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Three tailgate-perfect punches that beat cheap beer by miles

Everyone loves a pre-game cookout, but let’s face it: for a lot of people, there is no tailgating without adult beverages. You don’t have to look hard to find a case of beer or a nip of something strong.

But what if beer and straight rum aren’t to your taste? It’s not easy to make the perfect martini in the trunk of your car, so here are three drinks you can mix ahead of time and bring to the tailgate. Just plan on sharing, or else you might not make it to the game.


Apple Pie-Infused Bourbon

This tasty bourbon twist from Southern Living takes nearly a week of pre-planning, but once it’s ready, it’s easy to transport and requires no garnish or ice.


  • 1 chopped Golden Delicious apple
  • 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle of bourbon
  • ¼ cup simple syrup (made with sugar and water)


  1. Place first chopped apple, cinnamon sticks and nutmeg in a 1-quart canning jar. Add bourbon; cover with metal lid, and screw on band. Let bourbon stand at room temperature 4 days.
  2. Make simple syrup by combining 1 cup sugar and ½ cup water in saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Boil 1 minute or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, and cool 30 minutes. Set aside ¼ cup for apple pie-infused bourbon, and store the rest in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
  3. Shake jar to distribute flavors. Pour bourbon mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a pitcher, discarding solids. Stir in Simple Syrup, and pour into a clean 1-quart. canning jar or 3 to 4 small bottles. Bourbon can be stored in refrigerator for up to two months.

Rum Punch

This ruby-red concoction from Bobby Flay makes 8 to 10 servings, so you might want to make a double batch if you want it to last until game time.


  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 cups grenadine syrup
  • 2 cups Jamaican white rum
  • 1 cup light rum
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple juice 
  • 2 cups fresh orange juice
  • pinch of fresh nutmeg (optional)
  • orange slices (for garnish)
  • pineapple slices (for garnish)


Mix all ingredients together in a pitcher or punch bowl. Chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving. Garnish with orange or pineapple slices.

Bloody Mary

Like your drinks even spicier than your chips and salsa? This Bloody Mary recipe from Food Network will be sure to give your tailgate the kick it needs.

  • 3 large celery stalks, including leaves, plus extra for serving
  • 36 ounces tomato juice
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon grated yellow onion
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoons celery salt
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 dashes hot sauce (or to taste)
  • 1½ cups vodka


  1. Cut celery into large dice, including leaves, and puree in a food processor. Process until finely minced.
  2. In a large pitcher, combine the rest of the ingredients except the vodka.
  3. With the food processor running, pour a quarter of the tomato juice mixture into the food processor through the feed tube. Then pour the contents of the food processor into the pitcher with the remaining tomato juice mixture.
  4. Add the vodka and chill. Serve over ice and with celery.

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