Layered Patriotic Punch

I first saw these layered patriotic drinks years ago, in an alcoholic version.  Since I don’t drink alcohol, I started googling to figure out if that was an integral part of the chemistry involved.  Lucky for me, it’s not!  The principle here is that liquids with lower sugar contents will layer on top of those with higher ones.  So basically you can layer most colored drinks as long as they have different sugar contents. If you pour them in very slowly, the liquids will stay separated.  

Ingredient Notes

You can really use any drink products, you just have to take note of the sugar content on the nutrition label.  I recommend choosing a sugar free liquid for the top.

  • Red Beverage – Reds are pretty easy to find. There’s cranberry juice, cranberry/strawberry/cherry flavored sodas, Hawaiian punch, etc. It’s easiest to use red as your bottom layer because the juices will likely have the highest sugar content of everything you are using.
  • Blue Beverage – For blue I did Gatorade; it’s important you look at the labels, it just has to have a little sugar in it.  G2 Gatorade had just a few grams which made it perfect for layering between a juice with a higher sugar content and a diet soda with none. You may be able to find blue Hawaiian punch which could work as well, just make sure you have one each of a high, medium, and low sugar content beverage.
  • White/Clear Beverage – I used a diet lemon-lime soda. Any sugar-free clear-ish soda would work!
  • Ice – You’ll want to fill your cups with ice before adding your drinks. I used cute star shaped ice cube trays. Plan ahead if you want all star shaped ice. You’ll have to freeze several trays to have enough!

How to Assemble Layered Patriotic Punch

  1. To make the drinks, fill your glass up all the way to the top with ice.  If you’re making these for a party, you’ll probably want to stick with short glasses. 
  2. Start with your red (or whichever has the highest sugar content) and fill up the glass 1/3 of the way.  
  3. Next pour your blue or medium sugar-content beverage. When you pour, pour slowly, right over an ice cube, down the side of the glass.  This will help keep the layers separated.
  4. Finish off with your top layer, again pouring slowly, over and ice cube, right down the side of the glass. That’s it. They’re ready to serve!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I made this ahead of time?

Unfortunately, no. This drink needs to be made immediately before serving. Luckily it’s quick to assemble!

I try not to drink sugary drinks. Can I make this all low-sugar?

Since the dramatic layering comes from the different levels of sugar content, it’s best to use a nice sugary base, and then use lighter options for the next layers. The important thing is that you have different levels of sugar content, so you may be able to get away with just a slightly sugary red drink, topped with a diet blue drink, then you can let the ice cubes add your white.


4th of July punch layered in red, white, and blue juices and sodas

Layered Patriotic Punch

A festive and refreshing drink that's sure to impress at your next 4th of July gathering.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings8 people


  • 1 bottle red juice or soda Hawaiian Punch or cranberry juice
  • 1 bottle clear colored diet (sugar free) soda Diet 7Up, Sierra Mist
  • 1 bottle blue punch or juice with minimal sugar G2 Gatorade, Hawaiian Punch


  • Fill your glass all the way to the top with ice.
  • Start with your red (or whichever has the highest sugar content) and fill up the glass 1/3 of the way.
  • Pour your blue layer very slowly, right over an ice cube, down the side of the glass. This will help keep the layers separated.
  • Lastly, pour your white or clear layer on top, very slowly, right over an ice cube. Serve immediately.


  • If you’re making these for a party, you’ll probably want to stick with short glasses.
  • These taste best served with straws.


Serving: 8people, Calories: 8kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 0.1g, Fat: 0.02g, Saturated Fat: 0.004g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.001g, Sodium: 3mg, Potassium: 20mg, Fiber: 0.03g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 0.2IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 3mg, Iron: 0.03mg
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: 4th of July, Punch
Calories: 8kcal
Author: Sara Wells
Cost: $10
Did You Make This Recipe?Snap a picture, and hashtag it #ourbestbites. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @ourbestbites!
woman in denim shirt holding a salad bowl
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

Read More

Join The Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Questions & Reviews

  1. Thanks, my nieces and nephews will love this, and I LOVE the fact that there is someone else out there who doesn’t drink alcohol !

  2. Do you remember where you found the version with the alcohol? I’ve been searching but can’t find it! Or maybe you’ll know, if I wanted to do these with alcohol, would I just make it in the bottom layer since it would have a lot of sugar?

    1. Michelle, if you just google, “Red white and blue cocktail” you’ll find a bunch! I know one recipe is ½ ounce Grenadine, ½ ounce Peach Schnapps or Vodka, and ½ ounce Blue Curacao (poured in that order). But really, just do a quick google search and you’ll see lots!

  3. Cute photos!! I have actually made these (in other colors) as part of a science day at a local school when they wanted to learn about the science of cooking (and then featured them as part of my kids cooking series).

  4. Hey, if anyone can’t find the star ice trays at Target cause their “sold out”, check out Walmart. They have them also, under $1. I’ve also seen them at Dollar General. Cute idea. Love these drinks. I’ll definitely have to try it. Thanks!

  5. Have you ever tried making this in a punch bowl? We’ll have a lot of guests and making individual cups might take a long time!

  6. I made these last year and they were a hit! SO fun! A tip for the pop rocks if you still want to try them is to take a little carmel/butterscotch ice cream topping and dip the rims of the glasses/cups in that and then the pop rocks! They don’t seem to pop as much! Anyway it worked for us! (Just make sure you dip “lightly”) 🙂

  7. These are such a neat idea for the 4th! Will be getting to Target tomorrow for the ice trays and different drinks!

  8. I must admit it ranks up there among one of the most unique blog ideas I have ever seen.

  9. My uncle actually did a version of this for my wedding 25 years ago. He used a lemon-lime soda base, a full strength red fruit punch flavored syrup at the bottom, then a little green syrup mixed at half strength. The entire drink was topped with a scoop of rainbow sherbet. It looked amazing and was pretty tasty.

  10. Thank you for posting this! I have wanted to make them since I celebrated Independence Day in California, but forgot the recipe. Now, to try to make them Canadian…

  11. Since you’re sugaring the kids up, couldn’t you just use a colored sugar from the decorating aisle to put on the rim? And I love the trays. So cute!!

  12. I think these are so fun! One question, though. Does the white layer have to be a diet soda? I have an allergy to the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas and would love to be able to make this and still drink it. Any suggestions?

    1. I wondered the same thing. We don’t do artificial sweeteners at all either (for health reasons, so bad for you!) And anything that’s “sugar free” will have artificial sweeteners. But I love this idea! I may have to experiment with some other drinks and try to find another combo that varies enough in density to layer. I’ll post it if I come up with something….unless someone else has found a way!

  13. I told my kids we’d try to do a science experiment every week this summer and this will be perfect for next week! I already went to target and got my ice cube trays. Thanks for the tip.

  14. omg these are so cute!! I love love love them. I’m thinking about adding a little liquor in here to make it an adults only beverage. so fun!

  15. Fun post to read, Sara. So you and Oprah seem to have the same effect on the world. She with her book reviews (or anything else for that matter) and you with your dollar section recommendations at Target! I guess I better get over there right away!
    I will have a house full of grandchildren for the fourth, so we’re going to add this to our list of things to do/make! Thanks!

  16. LOVE that you added star ice cubes!!!!

    I haven’t tried this out yet, but it’s happening on the 4th. My son will LOVE it!!