Independence Day menus are pretty much a no-brainer; hamburgers, maybe some brats, steaks, pork, or fish, maybe even some barbecue chicken along with the classic potato salad and coleslaw... With all this grilled goodness, your company, and especially the cook, is going to get thirsty. How about something a little different than the brewskis in the cooler? How about some wine cocktails?

Everyone knows about Sangria, and you probably even have a favorite recipe for it. And if you don't, then we have one on here for you, just in case. But, Sangria aside, it is time to mix things up a bit, get refreshed and enjoy the sunshine and kick back in the lounge chair, pool-side.

If you are having more the traditional fare on the grill with burgers, steak or barbecue, this is the perfect Sangria recipe. Be sure to prepare about a day in advance.

The Perfect Sangria


  • 1 very ripe juicy peach, sliced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, sliced
  • 1 small square basket of blackberries, or raspberries if you like it a little on the tart side
  • 2 seasonal plums, sliced (optional)
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup (make mixing 1 part sugar to 1 part boiling water, dissolve sugar and chill)
  • 1/4 cup Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 750ml (1 bottle) your favorite house red wine

How to Prepare the Perfect Sangria

Slice up the apple, orange, peach and plums if you are using them. In a large pitcher, add the sliced fruit and berries with the brandy, simple sugar and Grand Marnier. Allow to sit overnight in your refrigerator. Chill the red wine in the refrigerator too. When you're ready to serve, simply add the bottle of wine to the fruit, brandy and Grand Marnier, mix, and you have Sangria. Pour into glasses over some ice.

The New Wine Cocktail (Sangria aside)

Savory Sweet Apricot-Thyme Wine Cocktail

(makes 1 1/2 liters)


  • 7 apricots
  • 3 ounces filtered water
  • Fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup (make mixing 1 part sugar to 1 part boiling water, dissolve sugar and chill)
  • 750ml - 1 bottle Picpoul Pinet, chilled (check out wines from Languedoc)
  • 750ml - 1 bottle of your favorite Prosecco, chilled
  • 3 ounces fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 2 ounces fresh-squeezed orange juice

How to Prepare Apricot-Thyme Cocktail

First, slice the apricots in half and remove the seeds. In a blender or with a hand-mixer, add 3 ounces of filtered water and puree. Remove enough thyme for a good tablespoon of leaves from the sprigs. Place the thyme in your pitcher and muddle the thyme with a mortar or the back of a wooden spoon to extract the oils. To the pitcher, add the simple syrup, lime and orange juice, and give the mix a good stir. When you are ready to serve, add 1/2 of the bottle of Picpoul Pinet and top off with the Prosecco. Pour in glasses over ice.

*This is a nice wine cocktail to go with grilled fish or fresh herb-marinated grilled chicken.

The Basil-Blueberry Mixer


  • Fresh basil
  • 1 square basket fresh blueberries (or 1 1/4 cup frozen blueberries)
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar (or a bit more if you like it a little sweeter)
  • 750 ml - 1 bottle your favorite red house wine, chilled (un-oaked if possible)
  • 750 ml - 1 bottle of your favorite Brut Sparkling wine, chilled (optional)

How to Prepare Basil-Blueberry Mixer

Blend the blueberries, a good handful of basil leaves, lemon juice and agave nectar to a fine puree. When you are ready to serve, add the blueberry mix to a pitcher, add half the bottle of your red house wine and top with 1/2 bottle of the sparkling wine. If you choose not to use the sparkling wine, use the entire bottle of red house wine. Serve in glasses over ice.

*This makes a great wine cocktail for barbecue chicken, beef and pork!

There you have it. Happy Independence Day and may you enjoy these cocktails and your company this special holiday weekend, throughout the summer and for many hot-weathered weekends to come! Cheers!