Feature photo by Andy Simmons

July is upon us ladies and gentlemen and that means one thing: Independence Day celebrations. Like many other families in the United States, mine is not exempt from celebrating. The Cortes family has a yearly tradition of having a sidewalk barbecue, a very Chicago thing to do (you suburbanites can keep your backyard bashes, thanks just the same). Tangent aside, this is an article designated to give you tips on how to throw a killer Independence Day bash!

The first thing that you will need to do is to scout out a good location. For parties, as in real estate, location is everything. When picking a spot, make sure that it is easily accessible and that ample parking is available for whomever may show up, nothing spoils a good time like getting a friggin’ parking ticket. This aspect of party planning may not apply to you if you are not throwing a huge, bold-faced BASH. If you are just having people over your place, the next thing you will need to worry about is decorating. Seeing as this is an Independence Day party, I personally would use this opportunity to exercise my freedom to not decorate. If you do enjoy decorating, I would suggest lots of red, white, and blue and a banner proclaiming, “Happy 234th Birthday, America”.

Independence Day barbecues, like Christmas parties, Thanksgiving shindigs, or Chanukah ho-down, will need one main ingredient in order to go off without a hitch: booze and plenty of it. That age old social lubricant is vital. Chances are, wherever you have your America Birthday party there will be some people outdoors either manning the grill, enjoying arrachera, or trying to not blow their appendages off with amateur fireworks. Your guests will be outside in the unpleasantly warm July air. As this is a celebration of Americana, you are going to need beer. I would suggest something quintessentially american like Schlitz, PBR, or MGD. In order to accommodate your possibly foreign non-beer drinking friends, here are some cool America themed cocktails. Take it from a former professional party thrower, if you want to save some money without having to apply a tacky BYOB lable to your invite take a short road trip to scenic Hammond, Indiana for your alcohol needs.

Once you have all of the alcohol to lubricate your festivity, you are going to need food to throw on your grill. Arrachera, aka mexican flat steaks, are cheap and easily seasoned. Let the meat marinate in a mixture of lime and orange juice over night. To complement your steaks, warm up some tortillas. Make a simple salsa to complement your steak tacos. Boil four tomatoes, a whole onion, a few cloves of garlic, and two chopped jalapenos. After everything boils, throw the mix into a blender with some salt and pepper- instant salsa!

Now that your guests are eating and toasting the defeat of the Red Coats, throw some tunes on! I suggest a heavy dosage of Credence Clearwater Revival and Led Zeppelin. Enjoy your Fourth of July, I know I will.

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