This Fourth of July, you could drink your standard six-pack and watch your dad struggle to light a Roman candle in the backyard.
Or, well, you could not.
Break from the normal and follow our tips and tricks for having an awesome time. Spice it up a little bit with some out of the ordinary drinks and treats or a night out on the town.
1. Make sure you have some drinks
The best part of the Fourth of July is being able to relax with a brew in the middle of what should be a work day. Branch out from your typical drink of choice with a few new recipes.
Take a bottle of your favorite beer, preferably something light, and mix it with as much lemonade as you like. Ginger ale is also a great option. Be sure to top it off with a lemon wedge.
Star Spangled Jello Shots
Jello-shots-and-shooters.com has a great recipe for making your very own red, white and blue jello shots.
We've condensed and modified it below:
Add 1 cup boiling water to a package of your favorite red Jell-O and stir. Then add cup of cold water and cup of your favorite liquor. Don't be scared to be a little cheap here — the Jell-O will take away the flavor of any low-quality liquor. Stir and let cool slightly before pouring into a transparent cup. Only fill the cup of the way. Set in the fridge until Jell-O is fully hardened.
Once the Jell-O is set, use Cool Whip or whipped cream to create a second layer. Flatten it and be sure to leave the top third of the cup open for your blue Jell-O.
Repeat the same steps used when making the red Jell-O to make your blue Jell-O. Be sure to let the Jell-O cool to room temperature before pouring on top of the whipped cream layer.
Let the shots rest in the fridge. This recipe should make about 24 shots.
2. Assemble a rocking playlist of some America-themed, sun-drenched tunes.
A party's not a party without some decent songs on the stereo. Here are just a few suggestions for your Fourth playlist.
“Fun, Fun, Fun” — The Beach Boys
“Party in the U.S.A.” — Miley Cyrus
“Island in the Sun” — Weezer
“Summer Breeze” — The Isley Brothers
“Sun is Shining” — Bob Marley
“American Boy” — Estelle featuring Kanye West
“Living in America” — Dom
3. Prepare some Fourth-themed snacks.
Your standard chicken wings, hamburgers and hot dogs are delicious but oh-so-cliche.
Make your meals stand out with this recipe for patriotic potato salad from FoodNetwork.com.
Red White and Blue Potato Salad (Food Network)
One 28-ounce mixed bag baby red-skinned, Yukon and purple potatoes (halved or quartered)
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil,
One 14-ounce can hearts of palm (sliced lengthwise into thin strips)
1/2 cup sliced, drained and jarred piquillo peppers
2 scallions (sliced)
Directions: Put the potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water. Add 1 tablespoon of the vinegar and 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and continue to boil until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well and cool. Whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar with the Dijon mustard, teaspoon salt, teaspoon black pepper and the sugar in a small bowl. Pour in the olive oil, and whisk until combined. Spread the potatoes in a single layer on a large serving plate, and top with the pieces of hearts of palm. Scatter the piquillo peppers over top, and drizzle with the dressing. Sprinkle with the scallions and salt and pepper to taste.
Or make a dessert Uncle Sam would be proud to eat:
Patriotic Ice Cream Cupcakes (recipe modified from Taste of Home)
1 package red velvet cake mix (regular size)
1 quart vanilla ice cream (softened)
Blue food dye
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1½ cups marshmallow creme
Red, white and blue sprinkles
Blue colored sugar
Prepare cake mix batter according to package directions for cupcakes.
Fill paper-lined muffin cups half full. Bake at 350 degrees for 11 to 14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
Tint the vanilla ice cream with the blue food dye, mixing until the color seems appropriate to you.
Working quickly, spread ice cream over cupcakes. Freeze for at least 1 hour.
In a large bowl, combine cream and marshmallow creme; beat until stiff peaks form. Pipe over cupcakes; decorate with sprinkles and colored sugar. Freeze for 4 hours or until firm. This recipe makes about 3 dozen.
4. If this sounds awful, get out of the house.
If you'd rather not hang around in the backyard, there are a few things going on in the Omaha and Lincoln area.
Barley Street Tavern, 2735 N. 62nd St., will have a performance by Houston rockers Hounds of Jezebel at 9 p.m.
House of Loom, 1012 S. 10th St., will have a Fourth of July celebration featuring DJs Gonzo & J.Expo at 10 p.m.
Louis Bar, 5702 Northwest Radial, will host goth rap group BLKHRTS at 8 p.m.
Sumtur Amphitheater, 11691 S. 108th St., Papillion, will host Swingin' at Sumtur, featuring the USAF Heartland of America Band at 7:30 p.m. Food also will be available.
The Sydney, 5918 Maple St., will host a Go 'Merica Fourth of July party starting at 7 p.m., complete with drink specials including $3 bomb pop drinks and $3 jello shots. There will be America-themed songs on the jukebox all night.
Zoo Bar, 136 N. 14th St. in Lincoln, celebrates its 40th anniversary with ZOOFest! See Terrance Simien, John Primer, James Harman and The 44's, Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers, Lloyd McCarter and Universe Contest perform, starting at 1 p.m.
Nebraska Wind Symphony will host a free patriotic outdoor concert at Chalco Hills Recreation Area, 158th Street and West Giles Road. starting at 6 p.m. Rain location: University of Nebraska at Omaha's Strauss Performing Arts Center.
5. If all else fails, watch some fireworks.
Seriously, you know you want to see the sky all lit up. Embrace your inner child and grab a lawn chair.
Blair, Neb.: 10 p.m. free fireworks outside the South Creek Conference Center (formerly the Blair Bowling Center).
Boys Town: Fireworks about 10 p.m. on the Boys Town campus. Rain date: Saturday.
Champions Run: 10 p.m. fireworks at the golf course, 13800 Eagle Run Drive. Only members and their guests can be on the grounds, but the display is visible from afar.
Ralston: 9:30 p.m. fireworks at Ralston Arena, 73rd and Q Streets.
Tiburon Golf Club: Fireworks at dusk at the course, 10302 S. 168th St.