace yourself and to drink responsibly.

Old Forester Signature has changed to Old Forester 100 Proof

Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller