• Drunk as Lords

Be a Gluten-Free Patriot

Warning: An Old Fashioned isn't made for the wild.

Burgers, dogs and beer have the lock on the 4th of July, but we live in a very picky America and it’s only getting worse. For those of us who don’t have celiac disease, this gluten-free business is one of those fashionable paranoias for people with not enough to think about. Celiac is rare – but it does happen and it is real – and if your wife has it, you need to stop making fun. In fact, if your wife has it, you’re probably going gluten-free as well.

With the approach of the 4th of July holiday, it bears asking: What does a patriot drink with a burger if you can’t drink beer? The immediate options seem a bit off: There is the hard seltzer thing, which are GF, but if you aren’t an undergrad who has benefitted from Title X they lose their luster. There is wine, but it’s too hot for red and white vibe is very “fundraiser chardonnay.” Granted, some of the best wines are now produced in America – put it is all from old world vine stock. Then again, so are most Americans so maybe it’s the fitting way to wash down a heap of potato salad.

Proper cocktails, however, are tricky; the craft ones take the time and attention to detail of a Japanese Tea Ceremony. Fine if you are at a place with a kitted-out bar, but tricky at a picnic or neighborhood parade. You could always go with the Don Draper style short glass of whisky with a burger. The man certainly knew how to wear a suit, but you aren’t wearing one at a parade and tread lightly with those neat snorts. Besides, it overpowers anything you are eating. Merely spiking a coke with bourbon or rum also seems a little too undergrad – although they are simple enough.

So the 4717 held an informal poll of cocktail enthusiasts for burger friendly cocktails. The surprise answer was the old fashioned – it’s got the right Americana vibe and the sweet offsets the savory fat of a burger or a brat – but they are a pain to make. Fortunately, Bittermilk makes a good old fashioned mixer so you don’t have to carry a bar around with you. Still, purists will be groping around for dark cherries and orange slices.

Then there is the mellow little brother of the classic dark n’ stormy, known as the partly cloudy: dark rum, ginger ale and lime. It’s got a crisp bite and is less sweet than the old fashioned, with a less fussy garnish. It’s also refreshing as hell and will play well with salty picnic food. And why not? Rum was America’s first go-to booze, so it passes the “violent colonist” muster needed to make the 4th holiday a success. The perennial hot weather favorite G&T – or gin & soda (another concoction currently being blaming on Mrs. M) - always works, and lets you taste your food.

The solid patriot cocktail is also helpful if you have a skittish spaniel that is skittish about fireworks. Don’t give the pup any booze, you understand, but it does help you to care a lot less about your dog’s hang-ups.