Say what you will, but fans of the Southeastern Conference know how to tailgate and no respectable football gathering is complete without pre and post-game cocktails. Here are some favorites of each SEC school.
ALABAMA/AUBRUN: ALABAMA SLAMMER
Throw on some Skynyrd and mix up the SoCo, sloe gin, amaretto and orange juice Alabama Slammer. No one knows who invented the Alabama Slammer, but legend has it that the colorful cocktail was first shaken at the University of Alabama in 1975. The sweet mix of SoCo, sloe gin, amaretto and orange juice is supposedly the signature drink of the Alabama Crimson Tide football team.
1 oz Southern Comfort
1 oz Sloe gin
1 oz Amaretto
2 oz Orange juice
1 Orange wheel and cherry
Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice.
Shake, and strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice.
Garnish with an orange wheel and a cherry.
ARKANSAS: ARKANSAS RAZORBACK
How many drinks can say they’re a namesake with a college football team, and vice versa? The Arkansas Razorback has that distinction. Sure, a mixture of rum, vodka, amaretto and Kahlúa sounds like it would go down about as smooth as wrestling a live razorback boar, but the drink appears to have found a home in the Natural State. Perhaps it can catch on in the new-and-improved Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, which is expected to undergo $160 million in renovations in the next few years.
1/2 shot vodka
1/2 shot amaretto almond liqueur
1/2 shot Kailua coffee liqueur
Add all together in a mixing tin with ice, Shake to a froth, and strain off the ice into the glass.
FLORIDA: RUM RUNNER
When you account for half of the attendees at the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, you assume they must be pretty good at the partying thing. Florida is home to the Gators and the rum runner, and both have deep roots in the hearts of Sunshine State fans. The drink, that’s said to have been concocted in the 1950s at a tiki bar in Islamorada, Fla., can now be enjoyed within the confines of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium during home games, and not just in the parking lot of the annual rivalry game in Jacksonville.
1 oz blackberry brandy
1 oz banana liquor
1 1/5 oz lime juice
1/2 oz grenadine syrup
GEORGIA: SCARLETT O’HARA
Is there anything more “Georgia” than Scarlett O’Hara and Bulldog football? A refined drink named after the epitome of simple grace and elegance below the Mason-Dixon Line, the Scarlett O’Hara combines Southern Comfort with cranberry juice and a lime garnish. Couple that with the smashmouth style employed by the Georgia football team and a unique, dichotomous afternoon between the Hedges could be in store.
- 2 ounces Southern Comfort
- Dash of lime juice
- 6 ounces cranberry juice
- Garnish with a lime wedge
Pour the Southern Comfort, lime juice and cranberry juice into a shaker with ice, and shake well. Strain into a sour or Collins glass.
KENTUCKY: MINT JULEP
You don’t need a funny hat or a ticket to the Churchill Downs to enjoy a mint julep, the iconic refreshment of the good folks residing in the Bluegrass State. Of course, after slugging a few mint juleps, which is essentially bourbon, sugar and water with a mint sprig, you might be more amenable to wearing a strange hat. It shouldn’t stop you from watching the Kentucky Wildcats, either.
- 1 oz. simple syrup
- 3 oz. whiskey—bourbon
- old-fashioned glass
- Place 5 or 6 leaves of mint in the bottom of a prechilled, dry 12-ounce glass or silver beaker.
- Add simple syrup
- Pack glass with finely cracked ice.
- Pour a generous 3 ounces of Kentucky bourbon over the ice.
- Stir briskly until the glass frosts.
- Add more ice and stir again before serving.
- Stick a few sprigs of mint into the ice so that the partaker will get the aroma.
LSU: THE SAZERAC
Hurricanes — both of the storm and beverage variety — have a long history of wreaking havoc on Louisiana residents. But it’s the distinguished Sazerac that is the official drink of New Orleans. When it comes to watching football at Tiger Stadium, a hurricane might be detrimental to actually remembering the game’s outcome. Although, the Sazerac’s mixture of rye, bitters, sugar and absinthe could have similar effects on one’s memory.
- 1 Sugar Cube
- 2 1/2 oz. rye whisky
- 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
- 1 dash Angostura Bitters
- lemon peel
- old-fashioned glass
- In an Old-Fashioned glass (not a mixing glass; it’s part of the ritual), muddle a sugar cube with a few drops of water.
- Add several small ice cubes and the rye whiskey,* the Peychaud’s bitters, and the Angostura bitters.**
- Stir well and strain into a second, chilled, Old-Fashioned glass in which you have rolled around a few drops of absinthe (no substitute really works, but you can try either a mix of Pernod and green Chartreuse, or Absente) until its inside is thoroughly coated, pouring off the excess.
- Garnish with a twist of lemon peel (some insist that this be squeezed over the drink and discarded; Handy wasn’t so picky).
A Mississippi Punch can be enjoyed at both Mississippi State and Ole Miss. True to its name, the drink packs a wallop, meeting at a confluence of dark rum, bourbon and brandy or cognac. With both the Rebel and Bulldog programs throwing some clout around in recent years, a Mississippi Punch could make for the perfect marketable libation at either Vaught-Hemingway or Davis Wade stadium — just as long as they don’t lead to real punches thrown at the annual Egg Bowl between the two bitter Magnolia State rivals.
- 2 ounces cognac
- 1 ounce whiskey — bourbon
- 1 ounce rum — dark rum
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons superfine sugar
Shake well with cracked ice in a chilled cocktail shaker, then strain into a Collins glass 2/3 full of cracked ice. Garnish with fruit — a slice of orange and a few raspberries, if they’re in season, should do it — and attack with straws.
MISSOURI: MISSOURI MULE
Legend has it the Missouri Mule was concocted for former President Harry S. Truman to commemorate his home state and political party. Apparently the pride of the Show Me State was a fan of bourbon, applejack, Campari and Cointreau. Can Missouri alums and fans be as open-minded when taking in their Tigers at Faurot Field?
- 3/4 ounce bourbon
- 3/4 ounce Applejack
- 3/4 ounce Lemon Juice
- 1/2 ounce Campari
- 1/2 ounce Triple Sec
Created for President Harry S. Truman. It signifies Truman’s homestate of Missouri and the Democratic Party mascot, the donkey (the mule is a hybrid of a male donkey and female horse).
SOUTH CAROLINA: FIREFLY SPIRITS SWEET TEA
Every state in the South believes they serve up the best sweet tea the planet Earth has to offer. South Carolina is no exception, only the brilliant minds of the Palmetto State’s Wadmalaw Island discovered what happens when you infuse sweet tea with vodka. The creation was Firefly Spirits, and it could have Gamecock fans crowing on Saturdays at Williams-Brice Stadium.
The NCAA will likely frown at the thought of Tennessee handing out mason jars of moonshine to its fans every Saturday at Neyland Stadium. Better scale it back a notch and go with Lynchburg Lemonade for Volunteers home contests. Apparently the Alabama-Tennessee rivalry extends beyond the gridiron to the courtroom where Jack Daniels was recently sued by an Alabama man who accused the distillery of stealing his recipe.
- 1 part Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7
- 1 part triple sec
- 1 part sour mix
- 4 parts lemon-lime soda
Combine and stir. Garnish with a lemon slice.
TEXAS A&M: LOCAL BREWERIES
Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp has taken swipes at former rival Texas recently regarding the Longhorns’ consideration of selling beer at home games. If the Aggies were to have a change of heart, Kyle Field’s beer of choice could come from local brews such as Blackwater Draw Brewing Company or New Republic Brewing. It’s unlikely they branch out to Austin-based Shiner Bock, home of the Longhorns. Or they could go in their own unique Aggie direction and offer the best margaritas in the SEC.
Remember earlier when we asked how many teams and cocktails share the same name? Turns out, two of them can be found in the SEC. You have to sip on a commodore when attending a Commodores game at Vanderbilt Stadium. An aggressive drink, a commodore features bourbon, crème de cacao, grenadine and angostura bitters and is highly recommended to get fans through Vandy football games.
- 1 1/2 ounces whiskey — bourbon
- 1 ounce creme de cacao — creme de cacao
- 1 ounce lemon juice
- 1 dash grenadine
Shake well with cracked ice, then strain into a chilled champagne glass. Alternatively, this one makes a good blender drink. Just add 4 or 5 ice cubes per drink and whir it up.
Editors Note: The majority of copy is attributed to Chris Wuensch at SaturdayDownSouth.com. Recipes were added by OSM staff.