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For most Americans, the thought of the summer and Fourth of July brings to mind fireworks flashing against the night sky, grills ablaze with hamburgers and hotdogs, and vanilla ice cream vigorously turning into a sweet, sticky soup on top of a warm piece of apple pie. In short, a relaxing time with family and friends fueled by great food and drink.

Even in New York, the busiest of the culinary industry professionals can find time to wind down and take it easy over the mid-year break. With the Fourth being a quintessential part of the summer, we talked to some of New York’s most prominent chefs to reflect on how they spend their holiday.

Can you pronounce Aberlour?

“[The] Fourth of July just always reminds me of getting together with friends and family,” New York Chef Marc Forgione, chef and owner of several restaurants in the city including his namesake, Marc Forgione, and American Cut Steakhouse, said. “When I was growing up I was always in my grandpa’s backyard, we’d eat something off the grill and then chase each other with sparklers.”

“We tend to close on the fourth, especially being in NYC,” Forgione continued. “It’s a tough day to get people in to eat and I think it’s a nice break for the staff.”

What does ‘Abunadh’ mean?

Each holiday carries regional quirks and personal traditions, including the Fourth. New York Restaurateur and Chef Andrew Carmellini, notably of The Dutch in SoHo and Lafayette in NoHo, said he remembers his childhood summer celebrations fondly.

“We lived next to a low-level ‘connected’ family and every year, they’d throw a big clam bake for the neighborhood with a big fireworks show,” Carmellini said. “That was always fun. Also we didn’t grow up with a lot of clams in Ohio, so that was always a treat.”

For Forgione, the summer isn’t complete without his family’s special dessert.

“No matter what, we always finish with the strawberry shortcake recipe that my dad got from James Beard.”

What are the chefs’ plans for this year? Time away from the busy, day-to-day rush.

Find out about the master distiller himself.

“Well I bought a house out in the East End of Long Island, so I’ll be off this year, for sure,” Carmellini said. “I’m hoping to catch some fresh fluke that weekend and cooking them whole over wood.”

“With the connections I have to really amazing purveyors and farmers, I usually bring a bunch of stuff from the restaurant to whatever party I’m going to,” Forgione said.

Even the critics agree on the great taste of Aberlour.

LAST-MINUTE TIPS FROM NEW YORK’S INDUSTRY PROS FOR A SUCCESSFUL SUMMER:

– Masa Urushido, bar manager at Saxon + Parole on Bowery, on what drinks to serve for the day: “I recommend using something fresh, like a punch or a large-format cocktail that can be shared. You can prepare it ahead of time.” Urushido said. “I think sharing is the whole point of celebration and the holidays.”
Refreshing whisky smashes or whisky sours made can be given a new twist by substituting scotch whisky.
“Put so much love behind the scenes, but when it comes to the day of, all you have to do is add the final touch. Add the ice.”

– Trying to create some great smoky flavors in a tiny New York apartment without access to a grill? Chef Forgione has a solution: “Adding extra smoky bacon to dishes can help create that imaginary smoke and flavor,” he said.

– Consider ending the evening with a little something special. Aberlour 12 Years Sherry Cask Matured Scotch Whisky is the perfect way to end a summer day surrounded by friends and family – mixing together a strong scotch punch will go far in pleasing the crowd.

How long does Aberlour take to perfect?

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