At the Super Bowl, beer will always reign supreme. But sometimes the big game calls for something with a little more impact.
It could be because you're still bitter over Brett Favre's tantalizing return to form only to drop the ball when his team needed him most, or perhaps attracting a higher class of guests is the goal, and last year's bag of Doritos, three cans of chili and a couple of six-packs just aren't going to cut it – even if you did learn your lesson and spring for the bottle of air freshener this year.
Then again, maybe some industrial strength cocktails just seem appropriate with New Orleans in the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras right around the corner.
Whatever the reason, there's a wide range of mixed drinks that fit right in at a Super Bowl party. Based on classic cocktails from the days of leather helmets and sub-300 pound linemen, here are a few suggestions that can stand proudly beside a crock pot of BBQ meatballs or a platter of chicken wings. Even better, they'll make Phil Simms seem interesting, and the ads in the 4th quarter that much more forgettable.
The Who Dat?
Named for the now well-known New Orleans catchphrase used in the Superdome since the '80s, the Who Dat? is actually a version of one of the original New Orleans drinks - the Creole Cocktail. The original recipe features bourbon, vermouth, Benedictine and a splash of maraschino liqueur - contrasting the sweetness and warmth of the bourbon and vermouth with the herbal impact of the Benedictine. The Who Dat? plays off these flavors and, in honor of the Saints' first trip to the Super Bowl, takes it over the top in excessive Mardi Gras style...with bacon.
- 2 ½ oz. bacon bourbon* (a sweeter bourbon, like Blanton's Single Barrel or Baker's, would be best)
- 1 oz. sweet vermouth
- Splash of Campari
- Splash of maraschino liqueur
Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice and stir gently. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a crispy chunk of bacon.
*To make bacon bourbon, fry up one pound of bacon and reserve the grease. Pour one bottle of bourbon into a pitcher while you wait for the grease to cool down. Once the grease is no longer face-meltingly hot, pour it into the bourbon, stir, and put it in the freezer for a few hours. When its ready, take the bourbon out of the freezer, skim the solidified fat off the top, and strain the liquid through a colander or cheesecloth. Pour it back into the bottle and you've got yourself pig-spiked bourbon that'll keep in the fridge for a couple weeks. No self-respecting football fan would turn that down.
The Sidecar is a classic cocktail invented sometime not long before the Great Depression, making it oddly appropriate as we claw our way out of the depths of the worst economic slump in decades. The original Sidecar features cognac, Cointreau and lemon juice and is a sweet, yet sophisticated, drink that has sadly been left behind in the wake of various “Sex in the City” inspired sugar-bombs with names that end in “tini.” The Sideline is the Super Bowl edition of the Sidecar that brings a crisp sweetness to the drink in the form of apple-infused cognac and provides spice and a kick in the teeth via ginger liqueur.
- 2 oz. Jacques Cardin Apple Cognac
- 1.5 oz. Canton Ginger Liqueur
- 1 oz. lemon juice
To really look like you know what you're doing, run a lime or lemon wedge around the edge of a cocktail glass and press the rim into a bowl of sugar. Or, if you're not feeling that ambitious, just pack a cocktail glass with ice to chill; fill a shaker with ice and add the ingredients; shake it up; dump the ice from the glass; and strain the cocktail into it.
The pregame show starts about 12 hours before the game, so why shouldn't the drinking? The old-school Salty Dog cocktail brings together gin and grapefruit juice with a salted rim. It's a strangely appealing concoction that somehow manages to be refreshing and seems disturbingly healthy when you're downing it by the pitcher. This twist called The Pregame makes it a little less of an acquired taste. Unfortunately, no amount of it is going to make Keyshawn Johnson and Al Michaels look any more appealing that early in the morning.
- 2 oz. gin (preferably a heavily herbal one, such as Plymouth)
- Top off with Ocean Spray Ruby Pomegranate juice
- Dash of orange bitters
- 1 lime
Run the lime around the rim of a lowball or juice glass and press into a plate of salt to rim it. Fill with ice, pour in the ingredients and stir gently. Alternately, you can mix up a pitcher of these by filling the pitcher with ice, adding gin one-third of the way up and topping it off with the juice. Add orange bitters to taste, and plant yourself on the couch.