Ah, the 4th of July.  The one day a year where we can all agree to look past this garbage fire of a country’s shortcomings and celebrate what makes it great: eating a lot, drinking a lot, and blowing something up. 

Although I for one can’t relate, as most of my childhood 4th of July cookouts were fairly dull- and dry- family reunions filled to the brim with relatives that I didn’t remember at all from the year before, including cousins whom my parents were “sure that we would have plenty in common, being the same age and all” (surprise, we didn’t).   

But it doesn’t have to be that way!  If millennials have enough buying power to change the markets, then we have enough power to spice up some old holiday traditions.  

  • Leave the politics at home.  Yes, America has, is, and probably will continue to commit countless atrocities right under our noses, but nobody is ever going to listen to you if you try to bring that up on the 4th of July.  Or, alternatively, if your gathering is all like-minded friends and no weird jingoist uncles, discuss it at your leisure, but be warned that it’ll probably harsh the otherwise good vibes that a summer barbecue is all about.  
  • Support your local hot dog company.  Few foods scream quintessential americana quite like the hot dog, and just about every large town/ small city seems to have its own local hot dog brand, with seemingly just as many regional variations of what goes on them.  If you’re feeling creative, you can dress them up- or down- with everything from avocado and kimchi to crunched up potato chips. But not ketchup. That’s fucking gross.
  • For something to snack on while the grill is warming up, try jerky.  Jerky, and the similar South African biltong, have become wildly popular over the past few years as a low carb, high protein snacking alternative.   I’d say to make sure you watch the sodium, but chances are that that would have been a problem with any sort of chip or pretzel type snack anyways. 
  • When making mix drinks, remember that gin is in.  This shouldn’t surprise anyone, considering how well gin and berries, which are in season now, pair together.  A similarly pungent liquor seeing a rise in popularity is Aquavit, a Scandinavian spirit flavored with caraway and dill seeds.  Other drinks on the upswing are sake and IPAs, which I could have sworn just went out of fashion but are apparently making a resurgence again.  
  • Can’t decide between something boozy or an ice cold freeze-pop? Well, now you don’t have to. (Or, if you’re like me and don’t have a Costco membership but for some reason have popsicle molds, make your own. This is what the 4th of July is all about, baby!
  • Stay hydrated in between harder drinks by keeping the LaCroix flowing.  Unless you live in Massachusetts, where it is technically illegal.  At first, this looks like a silly case of a missing permit, but it turns out they’re missing that permit because they didn’t submit samples for the state’s department of health’s annual water quality test.   Oh well, I’m sure it’s probably fine. You know what else used to be illegal in Massachusetts? Dumping tea in the harbor!  (Side note- it’s pronounced La Quah, not La Kroy, but I guess if there’s any day you can get a pass for not using the prissy French pronunciation, it’d be the 4th of July.)

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