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.