Foodball: Thanksgiving Scotch Cider
Foodball: Thanksgiving Scotch Cider

Scotch Cider

In addition to the physical heat radiating off your cider, this drink has warmth from both the scotch and the spices. Peppercorns help pick up the scotch and a add nice spark. Raw sugar is just a little more earthy than white sugar thanks to the molasses, which in turn echoes the peat in the alcohol.  In this drink I prefer using a clementine instead of an orange as its smaller size helps you tame the citrus notes of a typical cider. It’s not as sharp, nor does it have so much juice as to overwhelm the apple notes or the scotch.

Foodball Spicy Boozy Cafe Mocha For Tailgating (And Trick-Or-Treating*)
Foodball Spicy Boozy Cafe Mocha For Tailgating (And Trick-Or-Treating*)

Spicy Boozy Cafe Mocha For Tailgating (And Trick-Or-Treating*)

This drink was inspired by my buddy Josh in Albuquerque who one day last year talked about having a really good chile mocha on a cold morning. Of course you could booze that baby up for tailgating. Of course you want to. The heat from the chile reaches down into your bones while the cinnamon makes the chocolate feel fuller, warmer. The Kahlua brings an extra richness to the espresso while the tequila takes you full circle, bringing you right back to the chile and the cinnamo

Roasted Mezcal Bloody Marys
Roasted Mezcal Bloody Marys

Roasted Mezcal Bloody Marys

2013 Foodball Kickoff: Roasted Mezcal Bloody Marys

As I said last season when I wrote about Pizza Bloody Marys, there isn’t a better cocktail for tailgating or for morning brunch football on the west coast than a bloody mary. Still a little hungover from Saturday night? Need just a few vegetables to jump-start your metabolism with a touch of salt to balance out your dehydrated body and some booze to soothe your headache? Want to have enough energy to make it through the first game of the day? The bloody mary mini-meal in a glass is the perfect solution to all of your problems.

This bloody recipe calls for a smoky mezcal, rich and earthy as any scotch you will find. When paired with roasted tomatillos, meaty heirloom tomatoes, the heat of poblano peppers and the brightness of cilantro and lime, you get a refreshing, bracing bloody mary to jumpstart your day. Want a little extra heat and extra smoke? Add a chipotle pepper in adobe sauce to the blend, but honestly, I think the milder version pairs better with the mezcal. Poblanos have enough heat on their own to stand up to alcohol and tomatoes.

Sparking Blueberry Non-Alcoholic Mojito
Sparking Blueberry Non-Alcoholic Mojito

Designated Driver Sparking Blueberry Non-Alcoholic Mojito 

Be a good host and offer something more than soda or water for the designated drivers at your Super Bowl Party. It’s a nice way to show them you appreciate them driving your drunk-ass friends home at the end of the night so they don’t end up sleeping on your sofa or getting arrested somewhere near the intersection of Dogfish and Stone.

(Plus if you really want, you can use it as a mixer for your drinking friends.)

Pizza Bloody Mary: Football Foodie Brunch
Pizza Bloody Mary: Football Foodie Brunch

We’ve reached that awful point of the NFL season where there is an incredible imbalance on the Sunday schedule, a bunch of early games and then only two or three games with a 4 ET/1 PT kickoffs. This inequity drags on until after Thanksgiving, giving us plenty of weeks like this week where we only get Jets-Pats and Jaguars-Raiders with the late start, which means you need to be ready for brunch drinking to handle the massive onslaught of early games. (And by onslaught, I mean the Texans-Ravens matchup gets my vote for Sunday morning, but I wouldn’t object to watching Washington-Giants or Browns-Colts.)

Earlier this season I had a chance to talk with Holly Anderson over at SI’s Campus Union about tailgating and she asked what were my favorite football snack and drink to have during a game. My answer was that they’re the same thing, a Bloody Mary. I’ve written many times about how I love watching football on the West Coast because you wake up and it’s game time and brunch time, which makes the Bloody Mary a perfect match for the early games. It’s restorative and energizing, the perfect mix of booze and savory juice to perk you up. Add a large enough garnish and you’ve pretty much got a meal in a glass. What could make your liquid meal even better? Have it be inspired by one of the greatest football snacks of all time, pizza.

Tangerine Tequlia Punch: Football Foodie Kickoff!
Tangerine Tequlia Punch: Football Foodie Kickoff!

Obviously, this is a very strong drink. Wait until after you’ve made your fantasy moves for the week to have a glass of this punch or you might attempt to start Deion Sanders at place kicker, get upset that Yahoo(!) won’t let you start Deion Sanders at place kicker, yell at your monitor for a few minutes, passive-aggressively sub-Tweet at both Yahoo(!) and your league commissioner that it’s complete garbage you cannot start Deion Sanders at place kicker and why did you play $50 to play in a league run by fascists, try to pull the tiny Deion Sanders DirecTV spokesperson-fairy out of your television and after that fails, start Billy Cundiff.

At wide receiver.

High Shirley: The trashiest yet most delicious beer cocktail you will ever make for the Pro Bowl
High Shirley: The trashiest yet most delicious beer cocktail you will ever make for the Pro Bowl

This drink shouldn’t work. It has no business tasting as good as it does. The sparkly High Life makes the grenadine pop, while cutting through the sweetness all at the same time. Bry kept stealing sips from my glass, asking over and over, “How can it taste this good?”

Blueberry Margaritas: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes
Blueberry Margaritas: 28 Days of Super Bowl Recipes

Even though lemon is the natural accompaniment to blueberries, lime works just as well in this drink. Also, I really wanted to get a stronger blueberry taste, so I increased the amount of blueberries while doubling the total amount of simple syrup being made so we’d have enough for the entire divisional weekend games.

The sweet blueberry and lime are a great match for the tequila. Garnishing the glass with a lime gives your guests a little control to increase the tartness of their drink if they so desire.

The Groundskeeper: Football Foodie Beta Testing Failures in Cocktails
The Groundskeeper: Football Foodie Beta Testing Failures in Cocktails

Sometimes in the name of research you make terrible mistakes.

Terrible, terrible mistakes.

Chocolate Stout Ice Cream with Chocolate Bourbon Swirl
Chocolate Stout Ice Cream with Chocolate Bourbon Swirl

Of course, beer and bourbon make even ice cream tougher and more rugged sounding. When put together, chocolate stout and bourbon sounds like an ice cream that even James Harrison would eat, after he forced you back ten yards, of course.

Jalapeno Cilantro Beer Margaritas
Jalapeno Cilantro Beer Margaritas

Beer margaritas are a fairly commonplace tailgate drink because they’re easy, tasty, scalable and contain a serious amount of alcohol. Generally made with cheap beer, a can of sickly sweet frozen limeade and tequila, traditional beer margaritas tend to taste like they belong in a Slurpee machine and not your cup.

Guest post over on SB Nation today! Steelers and Packers Jelly Jello Shots and Texas Rose Punch for the Super Bowl
Guest post over on SB Nation today! Steelers and Packers Jelly Jello Shots and Texas Rose Punch for the Super Bowl

Still looking for Super Bowl themed cocktails for tomorrow? Over at SB Nation I’ve got you covered for Steelers and Packers Jelly Jello shots and Texas Rose Punch.

The Suffering Bastard
The Suffering Bastard

The Suffering Bastard is a classic old British Empire recipes with many variations. You can use ginger beer for ginger ale (like you would for a traditional Dark and Stormy), Rose’s lime juice for fresh lime, and can be served with or without bitters. Some people prefer to make the cocktail with bourbon, although the earliest recipes for the Suffering Bastard called for brandy. Both ways are excellent. Always made with gin.

These went over very well at the end of the Pats-Jets game yesterday with our guests, but that could have been because we were already through more craft beer than you could shake Portland hipster at.  Well, except for me. I was having IC Light, which prompted the following:

Thursday Football Dessert, Vanilla Ice Cream, Single Malt Scotch and Ground Pepper
Thursday Football Dessert, Vanilla Ice Cream, Single Malt Scotch and Ground Pepper

Just a quick Thursday Night Football dessert suggestion if you are looking for something sweet to finish off the Colts season tonight’s Indianapolis-Tennessee game. Good vanilla ice cream, about an ounce of single malt scotch (it doesn’t have to be the good stuff), and a few turns of the pepper grinder yields a sweet treat which surprisingly tastes of caramel with a slight bite of ground pepper. Delicious.

Maker’s Mark Manhattan Mini Cupcakes
Maker’s Mark Manhattan Mini Cupcakes

December is also when football watching all weekend, every weekend starts to become an iffy proposition because of all the aforementioned holiday parties, cookie exchanges and treats for the office you’re baking for. Which is why I start looking for treats in December that can pull double duty between bringing to a football event (boozy) and something that seems festive and colorful for the holidays (mini cupcakes). Recipes that can be easily doubled, satisfy a large group of people, and are relatively easy to make.

Mint Julep Jelly Shots
Mint Julep Jelly Shots

While most people think of beer when they think of football and tailgating, I love bourbon-based drinks and football.

It wasn’t always this way. I spent my 21st birthday at Lafayette for the Leigh-Lafayette Rivalry weekend, and when I arrived at my friend’s dorm he handed me a handle of Jim Beam with the direction, “This is your weekend.” Obviously “your weekend” meant drinking so much I passed out on top of a Suburban before the game, getting a firm handshake from a high school crush/boy-I-occasionally-fooled-around-and-I-always-wanted-it-to-be-more-but-it wasn’t-who-happened-to-attend-Lafayette when I happened to pass by him at some party, and sleeping in the spare bed of a guy with the appropriately occupational name, Stoner.

It was years before I could even stand the smell of bourbon again, but once we became friends again, I realized why it made for such a good football drink. Sweet and warm, it’s an autumn afternoon in a bottle. Mint juleps, long the standard for hot summer days in the South, really are not made for tailgating, what with all the shaved ice and fancy silver cups and such. But a “jelly” — we’re avoiding the brand name here — shot was made to take to parties and tailgates.

Beer popcicles
Beer popcicles

Beer pops are one of those things that have been around forever, but every once in awhile everyone gets all excited for them all again after they show up in hip restaurants like Diablo Royale Este in New York City.

They’re super easy to make (as long as you have the freezer space), and are a fun novelty to bring to a September tailgate while the weather is still warm. (Or if you live in SEC or AFC/NFC South country, still 100º-Timothy-Olyphant-hot outside.)

Red, White and Blue Shots
Red, White and Blue Shots

Not sure how to celebrate Team USA’s gold medal run while incorporating your love of the SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS meme?   Nationalistic alcohol, that’s how!

Mudslides
Mudslides

On a lark, Josh (aka Punte) from With Leather held a pool for the 18 countries who only had one athlete participating in the 2010 Winter Olympics for which country would have the highest overall finish.

My draw was Dow Travers (official Olympic page, Twitter), from the Cayman Islands who participated in the Men’s Giant Slalom.  Skier from the Caymans?  Improbable you say?  Maybe, but so is the fact that the Cayman Islands are home to the original frozen mudslide.  No really!  The Wreck Bar on Rum Point — odd since there isn’t any rum in a mudslide — is where the drink first appeared

You WILL Have Enough Ice
You WILL Have Enough Ice

Why?  Because a good drink starts with a good foundation.  Not enough ice in the beer cooler? Warm beer.  Not enough ice in the ice bucket?  Warm cocktails and even worse if you’re the designated driver, warm soda.  Nothing is sadder than the poor designated driver at the end of the evening, just staring at a half-empty, flat 2-liter of Coke, (most of which had been used as a rum mixer), on the table next to a sorry bowl with just a little bit of water at the bottom. Even scarier is the idea that you might have to make a drink using the slimy, greasy ice — what little of it is left — from the bottom if the beer cooler and hope it doesn’t taste like disintegrated Bud Lite labels.

Supposedly the rule of thumb is two pounds of ice per person.  LIES!  Three to four pounds a person should be mandatory for all gatherings.  If you were having a Super Bowl party with all these fine sports writers who contributed to this predictions post over at the Gally Blog, you would need at least 60-80 pounds of ice for it to be a successful event.

New Orleans Style Pimm’s Cups & Cucumber Tapas
New Orleans Style Pimm’s Cups & Cucumber Tapas

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of flipping on Kurt Warner’s press conference to announce his retirement.

Forty minutes later and I cannot put together a single cohesive thought to save my life.  I cannot think of any other profession where one person’s decision to leave a job — other than late night talk show hosts, and we can all admit that is a relatively rare occurrence  — receives as much press coverage as when an athlete retires.  Football fans love to trot out the overused canard “football is a team sport” and “play as a team, win as a team”, but deep down we know it is not true.  One player or one coach can change an entire team.  The foundation of talenljwrjklasdijpxamxsa’MKNFLDSndjkla HOW CAN PEOPLE WRITE THIS WAY?!?@!?@1

See up there? 20 seconds ago? Where I said “cannot put together a single cohesive thought to save my life” before the rambling started? Watching forty minutes of a football retirement speech has reduced me to nothing but a pile of cliches.  No wonder “your local sportswriter sucks” was such a hit a few years ago.  Where is the research on the damage caused by attending x-amount of pressers over the years?

Phillips Head Screwdrivers
Phillips Head Screwdrivers

Okay, so it is just a screwdriver. But if you make it with pineapple vodka, call it phillips head screwdriver. Still much tastier than plain old vodka and OJ.

Black Russians
Black Russians

The one downside to cheese is sometimes your stomach does not feel so hot later on.  Or maybe you did drink too much Icehouse.  Or maybe you’re just getting old.   But you do not want to stop drinking, or you just want a nightcap, or maybe you’re just out of Tums.

This is where classic cocktails known as digestives are small miracles in a glass.  They will work through the cheese and they do offset the beer bloat. I don’t know how the magic of digestives work (someone from a cow college – the major, not the coeds – like Iowa might)  A traditional Black Russian is an amazing drink that can cure whatever is bothering your stomach.

Blood Orange Bourbon
Blood Orange Bourbon

The original recipe for this cocktail calls for plain blood orange juice.  Since that is often difficult to find, we went for the sparkling blood orange juice they carry at my local market.

Beer Floats
Beer Floats

Over the summer, we went to the LA Beer Float Showdown at the Blue Palms down the hill from us.  (Rumor has it that the Blue Palms turns into a Steelers bar on Sundays, but since we already spend about $2300 on the NFL Sunday Ticket, I tend to prefer staying at home to watch the games.)

Since it was 92 degrees in Hollywood last weekend, I figured a beer float showdown of our own was in order.  One of my favorite floats from showdown was the St. Bernardus Abt 12 with a toffee ice cream.  I wondered how a chocolate toffee would taste with dark beers, so I set out to make my own mix of ice cream for one of the selections the night before.  (Since apparently chocolate toffee ice cream only exists in my imagination.)

Balaliaka!
Balaliaka!

Equal parts vodka, Cointreau, and lemon juice.  Serve over crushed ice.  Pray for the end of 100 degree days, if only because hockey is already in the preseason.

Five Points
Five Points

At Essex’s sister outpost, Boho, they make the same cocktail substituting gin for the bourbon called the Bee’s Knees.  While summer heat still has not given way to the cool evenings of fall, it makes for great afternoon refresher while tailgating.

Mint Juleps
Mint Juleps

For the same reasons Mint Juleps are the perfect Derby refreshment, they make a great football beverage. A drink you sip slowly, letting the ice slowly melt and stretch your cocktail even further.  (It also provides a nice lasting buzz that will continue past the Sunday Night Game with Olbermann and Patrick and right into Entourage.)  Everyone has a mint julep recipe they prefer, but I like this one since it cuts down on the little leaves that might get stuck in your teeth.

Bloody Mary
Bloody Mary

Oh sure, you can just buy some Bloody Mary mix at the store, stick a stalk a celery in it and call it day, much like the Bucs field a team, hand it a ball, and call it “football”. You are better than that, and yes, I am talking right to you Gruden.

Mary Pickfords
Mary Pickfords

This is one of those great fate ideas. I already knew I wanted to do all vegetarian friendly items for this FFF, but didn’t have any thoughts on a drink. Still too hot for beer in my mind. Didn’t feel like going to BevMo for anything I was out of at the bar. (Which really, is just gin at the moment.) I knew I had a lot of rum to get rid of, and some pineapple juice… Ah ha! Mary Pickfords!

But how do I relate her to sports? Or this theme? Help me, mighty Google Borg… Yes! Mary Pickford was a vegetarian!

Rusty Nail
Rusty Nail

This evening on “Masterpiece Cocktail,” we’ll be discussing a drink of fine stature that should be enjoyed in only the most civilized of occasions and company. And while its name is somewhat deceiving, it’s a rather rich and complex drink with many layers that is best sipped by an expert tongue.

Stoli Blueberri Fizz
Stoli Blueberri Fizz

Garnish with more blueberries, to give yourself the appearance of getting in a full serving of fruit.

Watermelon-Vodka Slushees
Watermelon-Vodka Slushees

Anyone who knows me, knows I love slushees, Slurpees, and dream of someday having the water-only Slurpee; The Turpee.

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