It’s always the food that gets all our care and attention when we’re preparing for a tailgate. With so much focus on between grilling chicken wings, serving up steaming bowls of chili, and making sure you’ve packed everybody’s favorite condiments, drinks are often overlooked. Now, we’re not saying that they’re ever forgotten (that would be the worst tailgating mistake you could make), but rather that they deserve a little more love and attention: They will be central to your tailgate party after all.
We don’t think that you should scrap that cooler of beer entirely (it definitely has its uses, and it probably won’t feel like a real tailgate without it), but we do think you should make one or two more extravagant drinks to take with you, too. Luckily we have some tasty suggestions ranging from beer-based cocktails, for those of you who don’t want to move too far away from tradition, to spiked Gatorade drinks, so you feel less like a spectator and more like one of the football players you’re about to watch.
During these warmer tailgating days, we recommend you refresh yourself while you’re drinking with our favorite vodka lemonade and peach iced tea recipes. These cocktails are sufficiently potent, but also wonderfully fruity and sweet, making them ideal for your daytime tailgate drinking needs. For those colder tailgating days when winter arrives, we have some warmer cocktails that you should pack up in a thermos and take with you: You’ll be the most popular tailgate host, and everyone will be so grateful to be sipping on bourbon-spiked hot chocolate and sweet, warm mulled wine rather than a cold beer.
Read on to discover the 10 cocktails to drink throughout this tailgating season for the most deliciously boozy pre-game party you’ve ever attended.