Hillgating 9-27-2011

Ditch the Facepaint

There's never been a better time to class up your tailgate.

Football has never before fielded more style-savvy players (see: Reggie Bush, Tom Brady, Dhani Jones, and on and on). These guys are rocking tuxedos, making best-dressed lists, starting their own bowtie line, for gods sake. And yet, we continue to celebrate these guys by decamping in a parking lot and guzzling High Life. It seems, well, wrong.

Lets class up the joint a bit.

Rooted in Tradition

To be sure, upscale tailgating is nothing new. At Hampden–Sydney College, an all-mens school located in the heart of Virginia, the fancy tailgate is a long-standing tradition. Like something out of The Great Gatsby, men and their dates would spread across the grassy hill adjutting the stadium and watch the action from there; all the while sipping cocktails while clad in bow ties and sundresses. Hillgating was eventually banned, and spectators forced to consume their drinks in the parking lot like mere mortals. However the rest of it stuck around: nice dress, nice drinks, nice food.  And, after all, why wouldn’t it?


Dress to Impress

Fine, bow ties are a stretch. But there’s no need to look like a slob. Keep the jeans slim, the sneakers hip, and the paraphernalia to a minimum (do you really need the shirt, the hat, the hoodie, and the foam finger?) Just ask yourself WWTBW. We think Brady would ditch the chest paint for a nice sweater.


Feed the Beast

Instead of franks, go for quality sausages on quality buns (or, go crazy, and use brioche). Instead of burgers, spring for a marinated flank steak. Cold roast beef and horseradish on rolls will make you look like a master chef. French-style potato salad with mustard instead of mayonnaise is going to be your new favorite thing. Chips? Sure, why not. But spring for the kettle-cooked version; they’re heartier anyway.


Drink in Style

Don’t get us wrong, beer is swell. An icy bottle on a hot day is obviously a thing of beauty. But there’s also something to be said for pushing boundaries. Lets talk champagne.


We know, we know. Think champagne is solely for the ladies? Think again. A simple, sophisticated champagne cocktail works wonders. And, yes, it doesn’t hurt that a well-made version will make you a hero to the fairer sex. We’re especially enamored of this not-too-sweet version that incorporates bourbon. We all know nothing with bourbon can be anything less than manly.



Angustora bitters

Bourbon (the lighter the better)

Orange or peach liquor

Champagne (Prosecco will do in a pinch)


The play:

Pour one part liquor and two parts bourbon in a champagne flute; add a couple dashes of bitters. Slowly top with the (ice-cold) champagne. Keep a suave grin plastered on your face. Serve.


Ok. Now enjoy. And remember, no facepaint.

TAGS: Angustora bitters | Bourbon | Champagne | Dhani Jones | Football | Hampden–Sydney College | Prosecco | Reggie Bush | tailgate | The Great Gatsby | Tom Brady

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  • avatar
    Matt Weaver
    There are no instructions on how to mix the cocktail?
    37 months ago | Report abuse |
    • avatar
      The Editors
      No shaking or mixing necessary. The champagne should do the trick on its own.
      37 months ago | Report abuse |