These Rocky Mountain cocktails will lift your spirits ever higher during your Independence Day celebration.

With the awe-inspiring backdrop of Rocky Mountain peaks in a picturesque Victorian-style mountain town, Breckenridge Colorado, hosts one of the nation’s best Fourth of July celebrations. A cool alternative to the beach, this high-mountain town boasts summer temperatures in the 70s during the day with cooler temperatures at night.

The day begins with a 10K trail run or rolling into the annual Firecracker 50 Mountain Bike Race followed by everyone’s favorite, the Main Street parade. Next, the Breckenridge Street Arts Festival takes over town celebrating street, pavement and graffiti arts with outdoor murals, installations, workshops, and pop-up art. Live music includes a performance by the National Repertory Orchestra starting at 8 p.m. Fireworks are launched from the Gondola parking lots, making them visible throughout town.

While you’re at it, get into a bunch of Centennial State summer activities, including biking, hiking, summer dog-sledding, and more. If you can’t make it, perhaps these cocktail recipes — one a twist on the Bourbon Smash, the other from the world’s highest distillery — will take you there in spirit.

Stars & Stripes

Courtesy Breckenridge Distillery

Blueberry jam ice cubes (recipe follows)
1½ ounces Breckenridge Vodka"
Strawberry sugar, for glass rim (recipe follows)
Top with sprite

Blueberry Jam Ice Cubes

12 ounces blueberry jam
16 ounces water
4 ounces sugar

In a pot over medium heat, add blueberry jam, (you can muddle fresh blueberries in addition), water, and sugar.  Stir until dissolved. Let cool, then pour into ice molds for freezing

Strawberry Sugar

½ cup freeze-dried strawberries
¼ cup granulated sugar

Place strawberries in a coffee or spice grinder or food processor; process until very finely ground. Pour into a bowl. Add sugar and stir well.

Rim the top of a wet glass with strawberry sugar. Drop in desired number of ice cubes. Pour in vodka and top with Sprite.

Rocky Mountain Cherry Bomb

Courtesy Rocky Mountain Underground

2 ounces cherry-infused Breckenridge Bourbon, or preferred bourbon (cherry infusion recipe follows)
Mint (5 or so leaves), plus more for garnish
2 lime wedges

Muddle mint and limes wedges in a cocktail shaker. Add cherry-infused bourbon. Shake with ice. Double strain over ice into rocks glass. Garnish with mint and 2 bourbon infused cherries.

Cherry-infused Bourbon*

1 cup cherries
1 cup bourbon

Score cherries (no need to pit). Combine cherries and bourbon in a mason jar and let sit in a dark spot for 1 – 4 weeks, shake daily.  (Note: Frequent tasting is recommended to ensure desired flavor). Strain bourbon into separate jar, and keep cherries for garnish.

* Some people add sugar to their infusions, but you can always add a dash of simple syrup to the cocktail when making if someone prefers a sweeter drink.

All images courtesy Breckenridge, Colorado. For more information on Breckenridge, visit the city’s website.

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