Football season is finally here, which means it’s also tailgate time! The great thing about tailgate parties is that you can enjoy them whether your team is a contender or not, whether the weather is beautiful or crummy, and whether or not you actually care about the score. Because who doesn’t like an excuse to hang out and enjoy good food and drink?
Our professional beverage connoisseurs put together this guide to help you plan the best drink menu for the ultimate tailgate party. We broke the drinks down by the time of day because as any serious tailgating pro knows, tailgates were built to be an all-day affair.
The Rise ‘n Shine Menu
You can never go wrong with a Bloody Mary. They are flavorful and hearty. Plus, these days you can load them up with so many fixings (mmm, bacon) that they practically count as breakfast.
And at DrinkTanks, we don’t wait to get to our tailgating spot to make that delicious morning meal in a glass. We suggest you put your Bloody Mary mix in a growler or two, maybe even with that vodka loaded right in, and be prepped to serve up drinks as soon as your tailgate setup is ready.
Looking to spice things up? Use tequila instead of the usual vodka and you’ve got yourself a Bloody Maria. You’ll thank us later for this suggestion.
Hot Chocolate + Coffee
If you’re looking for an excuse to enjoy hot chocolate, look no further than an early morning tailgate party. Hot beverages like hot chocolate or coffee can keep you warm and toasty all day long once tailgate temps start to dip mid-season. And when you need a cup to hold the heat without scorching your hands, we recommend our Craft Pint Cup with its insulated lid.
Plus, for all-day tailgate parties, you’ll need a caffeine boost at some point. You don’t want to crash before kickoff or doze off during the action.
And if you need a little kick in your hot cocoa, go ahead and add some Peppermint Schnapps. We’ll never tell.
Looking to class up your tailgate party for a big game or your alma mater’s homecoming? Enter Mimosas. Two ingredients and voila! You’ve got yourself a tasty little bubbly drink that sips perfectly from our unbreakable, lightweight party cups. Not a fan of OJ? Try other citrus juices such as grapefruit or lemon. Plus, having champagne on hand is never a bad idea for the after-party. You’ve got to celebrate those big wins with a little bubbly!
The Daytime Drinks
Beer… ‘Nuff Said
Beer is arguably the staple of all tailgating staples. No tailgate party is complete without a cooler or three containing ice cold beer. As to what beers to have on hand, there’s a lot of factors to consider. When are you starting the tailgating festivities? What time is kickoff? Will you have a lot of people stopping by or just a handful of your classiest friends?
As tempting as it is to stock up on craft beer, remember to pace yourself. No one that kicks their day off with an 8% IPA remembers their team’s kick-off a few hours later. Starting too early with a heavy ABV or a full flavor profile from a rich lager or stout can ruin your appetite for food, drinks, and staying awake for the second half. Keep it festive with some good craft brew variety that’s meant to be savored. We usually keep a few growlers of specialty beers that are easily dispensed and shared using something like the DrinkTanks® Travel Keg and then keep our beers built for speed in the cooler.
Speaking of coolers, don’t forget to stock your coolers with plenty of bottled water or soda. You want to be accommodating to those who don’t drink alcohol and stay hydrated so you can drink responsibly. Remember to fit in extra water breaks on hot days, just like your favorite team.
Ice, Spirits, + Some Bubbles
There’s nothing like the timeless refreshment of a Coca-Cola® on a hot day. It’s crisp, cold, and has a little bite, especially if you mix it with your favorite whiskey. You can easily add this classic drink to your trusted tailgating cocktail list. Feeling cautiously bold? Try a Whiskey and Sprite®! When it comes to gameday cocktails, the key is to keep it simple. Keep a few staple spirits on hand and a few carbonated mixer options, and your guests can mix up whatever fills their cup.
Whether it’s an Old Fashioned, Gin and Tonic, or whatever your “mixologist” friend convinces you to try, a simple cocktail over ice is best enjoyed from one of our Craft Pint Cups, keeping it cold to the last sip.
You know what they say… If you give a grown up a tailgate at dawn, they might need a nip of something strong to go with it. For those early starts or just when you want to get fired up before you head inside for the game, you can’t go wrong with a shot of Fireball. Love it or hate it, Fireball tends to go down smooth, light a little fire in your belly, and on cold days, warm you up for the long stand in a concrete stadium. Even if it’s not for you, we’d bet you can make some friends at the neighboring tailgate with a bottle on hand.
The Postgame Drink
We’ve all been there. Afternoon or late night, big upset or crushing loss, somehow you have to get home at the end of the day. The best end to every tailgate is a safe ride home, so post-game recovery drinks are best consumed starting in the fourth quarter, even if you know you’ll have to wait for traffic to clear out once the clock runs out.
If you’re not driving, you can absolutely celebrate a victory with a shot or a favorite beer. Otherwise, it’s time to “adult” and drink some of those bottled waters, a soda, or a hot cup of coffee. Filling up a Session Growler with a piping hot pot of coffee before you leave home is the best way to ensure you’ll have some hot coffee ready and waiting for you after the game wraps up. We’ve been grateful for its all-day heat retention at the end of many cold, wet fall tailgates in our Pacific Northwest home.
No matter the outcome of the game, even a single tasty beverage (with alcohol or not) will help you savor those timeless gameday memories with your family, friends, and fellow fans. And DrinkTanks growlers and cups are tailgate ready anytime, anywhere so it’s easy to enjoy whatever fills your cup… no matter who you’re rooting for.
Cheers to the good life!