This year’s Fourth of July sees America celebrating its 246th birthday with the customary barbecues, picnics, town parades and fireworks displays unimpeded by coronavirus restrictions for the first time since 2019.
The festivities honour the Founding Fathers signing the Declaration of Independence in 1776, breaking ties with British colonial rule once and for all and creating a powerful new nation in which an individual’s fundamental right to dedicate themselves to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” was set in stone.
The founders themselves were reportedly partial to a celebratory dram, living as they did in an era in which roughly three times more whiskey was drunk in America than today, according to The Smithsonian Magazine. Not least because so much of the water was unsanitary at the time and because taverns were such focal points of community life in the 18th century when towns and infrastructure were far less developed.
George Washington was known for his habit of racking up generous bar bills when entertaining his friends; Thomas Jefferson was famed for his prodigious appetite for Portuguese Madeira; and Benjamin Franklin was said to favour a cup of milk punch, composed of milk, lemon juice and brandy.
These days, Independence Day is more commonly toasted with a nice cold beer over the grill.
Tipplers are usually advised to get their crates stockpiled in advance as the occasion is a public holiday on which all non-essential services are traditionally closed.
However, most liquor stores will be open for at least part of the day to avoid missing out on sales when there is a party atmosphere in the air, although their opening hours might differ from usual.
As such, it is best to check out your local store’s opening times online before visiting on Fourth of July.
For your shopping needs more generally, major retailers that are open on Independence Day include: Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Home Depot, Old Navy, Publix, Kroger, Nordstrom, Michaels, Ikea, TJ Maxx, Sam’s Club, Starbucks and CVS.
All of America’s banks, government offices and schools are closed for the day, however, while its stock market traders, postal workers and trash collectors are all off duty too.