The Best Cocktails for Tailgating Season
We knew a family who tailgated every home game of every season for years. As the kids got older, the whole crew started competing for the best tailgate cocktail. The rules were simple: no more than 5 ingredients and the only thing that could be added during the actual tailgating party was ice.
Competition for the best tailgating cocktail was fierce, almost on par with the intensity of the cornhole matches. The good news is, when the air is crisp, you’re wearing your favorite team sweatshirt, and it’s football season…there is rarely a bad tailgating cocktail. Fall drinks just sit right.
But, there are some better than others, so we’ve got the insider scoop on several winners. Each drink in our lineup is a tailgating cocktail or RTD (Ready To Drink) option with easy ingredients (or just open a can!) and that same rule, once you’re in the parking lot, “Just add ice.”
Apple Cider Sangria
We’re kicking off with one of our all-time favorites. A super easy, yet universally pleasing recipe for fall sangria. We find it appeals to a variety of tastes, isn’t too sweet, and gets enough kick from vodka and the wine that you don’t need to make a huge batch. It tastes like autumn, with hints of apple and caramel kissed by the oaky notes of the white wine…but it also tastes like a party, and while it can feel classy, it’s not too fancy for solo cups and chips.
Recipe – Serves 8-10
- 1 bottle Pinot Grigio
- 8 cups (64 oz) spiced apple cider (you can use regular apple cider if you can’t find spiced, simply add a few shakes of cinnamon)
- 8 oz caramel vodka
- 8 oz vodka
- Mix all ingredients in a gallon drink dispenser (or clean, empty milk jug).
- Chill if possible, and serve over ice.
Jack and Coke Canned Cocktail
New to the playing field in 2023, this might just be the MVP of this year’s tailgating season. Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and Coca-Cola got together officially and crafted this perfectly mixed, Ready To Drink (RTD) cocktail. Stock your cooler, pop open a cold can, and you have the perfect ratio of Jack to Coke (without spilling a drop trying to pour out drinks). We already know why Jack and Coke works — the whiskey brings its spicy, toasted, caramel notes while Coke contributes the vanilla and bubbles. And if you’re more of a sugar-free fan, there’s a can for you too — this solid sip comes in both regular Coca-Cola and Coke Zero options, in convenient 4-packs that make it easy to mix-n-match.
You’ll win points for bringing this zero-effort (okay, we admit you do need to pop the tab on the can) beverage that tastes like you mixed it by hand. In the overpopulated world of vodka seltzers, we think High Noon makes the all-star team. They’ve finessed the flavors, the sweetness, the effervescence…and with the Game Day Pack, they’ve also curated a solid starting line of fall flavors. Cranberry, pear, grapefruit, and black cherry each shine through as crisp, autumnal fruit blended with enough vodka and seltzer to truly elevate your tailgating game. (Bonus points that each can is only 100 calories). Bring on the chili dogs!
The Cutwater canned cocktail brand is like the QB. They know how to call the shots and are consistently solid…crafting creative, winning takes on canned cocktail flavors. Given the season, we are all about the Whiskey Mule. Cutwater’s Whiskey Mule partners ginger, whiskey, and lime for a combo play that is a touch fiery, warming, and with a snap of citrus that wakes up the palate. We especially appreciate that the whiskey flavor comes through strong and true, making it a perfect whiskey option for chilly football days. It doesn’t hurt that the kick of energy-inducing ginger will keep your spirits up for the whole game.
Alright, we’ve armed you with our best plays for tailgating season. Enjoy the fun, sip on these fall drinks, cheer on your team, and don’t forget to round up almost all of these ingredients and RTD’s at your local Cox’s & Evergreen location. Cheers!