It's been a crazy year for football, dare I say even crazier than the pandemic year when we weren't even certain IF there would be any football at all. Our goal this year is to arm you with all the things you'll need to host the best party and integrate a little bourbon along the way. Super Bowl is always a tough party to host as it's a "school night" and whether or not you have kids, adulting lies on the other side of what is typically an evening filled with excess. If you aren't taking a vacation day on the Monday following, do yourself a favor and check your medicine cabinet and make sure you're stocked up on ibuprofen, if not, add that to the shopping list. Future you will thank you. Below we outline all the things you'll want to think about in the lead up to Super Bowl this year to make hosting a party a breeze.
Super Bowl Food
Hosting a Super Bowl party is no small feat, and if you're the landing spot for your friends and family you'll want to make sure you have a spread that accommodates a lot of healthy appetites. Sure, folks have made some New Year's resolutions, but it's cheat day and nobody is going to be caring that there isn't a vegetable plate in sight. Do yourself a favor and ask your guests to bring something to share to help make sure that everyone has something they like and to distribute the burden of making "all the things." Below are our top choices for this year's party.
Buffalo Chicken Dip
A game day favorite, and a recipe you really can't go wrong with, Buffalo Chicken Dip is that shareable snack that tends to disappear quickly so plan accordingly. Probably the best part of this recipe and a theme for our entire Super Bowl prep recommendations is it's simple to put together. For those Seinfeld fans, you might also keep an eye out for double dippers..."it's like putting your whole mouth into the dip!"
Crockpot Meatballs with Grape Jelly
This may sound completely ridiculous...meatballs, grape jelly? WTH? But trust us when we say that Crockpot Meatballs are not only simple to make, but it's a crowd pleaser as well. To make it even easier, make sure to buy some slow cooker liners so when it's all said and done you don't even have to wash your crock pot; just pick up the bag and throw it away!
Super Bowl Signature Drink
Beyond having a good selection of beer, pop (soda, coke, etc. depending on what part of the country you're in) and water available, you may want to consider a featured cocktail. I find that by having a "signature" drink for an event it cuts down on pouring lots of random things and streamlines my ability to focus on other things...like watching the game with everyone else. This year, I'm going to suggest a drink aptly named "The Tailgater."
1 shot "Mixer Bourbon" (aka cheaper bottles you didn't love)
2 Shots Ginger Beer
1/2 Can Ginger Sparkling Water
1 Teaspoon Woodford Cherry Juice
Woodford Cherry Garnish
This is one of those cocktails that seemingly most folks will enjoy, is simple enough to whip together and most importantly utilizes bourbon. The best part is that you can utilize any mixer quality bourbon you're looking to get rid of and watch your stocks of those hard to move bourbons drain down as the evening progresses!
Super Bowl Squares
Maybe you like to watch the horses or enjoy the occasional trip to Vegas, sure, who doesn't? Why not add a little extra fun for the event with some Super Bowl Squares. I have two games going this year, a five-dollar game and a twenty-dollar game. It's simple enough to put together using excel or just download any one of the million free templates out online. For more information, consult the Google. Pro tip, I note on my game boards that any open squares at game time will be "speakeasy squares" (aptly named after our garage bar) and if one of those hits, those funds will be put towards bar expenses...e.g. more bourbon.
Super Bowl Bourbon Tasting
While halftime is great and all, it tends to be an experience best had in person...instead of tuning in you could turn your attention this year to hosting a short bourbon tasting while you have your friends and/or family gathered around. If you've not considered it, it may be worth adding a few Foods That Pair with Bourbon to your menu to ramp up the overall experience for those who may be drinking bourbon neat. Below are three crowd pleasing bourbons that are easy enough to get ahold of that you could feature.
Weller Special Reserve
You aren't going to break the bank with this guy, but it's a solid pour and a great feature of what a wheated bourbon is all about. Admittedly, Ohio and Texas get the lion's share of the allocation of this particular bottle, but even if you're shopping the Secondary Bourbon Market, it's not an out of reach prohibitive cost to lay hands on one of these.
Four Roses Single Barrel
Four Roses puts out some great stuff and their single barrel offering is no exception. Overall, it's got a lot of great stuff going on and won't break the bank either. It's got just enough complexity to be interesting but not so much as to be overwhelming for some folks who may be new to bourbon to unpackage.
Woodford Double Oaked
Every time I write about this bottle, I think, I should just keep my mouth shut as it's one of my favorites, it's reasonably priced and readily available. I've often thought I should start socking away a couple cases of this to have on hand just in case. Nonetheless, it's a smooth pour that has a lot of the things that are quintessential to the American bourbon experience...oak, obviously...vanilla, ribbons of caramel and a touch of spice. It's more sweet than anything but it's a good one, if you haven't met it yet, get acquainted...you'll be saying "did we just become best friends?"
Food, gambling, a signature drink, quality bourbon...I suspect you'll be ready to go for the big day. If you're hosting the event in a garage bar like me, check out our post on Garage Bar Audio Visual | AV Must Haves to see how you can step up your game for the big game. Make sure to keep in the know and navigate back to our blog page and sign up for our weekly email by clicking here. While you're there, poke around and find all you need to know (and then some) about popular bourbon brands, bourbon knowledge and more. Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and yes, even TikTok for updates, contests, and special bourbon features.