Prepping for Tailgating 2012 – Part Four: Luscious Libations

By at July 4, 2012 | 5:00 AM | Print

Prepping for Tailgating 2012 – Part Four: Luscious Libations

Congrats! You haven’t slobbered too much over obtaining a new grill or the great tailgating foods that will surely follow. Let’s talk drinks.

Since we’re going to be discussing alcohol, I think I can safely speak for Husker Locker as a whole when I say that we only condone drinking such beverages at a legal age and in moderation.

Besides, who wants to get bombed before taking in a football game? No need for the paddy wagon when things are getting good midway through the third quarter.

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Beer: Whether imported or domestic, macro or microbrewed, pilsner or ale, wheat or bock, there will be beer abound. My number one rule regarding beer: If you don’t have a keg, go with plastic bottles.

Why avoid glass? The reasons are numerous, but some obvious ones are the potential of bottles being a dangerous projectile if people go overboard and the safety issues if dropped and broken.

In addition to taking safety into account, not only does the beer get colder faster in plastic, you can take the cap on and off of most brews helping carbonation keep a bit longer.

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Liquor: The simpler the better. I’ve found that if you keep to one type of whiskey, vodka, rum and so forth, the better off you’ll be. Going cheap isn’t a bad thing, but if you want to go with a slightly more expensive item such as Jack Daniels, Absolut, Captain Morgan etc., you likely won’t break the bank.

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Soda Pop/Bottled Water/Mixers: If nothing else, splurge on soda pop, bottled water, tonic water and club soda/ginger ale. If you ask your friends to bring their own liquor, mixers and non-alcoholic options are always good for your guests and the only option for those underage.

I’m not fond of two-liter bottles because they tend to get flat quickly after being opened.

I’m a big fan of the SodaStream system that can be picked up at several retailers such as Bed Bath & Beyond, Target and Walmart. If you’re not familiar with it, take a look at their site and give the idea some decent consideration.

With this system, you only spring for water, syrups for the soda and the CO2 you’ll use. The one issue  that I could see popping up in a tailgate setting is that if the temperature dips, I’d worry about the CO2 canister exploding. Regardless, it’s a great addition to your makeshift bar.

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Assembling your friendly-for-all-ages Hydration Station is a snap with these tips:

- Have Your Friends Bring Their Own Liquor: You don’t have to drop $200 on alcohol in addition to food costs at your shindig. Asking for those that plan on consuming a bottle of rum to bring their own isn’t inappropriate, in my humble opinion.

To be fair, having some options available like beer or cheap vodka is nice, but it’s still a courtesy. Another good rule of thumb for guests is in lieu of bringing food/drink to a tailgate, slipping a 20 spot to your host isn’t the worst gesture.

- Bring Too Much Ice: To tailgate properly, you’ll need to buy stock in a local ice company for the day (you and 50,000 others, that is). It’s always better to have too much ice and not need it than run out and have to interrupt a good time.

Err on the side of caution and bring “too much.” Besides, a 10 pound bag of ice costs about $1.50, so what’s wrong with spending $7.50 to $9.00 to ensure that your guests have properly chilled food and beverages? Of course, don’t forget the cups.

- Splurge if You Must: Let’s say you need a quick way to get some hard liquor out among your attendees. I present to you the rentable Margarita Man machine:

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Available for weddings, bar mitzvahs or a random fun time, these machines come pre-loaded and just need to be plugged in and frozen to enjoy.

I have never rented one, but many friends have and they can’t rave enough about the ease of use. For more local information about renting one in southeast Nebraska, click here.

It’s time to wrap this all together with a big red bow, so stop by tomorrow as we put the finishing touches on your Ultimate Tailgate.

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