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And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air …!” So goes our National Anthem – and praise be – this year fireworks extravaganzas will be back in most places! I missed many things last Independence Day – picnics, concerts, the camaraderie of friends and family – but maybe most of all I missed the fireworks. I ran across a recipe for a cocktail that, quite literally, will set off mini-fireworks in your mouth. The nice thing is – kids will love it, too (sans alcohol, of course).

STAR SPANGLED PUNCH

In a large pitcher combine:

10 oz. cranberry juice

8 oz. pomegranate juice

6 oz. citrus vodka

Stir to mix and chill for several hours.

To serve: Coat the rims of cocktail glasses with agave syrup. Pour a packet or two of Pop Rocks Tropical Punch candy (blue) in a shallow dish. Roll each glass rim in the candy to form a thin layer of blue on each.

Put ice in each glass and fill with the red punch.

For the kid-friendly version simply omit the vodka. And they likely won’t complain if you coat their glass rims with a thicker layer of candy.

I saw Tito’s Vodka at J.P.’s last week, the bottles all decked out in a patriotic red, white, and blue drawstring bag. What a great hostess gift if you’re fortunate enough, as my wife and I are, to be invited to a cookout at someone else’s home (no grill to heat, no mess to clean up, no dishes to wash – yeah, I’ll spring for a bottle of vodka).

Tito’s is the all-American vodka, handcrafted in Texas and quite nice on the palate. Those Russians may have beat us in the vodka race, but we were first on the moon and now Tito’s gives their homeland spirit a run for the money!

I like their website’s recipe for this one.

RED, WHITE, & BOOZY

1-½ oz. Tito’s Vodka

3 oz. soda water

2 oz. cranberry juice

5 blueberries

Add vodka and cranberry juice to a glass with filled with ice.

Slowly pour in soda water for a layering effect.

Drop in a few blueberries and enjoy.

If you add the soda water CAREFULLY it will rest in a layer atop the vodka and juice mixture. Then, the blueberries on top of the ice complete the patriotic color scheme. If you have tiny flags on picks this is the time to break them out.

No matter how you celebrate I hope you enjoy fireworks in your glass and overhead in the night sky, here in the Golden Isles, U.S.A – land of the free and home of the brave!