It’s getting to be deep summer and the Fourth is nearly upon us. Time to throw down for your friends and toast to life, liberty and, most importantly, the pursuit of happiness. The only question is, how do you take such an established ritual and elevate it a bit? If you have a pool or a beachside Airbnb (or both, you baller you) then you’ve already crushed it. The rest of us can just go home.
But even if you all you have is a fire escape with a grill you haven’t used since Labor Day last year, you can still make a memorable dent in your crew’s summer. Unless you’re thinking of something along the lines of Diddy’s White Party, then the key is to take a high-low approach. The Fourth is an ultra-traditional occasion, so folks will be confused if you mess with the hot dogs-and-sparklers formula too much. The trick is to mix in some fun surprises and chic elements that take your shindig to legendary levels.
Two words: gold flatware. It’s the easiest way to add class to your bash, without making people think this scene is too frou-frou to get nasty on the dancefloor later on. In fact, anything that glitters and gleams is Fourth-appropriate (fireworks and all that). Think chalices filled with sparklers, globe string lights, gold-rimmed vintage tumblers. Things you do not want at your chic Fourth party: plastic forks, red cups, paper plates. No to all of that.
First of all, not everything needs to be red, white and blue. It looks too forced and corny. Do one or two on-theme items. You can get a giant platter of macarons and arrange them in a flag pattern. Or maybe do individual coconut yogurt parfaits with strawberries and blueberries for the vegans in your circle. But really, this day belongs to the grill, hot dogs specifically. Set up an irresistible fixins bar with gourmet options like caramelized onions, black bean salsa and corn chutney. Later, you can turn this station into a S’mores bar with handmade marshmallows and a selection of fine chocolates. Just because we’re American doesn’t mean we have to be basic.
There are so many summery cocktails we love for day-into-night drinking: the Aperol Spritz, the Pimm’s Cup, the Mojito. All fine options. But in all our years of Fourthing, we’ve only known one drink that is, fresh, sophisticated and endlessly crowd-pleasing: the Watermelon Margarita. Throw cool watermelon chunks in a blender, add lime juice, top-shelf tequila and a dash of Cointreau if you’re feeling fancy. Dunzo.
The jury’s still out on Song of the Summer, but if we did have a clear “Despacito” for 2018, that’s where your Spotify playlist needs to be landing. This is no time to tone it down for the neighbors or show how cool and obscure your taste is. Give the people what they want, by which we mean, play lots of Cardi B and Migos. Oh, and “This is America,” by Childish Gambino.
Again, you don’t need to rock a three-color Wonder Woman getup—unless that’s your vibe, in which case, own it girl. For us, Fourth of July fashion is about perfectly capturing the spirit of the season at its absolute height. For instance, the Baily Clutch in Blue Stripe says “Summer in America” without the literal reference to our nation’s flag. And don’t be afraid to elevate your outfit. Just because you’re barbecuing doesn’t mean you have to be dressed down. Go ahead and glitz up a sexy-breezy romper with the Maisie Sandal in Gold Multi, which you can kick off when it’s time to jump in the pool.