Although the temperature outside still feels like summer, this southern girl's mind is on two things: breaking out my fall wardrobe items and football season. The former Girl Scout in me always likes to be prepared for all situations, so I decided to seek some counsel on how to best ready one's self to be a good football fan.
First up: showing your team spirit. Fellas, this time, I put your needs ahead of my own and headed to The Rogue and Good Company (4450 Interstate 55 N., 601-362-6383, therogue.com). Whether you want to keep it casual or dress things up a little, the store offers plenty of options for you to show your colors. You can pair button-down shirts from the Thomas Dean Collegiate Collection (I'm partial to the gingham) with either pants or shorts. Roll up the sleeves for a casual look while it's still hot outside. These patterned shirts in school colors with small, embroidered logos let you show your pride without being so over-the-top as to paint your chest.
Another option for subtle spirit: knit shirts with contrast fabric paneling on the button placket. As the weather cools off, or for night games, a lightweight quarter-zip pullover in soft cotton with school logos provides something to keep off the chill without resorting to a sweatshirt or fleece.
Having taken care of showing your spirit on your person, you'll next need to equip your tailgating tent to be equally festive. I headed over to Fresh Ink in Highland Village (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 136, 601-982-0235, fresh-ink.com) and found so many fun things that I wanted to throw a party right then and there. The store offers a large selection of disposable and reusable goods and decorations, all of which you can personalize.
At the top of my list: an acrylic tray perfect for serving drinks and a personalized flask. You can also customize insulated tumblers with patterns and monograms in school colors, but if you like something more disposable, they also have foam cups and paper napkins that you can print with fun sayings, cheers, or school names. I'm a big fan of party cups, and these fun options mean I won't even have to break out the paint pens to make my own! What's better? They even have paper straws in school colors for a fun vintage vibe, plus plenty of containers to cart your food and supplies.
Lastly, it wouldn't be tailgating (or, let's face it, my column) without mentioning beverages. Visiting with Scott Jackson at Colony Wine Market (121 Colony Crossing Way, Madison, 601-898-1075, colonywinemarket.com), I came away with a couple of stellar suggestions to keep tailgaters happy and hydrated. Bearing in mind that hot weather and cold weather tailgating call for different drinking philosophies, we stuck to the warm-weather variety for now. For tailgating, it is important to consider that the cocktails should contain simple ingredients and be easy to make in big batches so you don't have to lug an entire liquor cabinet or spend all your pre-game time with a cocktail shaker in your hand.
The first cocktail Jackson suggested is inspired by a drink he used to make back in his collegiate days, but he updated it by adding Mississippi's own CatHead Vodka (catheadvodka.com) to the mix. Called the Ginger Cat, it contains Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka, fresh lemonade, natural cane sugar and ginger root. You can make the mix in a gallon tea pitcher with a lid and then just set it on a table, making it easy for tailgaters to keep themselves refreshed.
Next, for those who subscribe (as Jackson does) to the mantra, "Football and whiskey go hand in hand," he suggests a brown liquor cocktail with a twist. The Locomotive is a mixture of Scotch, lemon juice and triple sec. Jackson likes this cocktail for warm-weather games because the Scotch is a more delicate version of whiskey than bourbon and the lemon adds freshness.
Now, I'm even more ready for that first Saturday in September. And thanks to these (and other) local merchants, you, too, can be sure that whether your team wins or loses, you always triumph at tailgating. After all, isn't that just as important as the game?
recipes by Scott Jackson
- 1.5 oz scotch (I like Johnnie Walker Red or White Horse for this drink because of their smokiness)
- 1.5 oz of fresh lemonade
- Splash of triple sec
- Squeeze of lemon
Add all ingredients over ice in a red Solo cup and stir for happy tailgating!
- One gallon jug
- 16 lemons
- 1/3 cup of fresh grated ginger (ginger root is readily available at your local grocer)
- 1.75 liter Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka
- One cup of natural cane sugar (I use Florida Crystals from Kroger for all my cocktails and for making simple syrup)
Cut four of the lemons into slices and drop into the jug with the cup of sugar and the Cathead Honeysuckle vodka. Squeeze the rest of the lemons into the jug and discard. Drop in the grated ginger. Shake until the sugar in dissolved. Then fill the jug with ice and shake for several minutes (take turns if you need). Warning: this stuff is dangerous because you can't taste the alcohol. Cheers!