Countdown to Kickoff: Cocktails for Sunday's Big Game

Image: The Bourbon Conversion, courtesy of Red’s Table in Reston, VA

No matter who you are you rooting for this weekend, these drinks will keep your parties spirited from the first quarter to the post-game analysis.

On Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons will meet the New England Patriots in Houston for football season’s greatest showdown. Serve up these libations – inspired by teams, key players and the sport itself – to rabid fans at your raucous gatherings.

Tequila Touchdown cocktail recipe - Super Bowl Sunday and football cocktails

Tequila Touchdown

Recipe courtesy of Red’s Table, Reston, VA

This tangy take on the Margarita makes use of seasonal blood oranges, which give the drink a shock of bright red and intense citrus flavor. The recipe is batchable, so feel free to scale it to a pitcher or a punch bowl so guests can serve themselves and you won’t miss a play.

  • 1 ½ oz. Tequila
  • ¾ oz. blood orange puree
  • ½ oz. lime juice
  • ½ oz. honey syrup
  • Kosher salt, for rimming glass
  • Orange slice, for garnish

Rim a goblet glass with the salt, and set aside. Add first four ingredients to a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake until chilled. Strain it into the prepared goblet over fresh ice, and garnish with the orange slice.

Bourbon Conversion cocktail recipe - Super Bowl Sunday and football cocktails

Bourbon Conversion

Recipes courtesy of Red’s Table, Reston, VA

This Boulevardier riff has a drizzle of brandied cherry juice for complex sweetness, and a float of hard cider to temper the ABV. Serving it over a sphere or large cube will keep the drink colder, longer.

  • 1 ½ oz. Bourbon
  • ½ oz. Campari
  • ¾ oz. Cocchi Americano
  • Drizzle of brandied cherry juice
  • Wild Hare Hard Cider, to float (or substitute any hard cider)
  • Wide orange peel, for garnish

Add first four ingredients to a cocktail glass, add ice, and stir until well chilled. Strain it into a chilled rocks glass over fresh ice, float the cider on top, and garnish with the orange peel.

The Game Changer cocktail recipe - Super Bowl Sunday and football cocktails

The Game Changer

Recipe courtesy of Casamigos Tequila

The secrets to this savory sipper are spicy bitters, and an ice cube that’s been frozen with basil, lemon and hot peppers. The latter adds a pop of flavor to the drink as it melts.

  • 1 oz. Casamigos Blanco Tequila
  • 1 oz. tomato juice
  • ½ oz. lime juice
  • 4 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 dashes Scrappy’s Firewater Bitters
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 large ice cube frozen with basil, lemon and serrano pepper
  • Chilled Mexican beer
  • Tajin seasoning, for rimming glass

Rim a pint glass with Tajin Seasoning, and add prepared ice cube. Add first six ingredients to pint glass, and stir to combine. Top with chilled Mexican beer.

Passing Game Punch cocktail recipe - Super Bowl Sunday and football cocktails

Passing Game Punch

Recipe courtesy of Sagamore Spirit Rye Whiskey; Serves 10-20

Punch is perfect for a Super Bowl party (and its host), as it can be prepped in advance. Just be sure to add to the apple cider right before serving so it retains its refreshing effervescence.

  • 1 bottle Sagamore Spirit Rye Whiskey
  • 6 cups apple cider
  • 20-30 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 12-24 oz. chilled Hard Crisp Apple Cider
  • 2 oranges
  • Cinnamon, for rimming

Peel one orange in twists to be used as a garnish for glasses, reserving orange. Mix together apple cider, rye and bitters in a large punch bowl (this can be done for up to a day or two before serving). Right before serving, add the hard cider and any additional bitters (to taste), then squeeze the peeled orange into the punch. Cut the other orange into wheels and add to bowl as a garnish. To serve, rim glasses with cinnamon, ladle punch over ice, and garnish with an orange twist.

Bourbon Blitz cocktail recipe - Super Bowl Sunday and football cocktails

Bourbon Blitz

Recipe courtesy of Whiteface Lodge, Lake Placid, NY; Serves 10

Spicy, seasonal and boozy, this communal cocktail has it all – and it pairs perfectly with sticky sweet Teriyaki wings.

  • ½ bottle Buffalo Trace Bourbon
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 bottles chilled Crabby’s Ginger Beer
  • Apple, orange and cloves, for garnish

Mix bourbon, juice from lemons, apple cider and maple syrup in a punch bowl over ice, and top with ginger beer. Garnish with orange and apple slices, and a tablespoon of cloves. Serve in a tall, thin glass like a flute or Collins glass.

Bye Bye Brady

Recipe courtesy of The Mercury, Atlanta, GA

Perhaps no Quarterback in the NFL is more polarizing than Tom Brady. Love him or hate him, there is no disputing that he’s had a big impact on the game. This tropical cocktail--from an Atlanta restaurant that wants to see him go down in flames, gets its tanginess from a passionfruit syrup.

  • 1 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. dark rum
  • 1 oz. passion fruit syrup (see Note)
  • ½ oz. lime juice
  • ½ oz. grenadine
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Orange wedge or lime wheel, for garnish

Add all ingredients except garnish to a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a Hurricane glass over crushed ice, and garnish with the orange wedge or lime wheel.

For the passionfruit syrup:

Combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup boiling water and ¾ cup passion fruit puree. Mix well.

The Kickoff cocktail recipe - Super Bowl Sunday and football cocktails

The Kickoff

This New England-inspired cocktail is made with two local booze brands: Bully Boy Distillers in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and Narragansett Beer from Rhode Island. To make things even more fun for guests, set out a fixings bar with hot sauces, spices and other condiments for a customized Bloody Mary creation on game day.

  • 2 oz. Bully Boy Vodka
  • 3 oz. Narragansett Lager Beer
  • 4 oz. tomato juice
  • Preferred hot sauce, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pickle for garnish

Mix all ingredients except garnish in a highball glass over ice, and garnish with the pickle.

Brady Punch cocktail recipe - Super Bowl Sunday and football cocktails

Brady Punch

Recipe courtesy of Harbor View Hotel, Edgartown, MA

Named for the quarterback who’s a legend in New England, this tiki tipple has the colors of the Patriots’ logo: red, white and blue.

  • 2 oz. white rum
  • ¾ oz. lemon juice
  • ¼ oz. orgeat syrup
  • ¼ oz. ginger syrup
  • Splash Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Splash Blue Curaçao
  • 3 blackberries
  • Strawberries and blueberries (several reserved for garnish)

In a Hurricane glass, muddle 3 blackberries and 3 blueberries. Pack the glass with crushed ice. Mix the first four ingredients in a shaker with ice. Strain it into the glass, add the bitters and Curaçao, and garnish with 1 strawberry and several blueberries.

Kelly Magyarics, DWS, is a wine, spirits and lifestyle writer, and wine educator, in the Washington, D.C. area. She can be reached through her website, www.kellymagyarics.com, or on  Twitter  and  Instagram  @kmagyarics.