What’s the difference between a Fourth of July that’s just another day off from work and a holiday that goes down in the books as one of the most epic weekends of the year? Breaking free from the usual suspects—the lifeless backyard barbecue, the run-of-the-mill and totally expected fireworks date, and the same beach trip you’ve taken with the boys every summer since freshman year of college. Lucky for you, we’ve got the solution—drink recipes, road-trip ideas, dating tips, and everything else you need to make this a holiday weekend you’ll be reminiscing about with your buds for decades to come.
Serve a More Impressive Burger
Ground beef on a bun with cheese? C’mon, you can do better than that. For a healthier, tastier, and more crowd-pleasing patty, try one of these six burger blends, like lean ground beef and button mushrooms, ground turkey and Dijon mustard, or bison and sriracha sauce. Then, instead of slapping a bottle of store-bought ketchup on the table, mix up a sophisticated add-on, like homemade kimchi, mango chili slaw, or tomato-ginger ketchup.
Mix a Mean Three-Ingredient Cocktail
No backyard barbecue is complete without a bucket of beers, but there’s no harm in mixing things up—pun intended—with some handcrafted cocktails. Problem is, when you’re manning the grill and the bar, you’ve got no time to muddle mint leaves or labor over mile-long ingredient lists. Instead, master one of these ridiculously easy and refreshing summer drinks.
- The Q: It doesn’t get simpler than this easy-to-make and even easier-to-sip cocktail. Mix vodka, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup. Pour over ice, and boom, you’re done.
- The Grand Cran: Think of this as the very manly version of a cosmopolitan, but instead of vodka and triple sec, it features a blend of orange-infused cognac, bitter cranberry juice, and fresh lime.
- The Light and Stormy: A twist on the famous Dark and Stormy, this lighter-tasting drink is made with 10 Cane, a vanilla-flavored rum, along with ginger ale (or ginger beer) and lime juice.
Score a Date at the Beach
Got plans to hit the sand this holiday weekend? Up your odds of meeting someone seaside by making your way to one of America’s Sexiest Beaches, home to the hottest lifeguards, sexiest sunbathers, and of course, some killer waves. If you aren’t sure what to say to that bikini-clad group on the blanket next to yours, no sweat! Just check out Victoria’s Secret model Nina Agdal’s tips for how to break the ice with a girl on the beach.
Belly Up Like a Badass
Another awesome road-trip idea: Visit one of the 10 Most Infamous Bars in America, watering holes made famous by ghosts, gangs, pirates, and prostitution rings.
Set Off Your Own Fireworks
No, we’re not about to offer up a strategy for setting off explosives without violating an ordinance or two. Instead, we’re talking fireworks of a less cheesy, yet equally as adventurous variety. We’re talking about sex alfresco. Whether the long weekend takes you to the woods, beach, or just your own backyard, follow these eight tips for getting it on in the great outdoors without getting caught.
Don’t Get Burned
Your mom and girlfriend get after you about it, but we’re gonna say it, too: Don’t dis SPF. A blistering sunburn is a surefire way to ruin a night out, and chicks definitely won’t dig your angry lobster face. Plus, new research suggests that a daily sunscreen habit slows skin aging by 24%. Read Practice Safe Sunscreen to brush up on how to buy and apply.
Stop Worrying About the Gym
We get it—you’ve moved R&R to the top of your to-do list, but you feel guilty not doing at least something that resembles a workout. Bookmark this insanely easy hotel room routine, a no-equipment sequence that targets balance, core strength, and endurance, to maintain your beach body in just five minutes a day.
- A Two-Second Solution to the Lame-Dude DilemmaWith cold weather no longer keeping you inside, it’s time to start adding adventure back into your weekends. Where to start: InsideHook, an e-newsletter full of out-of-box recs on everything from fishing trips to foreign films.
- Where To Drink: Forest Hills Station HouseWith an impressive gastropub menu and an array of craft beers on tap, this new Queens, New York hotspot offers everything you could want in a hip local hangout.