It’s that time of year folks, when die-hard Chargers fans gather around the parking lot and party it up before the game. Tailgating is an iconic, American ritual that dates back to 1861 at the Battle of the Bull Run where Union supporters cheered “Go Big Blue!” while sharing food, drinks and merriment. The tradition continued throughout history and has crossed over into unadulterated enthusiasm where fans create an outline of tailgating cuisine, drinks and themes for the entire football season. As the Chargers kick off a new season, check out these easy-to-make tailgating beverages.
The Warm Up – Hot Toddy
When the temps get chilly in San Diego, sharing a hot drink with fellow tailgaters is a great way to warm up before the evening gets underway. Brahm Harper, owner of Organibees, a second-generation beekeeper with a chemical-free approach to beekeeping and bee rescue located in Malibu, uses his 100 percent raw organic honey to sweeten the time-honored hot toddy. “I usually whip up a batch of hot toddy starting with a classic black tea, a shot of bourbon and follow up with a bit of honey to smooth it out,” he says.
- 15 black tea bags
- 40 shots of bourbon
- 20 tablespoons honey
- 20 slices of lemon
Brew tea in a large stock pot. Remove brew from heat and mix in honey. Slowly add bourbon shots but be careful not to over stir. Add lemon slices. Ladle into large thermos and enjoy. This recipe makes 20 servings.
The Cool Down – Beer ‘Garitas
Most likely your husband/boyfriend/roommate/random guy is guzzling beer at the tailgate party. What about the sporty gals who don’t want to drink keg beer from a Red Solo Cup? We found the perfect late-afternoon tailgate cocktail from food.com with a south-of-the-border twist to satisfy both the beer drinker and the more sophisticated partier.
- 1 cup frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
- 1 cup tequila
- Half-cup orange liqueur
- Crushed ice
- 1 cup cold beer
Stir together limeade, tequila and orange liqueur until well blended. Fill medium glasses with crushed ice. Pour limeade mixture evenly into mason jars or into the trusty Red Solo Cup. For a bolder flavor, use dark beer. This recipe serves four.
For The Kids – Mexican Spice Hot Chocolate
If tailgating before a Chargers game is part of your family tradition, it’s likely that children are making an appearance at your momentous parking lot events. For most kids, any kind of sporting event centers on the food and drinks – sodas, lemonade, pretzels, peanuts, kettle corn, etc. Before you let them loose inside the stadium, prepare them a tailgating drink of their own.
- 1 and a half cups of unsweetened cocoa
- 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
- One-fourth teaspoon of ground red pepper (cayenne)
- 1 and one-fourth cups of sugar
- One-fourth teaspoon of salt
- 6 ounces of semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup of milk per serving
In a food processor with the knife blade attached, blend cocoa, cinnamon, red pepper, sugar, chocolate and salt until almost smooth. In a microwave-safe mug, mix 3 tablespoons of the blended cocoa mix with 1 cup of milk. Microwave on high for 2 minutes or until blended and hot, stirring once. Pour servings into a thermos and add a dollop of whipped cream. This recipe makes 3 servings.
Jennifer Geisman is a freelance writer and faithful beauty junkie living in Los Angeles. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.