Fall is football season! While it’s definitely comfy to catch a game from your own cozy living room, there’s nothing quite like enjoying the action in person. Plus, going to a game means the opportunity to tailgate, which is arguably the only socially acceptable way to hang out in a parking lot, drinking and blasting tunes before noon.
Whether you’re a diehard NFL fan, a season ticket holder to your alma mater or just a casual observer, we’ve got a few tips and tricks to help you make the most of a pregame gathering:
- Be a weather warrior: Autumn temperatures are super fickle. One minute, it’s sunny t-shirt weather, and the next brings a cold breeze that has you scrambling for a sweater. Before you leave for the tailgate, check the weather so you know what to expect. Err on the side of caution and wear or bring layers: warm socks, a hat and scarf and maybe even long underwear. Pick up a few packets of handwarmers at a drugstore or hardware store, and make sure there’s an umbrella or two in your trunk. Be a pal and bring extra blankets, hats and gloves for your friends who will inevitably forget them!
- Don’t skimp on the snacks: The classic comfort tailgating food (wings, chips and dip, sliders, etc.) are always welcome, but bring along some vegetarian dishes for your meat-free friends. A hearty grain salad (like our quinoa apple salad), crudités with cider-infused hummus and just a bag of apples leftover from your apple picking adventures. Don’t forget dessert! Bring something everyone can handhold (cider brownies, anyone?) to reduce the number of disposable plates and forks.
- Double down on the drinks: Pack a cooler with drinks that everyone can enjoy. Jack’s Hard Cider is vegan, gluten-free and pairs well with all kinds of food—savory, spicy and sweet—so bring a mix of flavors for your crew! A few local craft beers and a bottle of wine will round out the selection. Mix up a big batch of a cider cocktail made with Jack’s and bring it along in a growler or larger bottle to share with the crowd. Of course, it’s always considerate (and important to help everyone pace themselves) to have plenty of sparkling and still waters and other non-alcoholic beverages on hand for the designated drivers or anyone not imbibing. An insulated container of hot apple cider (bonus points if it’s mulled!) or coffee is a nice touch.
- Chairs to share: Hanging out by the food and playing lawn games (KanJam aka bean bag toss is a perennial favorite) are fun, but it’s important to have a place to take a load off. Bring a few folding stools, beach chairs or other easy-to-transport chairs. Be a sport and bring an extra one along, too.
What are your favorite ways to rock a tailgate party? Let us know in the comments, and enjoy football season!
Jack’s Hard Cider — Produced from Pennsylvania Apples. Pressed On-Site. Never from Concentrate.
Photos, top to bottom: Bigstock; Pexels; Dish Works