Four Drinks for a Triumphant Tailgating Experience

A.J. Rathbun

If you want your tailgating party to rise above the others parked on the asphalt, I suggest you up the drink ante and serve more than just beer. Adding some extra style and substance to your tailgate drinks certainly makes the day better, no matter if your team wins or loses.


Salty Dog: One of the older meanings of the word “salt” refers to a rough-and-tumble type who takes no guff from anyone. A Husky of course is a noble and tough type of dog. Following that logic, a Salty Dog means, more or less, a rough and tough Husky. (See why you should serve this before football games in Seattle?)

Kosher salt

2 lime wedges
Ice cubes
2 ounces gin
4 ounces fresh grapefruit juice

1. Pour a small layer of kosher salt onto a small plate or saucer. Take a highball glass, and wet the outside of the rim with one of the lime wedges. Holding the glass firmly, rotate the rim through the salt. You want to be sure that salt only gets on the outside of the rim (you don’t want the salty to get in the actual drink).

2. Fill the glass three-quarters up with ice cubes. Add the gin. Add the grapefruit juice (it’s best to let them enter separately).

3. Squeeze the second lime wedge over the drink and drop it in. Stir well. Drink heartily.

Bench Press: When glory happens on the field, it isn’t merely a miraculous event. No, those football players work hard to get into shape to succeed. So toast them with a Bench Press. (Note: You should follow their example and practice making these drinks a few times before serving them during your ‘gate, using this recipe from Good Spirits.)

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces gin (go local with Big Gin here)
4 ounces chilled 7Up or Sprite
4 ounces chilled club soda
3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Lime wedge for garnish

1. Fill a Collins glass or similarly-sized glass with ice cubes. Add the gin.

2. Add the 7Up or Sprite and club soda at the same time. Add three dashes Peychaud’s bitters.

3. Squeeze the lime wedge over the glass and drop it in. Stir well with a bar spoon or tiny barbell.

Prizefighter: For early gridiron battles, it’s not a bad idea to have a shot ready before you head in to the game. And this one has egg, so it’s like having breakfast in a glass. This drink is from The Best Shots You’ve Never Tried by affable Andrew Bohrer.

Ice cubes
1 ounce rum
1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
1 whole egg
2 dashes hot sauce (I like Red Hot)

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Shake very well.

2. Strain – through a fine strainer if you have one – into a shot glass. Drink rapidly.

Hot Scotch: Right now, the Saturday and Sunday weather now is fairly mild, but soon enough those football mornings are gonna get downright cold. Take the edge off by serving up a hot drink before the kickoff, and keep yourself warm enough so that you have plenty of energy for cheering.

2 ounces Scotch (I like the Famous Grouse here)
1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
3-1/2 ounces hot water (heat this up on the hotplate you plug into the truck’s lighter)
1/2 teaspoon butter
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Lemon twist for garnish

1. Add the Scotch and Simple Syrup to a sturdy mug or goblet, one that can take the heat.

2. Pour the hot water into the mug or goblet. Add the butter and stir a couple times.

3. Top the drink with the nutmeg and the lemon twist.