More than 20 different nations around the world honor independence days, and that means drinks are in order.
USA, Thursday, July 4: Each state in the union makes wine, even Alaska. Let's focus on a region a little more tried and true. This holiday, settle down in the park to watch fireworks with a bottle of Stinson Vineyards' Sauvignon Blanc from Virginia ($22). Crisp, refreshing and citrusy, this is a lovely wine from the first state to experiment with cultivating vines. Our forefathers would be proud.
Argentina, Tuesday, July 9: One of the broadest boulevards in the world, La Nueve de Julio reminds Argentines and their visitors of this most important date in the country's history. And the Lopez Noceti 1919 Malbec ($12) reminds all wine drinkers what a wonderful region Mendoza is for wine. This Malbec is rich and luscious and the perfect beverage to pair with a burger freely topped with blue cheese and crisp bacon.
France, Sunday, July 14: France's revolution opened up a whole new world of wine for us plebeians. Wines that were originally meant for nobility, are now readily available to us, like the Georges Duboeuf Clos de Quatre Vents Fleurie ($19). Lots of red fruit flavors and a smooth texture make this wine a friendly pairing for kabobs, chicken (grilled or slathered with BBQ sauce), or a nice charred hot dog with ketchup and relish.
Belgium, Sunday, July 21: No, there's no wine in Belgium but practically the entire country is a brewery. One of the most well-known beers to make its way to these Yankee shores is Stella Artois ($15/12 pack). The beer is slightly hoppy with a clean finish; a refreshing drink to quench the grill master's thirst. If you want to show your independent streak, try a fruit lambic like the Brouwerij Lindemans (prices vary). Cherry, raspberry, peach or other fruits are naturally fermented with the beer, offering the consumer flavors and aromas of the choice fruit. Fruit lambics are an inviting summer brew and great for guests who normally don't drink beer.
Peru, Sunday, July 28: As we round out the month, we toast with a Pisco Sour made with Pisco Portón ($35). This pisco, which is technically a brandy, has a citrusy kick that will set your cocktail hour into high gear. A toast to Peru and to all the countries who call July their birth month: ¡Viva la patria! ¡Viva la libertad! ¡Viva la independencia! (Long live the nation! Long live liberty! Long live independence!)