If you are hosting an Independence Day get-together, you have probably already planned menus and hit the store.  I just returned and it was a mad-house so I am pretty sure I am late on this post, but I wanted to throw out some ideas for cocktails and wines that can please most palates.

When planning drink options, I consider food and numbers.  The more intimate the gathering, the higher the price point for wines.  As much as would love to extend the same “love” at large gatherings, I am just too darn frugal and there are so many great options that are reasonable. For large gatherings, I often plan one signature cocktail and then have some large format or Monday wines.  Here are some suggestions that will please, no matter what the size of your holiday affair.

I was really pleased with all of the Robert Mondavi *samples I received.  The Riesling was bright and not too sweet.  Great for the heat.  The Zin and Pinot were versatile, fruit forward and smooth.  We served the Meritage slightly chilled and I really enjoyed the Bordeaux style blend. It would pair well with steaks on the grill.  Each of the above run about $10. The Woodbridge line also comes in large format. 

If it is super hot, you can’t go wrong with a Vinho Verde.  Some are better than others.  I like Famega, Gazela, and Aveleda.  Low in alcohol and price point, this slightly effervescent wine is a summer favorite.  You can sip through your party and remain a good host.

If you want to stretch your wine a little farther, make a Sangria.  I plan to do a white sangria with blueberries and strawberries to keep it festive.  I will probably throw in some Elderflower liqueur (St. Germain-$35ish or Thatchers Organic -$17ish) and seltzer as well.

You could also do a signature cocktail.  One of my current favorites is Thatcher’s Elderflower, Vodka, Lemon juice, Thyme, and seltzer.  It is pretty, tasty, and you can make a pitcher ahead of time and be done.  Another yummy summer one is a Blueberry or Watermelon Mojito.  Watermelon is good for your love life, too, guys.

Keeping it casual but want a fun new beer?  There are a lot of cans now that are actually higher end brews.  One of my husband’s current faves is Austin Beerworks Pearl Snap Pils.  Dale’s Pale Ale out of Colorado is super tasty, too.   

Whatever you are drinking, be safe, be smart, and have a great holiday!

*{Disclosure: I was provided with this wine from PR Firm, Folsom & Associates. All statements and opinions expressed in this article are my own.}