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Entertaining
The 8 Best Cocktails for Tailgating

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Stock the cooler and grab some charcoal for the grill because it’s tailgating season—also known as football season to those who don’t measure the year in alcoholic beverages. But this year, step up your day-drinking game from 30-packs of cheap beer to pre-batched cocktails perfect for tailgating. While there aren’t many drinks that wouldn’t benefit from team-branded drinkware sipped beside a truck bed converted into a makeshift bar, some drinks were practically made to be enjoyed in a stadium parking lot. Here, the best cocktails to drink while you’re tailgating.

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There’s a reason every football player is straight chugging Gatorade on the sidelines—those electrolytes get you amped. While a spiked sports drink is always a fun college throwback, there are more natural alternatives that are just as energy-packed, like this boozy take on the 18th century switchel. The fermented fizz packs enough apple cider vinegar, ginger beer and bourbon to fuel a game of touch football in the parking lot and keep you going all the way through the actual game itself.

The Essentials

Bourbon
Maple Syrup
Ginger Beer
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The signature cocktail of the football-crazed University of Alabama and the Crimson Tide, the Alabama Slammer makes a strong case for Southern Comfort. While shouting “Roll tide!” for the millionth time before kickoff may make your friends want to murder you, (especially if you aren’t even at an Alabama game), stocking their flasks with enough Alabama Slammer to last through halftime will certainly win you back their affection, and may even convert a few of those SoCo naysayers.

The Essentials

Southern Comfort
Amaretto
Orange Juice
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Tailgating is the ultimate way to show your support for the home team, spending the entire day among fellow fans and warming up your drinking and cheering muscles before the game. This variation on the old school Fish House Punch uses a full bottle of rum and half a bottle of Cognac along with several liqueurs, meaning there’s enough booze to share with your comrades in fandom all across the parking lot.

The Essentials

Rum
Cognac
Raspberry Liqueur
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You didn’t come to a tailgate to quietly sip refined cocktails from fancy coupes; you came to get raucous with your pals and a cooler full of booze. But don’t think getting down and dirty with some Jungle Juice means you have to stoop to bottom-shelf swill. Combined in the right proportions, this recipe for the frat-tastic punch is foolproof and full-proof, meaning everyone can get a bit trashy and actually enjoy it.

The Essentials

Clear spirit
Fruit liqueur
White wine
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Any good buffet spread at a tailgate feast requires Buffalo wings. The tangy, spicy, messy chicken is 100 percent non-negotiable. But true wing fans can go one step further by infusing the ultimate savory day drink, aka the Bloody Mary, with Buffalo seasoning, complete with Frank’s Red Hot and a fried blue cheese garnish.

The Essentials

Vodka
Tomato juice
Frank’s Red Hot
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You’re probably already bringing whiskey and beer to the tailgate anyway, so the Boilermaker is a no-brainer. This classic combo makes double-fisting socially acceptable, but you can also bomb your shot straight into your Solo cup for the ultimate boozy Hail Mary.

The Essentials

beer
whiskey
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Shandies are the ultimate delivery mechanism for daytime booze. They double down on the refreshment with both icy cold beer and citrusy lemonade, and back up that easy-drinking flavor with enough hard liquor to give the pint glass some punch. This grapefruit radler-like shandy utilizes white hot moonshine for some down home country spice, while Tajín and a serrano chili garnish come together to really bring the heat.

The Essentials

Moonshine
Serrano & Grapefruit Shrub
Nu-Tropic IPA
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Day drinking can take a toll on even the most practiced tailgater, but that pre-game slump can be solved with a helping hand from highly caffeinated Nos. Made with some of our other beloved party staples Bud Light and Jäger, this energy drink cocktail will set off a boozy explosion in your brain. Good luck ever getting to bed.

The Essentials

Jägermeister
Bud Light
NOS

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