We love sacks, interceptions and touchdowns as much as the next football fan, but some of our favorite game-day action happens before the first whistle is blown. We’re talking about the tailgate. And no matter if you follow the NCAA or the NFL (or both), the weekends are all about hanging out with friends and firing up the grill. So before you put on your face paint and jersey, read our five spirited tailgate tips. Now let’s play some football!
Add spirits to your food.
The secret to tailgating like an all-pro is to spike your food. Seriously. Whip up barbecue expert Adam Perry Lang’s sweet and spicy Bourbon Barbecue Sauce, which is perfect on everything from wings and steaks to smoked sausage. If you’re feeling like Mexican instead, try the impressive Tequila-Flamed Shrimp Stack from star New York chef Sue Torres.
Serve beer cocktails.
Sure, just like everybody else, you could drink beers and sip bourbon from a flask. But this season, we challenge you to up your game, to leave everything you got on the parking-lot gravel. So rise to the occasion and fix Liquor.com advisory board member Simon Ford’s simple and delicious tequila-based Lagerita or his spicy Michelada.
Tailgaiting with a group of thirsty friends? Forget about mixing up individual cocktails for everybody. You’ll be sacked before the first down is played. Instead, fix a pitcher or a punchbowl of drinks. Margaritas by the Pitcher are always a crowd favorite, and our recipe comes from legendary bartender and Liquor.com advisory board member Dale DeGroff—it makes about 16 servings at a time. More of a gin fan? Try the citrusy Boat House Punch from one of our other advisors, Julie Reiner.
On Saturdays, NCAA games kick off at noon Eastern time—that’s 9 AM on the West Coast! So, set your alarm clock and watch the action while you enjoy brunch and an eye-opener. Now, there are a million varieties of Bloody Marys, but for a truly unique beverage, we’d suggest celebrity chef Chris Cosentino’s Bloody Roman, which calls for fresh tomatoes and chiles, beer and raw oysters. (A breakfast of champions!) If that sounds like too much work, call an audible and make the super-easy and classic Mimosa.
The secret is sipping.
We always encourage drinking responsibly, and if you want to imbibe all afternoon, skip the boozy cocktails and instead fix some refreshing low-alcohol concoctions. The bubbly Spritz is a favorite, and gives you lots of options: Just combine a low-proof liqueur like Aperol with sparkling wine or club soda. Or turn to a 19th-century classic: the Sherry Cobbler.