Enjoy a star-spangled Fourth of July party that’s both sophisticated and fun. Whether you're throwing a party for the ages or heading to a quaint get-together, we’ve got something for you. From yummy recipes (including this nine-layer ombré cake!) and festive sips to patriotic decorations and crafts, these ideas are sure to make your guests feel the spirit of independence. Now let your party flag fly!
1. Ombré Cake
Standing tall at 11 inches, this multicolored confection created dreamed up by Sarah Jones, of the lifestyle site Brit.co is the party centerpiece-and it’s easier to make than it looks. Click here for the full how-to.
2. Stars & StripesSkip the flimsy plastic flatware for Tulle and Twig's celebratory collection, which is handmade, biodegradable, and includes 25 full sets.
(Wooden Flatware Set, Provisions 52, $32; food52.com.)
3. Chill OutSur La Table's rust-proof ice bucket offers a festive and transport-friendly way to display drinks (or crustaceans) outdoors.
(Galvanized Steel Ice Bucket, Sur La Table, $35; surlatable.com.)
4. Firecracker ConfectionAlthough French in origin, Dana Loia of Dana's Bakery has put a twist on the country's confection, offering versions from Peanut Butter and Jelly to Fruity Cereal. In honor of Independence Day, the bakery has infused their Cherry macaron with Pop Rocks, providing an explosion-worthy taste.
(Cherry Firecracker Macarons, Dana's Bakery, $30 for set of 12; danasbakery.com.)
5. Berry Burst Sip1 pint strawberries, hulled, plus a couple of slices for garnish
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup sugar
2 oz. gin
Juice of 1 lime
½ oz. St. Germain elderflower liqueur
Blueberries for garnish
Mint for garnish
(Cylinder flute glass, CB2, $2; cb2.com.) (Robert Kaufman Essex dyed denim, Purl Soho, $9/yard; purlsoho.com.)
6. Hey, Sugar!Rub a bit of lemon juice around the rim of a glass, lightly press it into a plate covered with crimson or blue sugar, then fill it with a drink.) Champagne cocktail, anyone?) Line up multiple glasses on a simple silver tray for a tempting display.
(Sanding sugar, New York Cake, $5/8 oz; nycake.com.)
7. Star PowerGuests will be surprised when they reach into the ice bucket and behold these celestial shapes. Use cranberry juice instead of water to make them stand out in a glass of clear liquid.
(Star Ice Cube Tray, Pottery Barn Kids, $4; potterybarnkids.com.)
8. Slender StripesEven the simplest lemonade becomes soda shop-chic with a patterned straw in the palette du jour.
(Paper straws, the Sugar Diva, $5/30; thesugardiva.com.)
9. French AccentsGive your patriotic theme a bubbly twist. Serve up Chandon’s special-edition bottles Riviera style-in a sleek metal bucket brimming with ice.
(Limited-edition American Summer bottle, Chandon, $8/mini and $24/750 ml; chandon.com.)
10. Pattern PlayLet your guests mingle - and munch away-holding a graphic paper cone filled with red, white, and blue chips. To make, find artisanal wrapping papers in contrasting patterns (within the same color palette), then cut into 9-inch squares. Roll each one and secure the bottom corner with a small piece of double-stick tape. Place them on a buffet table or near the bar in a clear acrylic stand.
(Cone holder, Restaurant Equippers, $8/mini and $20; equippers.com.) (Moroccan Chain Red, Paper Presentation, $6; paperpresentation.com.)(Lokta Ikat and Katazome Geometric, Paper Source, $6 each; paper-source.com.) (Spanish marbled paper, Talas, $13; talasonline.com.) (Navy and red, Grafika, $18/4; stewartstanddesignstore.com.)
11. Eenie, Meenie, Blini…Ingredients:
1 tbsp sugar
u oz. packet rapid-rise yeast
y cup water, at 100°F
2 eggs, separated
¾ cup blue cornmeal
y cup milk at 100°F
2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
Canola oil, for frying
5 plum tomatoes, diced small
6 oz. sour cream or creme fraiche
1. Mix sugar and yeast with warm water. Set aside for 10 minutes, while it becomes foamy.
2. Meanwhile, whip egg whites until foamy; set aside.
3. Add egg yolks, cornmeal, flour y tsp salt, warm milk and butter to the yeast, whisking until combined. Then fold in foamy egg whites.
4. Let batter rise in a warm place for 90 minutes.
5. Using a funnel, fill a squeeze bottle with batter.
6. Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat, add 2 tsp canola oil, and squeeze the batter onto the pan in uniform silver dollar-size cakes. Cook 1-2 minutes per side.
7. Season tomatoes lightly with salt and pepper.
8. Top each blini with a dollop of sour cream and diced tomatoes.
12. Flower ShowDeck your tables with fresh red flowers displayed in blue glass bottles. You can stick to one type or mix a variety of buds (ranunculus, anemones, and Gerber daisies, for example). Just keep the palette consistently rosy. Arrange the bottles in clusters, or line them down the center of the table.
(Blue wine bottles, Home Brew It, $13/12; homebrewit.com.)
13. Flag ItThe crisp flag banner above has a nautical look. Swing it between trees at an outdoor gathering and watch it flutter in the breeze.
(Patriotic Flag Banner, Crate & Barrel, $17; crateandbarrel.com.)
14. Playing With FireAs the sun goes down, bring a glow to your table with simple votives wrapped in translucent vellum, secured with double-stick tape, and decorated with Japanese craft tape.
(Assorted Tapes, MT, $4/roll; tophatnyc.com.)
15. Board GamesDipped in red, white, and blue paint, these wooden cutting boards are perfect for serving up a sampling of cheese-try a blue cheese on the red-tipped board and a red-rind Gouda on the blue one.
(Boards, Lostine, $96-168; minam.com.)
16. A Fresh New SpinThere’s nothing like the pleasure of watching a pinwheel twirl in the summer breeze-except maybe snacking on these fantastic macarons, custom-made for our readers by Macaron Parlour. Fill zigzag-patterned bags with a few cookies each, then pin onto an oversize corkboard (lean it up against a tree) so guests can snatch one on their way out.
(Pinwheel, Oriental Trading Company, $11/36; orientaltrading.com.) (Macarons, Macaron Parlour, $15/6; macaronparlour.com.) (Favor bags, the Sugar Diva, $5/24; thesugardiva.com.)
17. Pop ArtThese swirly lollipops are pure whimsy. Wrap each stick with a skinny ribbon, then arrange in a silver metal bucket.
(Patriotic swirl pops, Candy Warehouse, $6/12; candywarehouse.com.)
18. Match PlayGeorge Washington and Honest Abe help us remember what the holiday is all about. Order custom matchboxes printed with silhouettes of past presidents, along with your family name and the party’s date. Tie each to a single star-shaped sparkler with red-and-white butchers string.
(Mini sparkler, Tops Malibu, $14/4; topsmalibu.com. Classic box matches, Tops Malibu, $46/50; foryourparty.com.)
19. Give a ToastMake for a festive table setting with these firework-emblazoned tumblers.
(Fireworks Tumbler, Crate & Barrel, $2.50; crateandbarrel.com.)