Alas, Ole Miss home game weekends eclipse around the Center of the Universe, and the most social season of the year reigns over Oxford, Mississippi. The Yay, we can wear leather jackets, and boots, and sweaters again (soon anyway), followed by Eeeek, What am I Wearing to the Game?!
But you’ve got that one.
I fully expect to see quintessential Cicada Girls bringing it, confidently strutting up South Lamar Vaught Hemingway bound.
Hell yeah, you will! And with damn-right accessories in tow in all things Rebel Red and Blue. (Seriously, that Cicada and Kelly Wynne collab, thanks to Anne-Marie, on a luscious mini handbag that’s NOT clear and meets the new SEC specs, is genius.)
Now, WHAT TO DRINK? Well, that’s super important too. Right up there with Uber and lipstick fitting in aforementioned stadium-approved handbag.
The booze—the game day cocktail—is CRUCIAL to tailgate hosting success and can make or break a tent vibe. That powerful? I think so. And let’s be honest: Pregame on the illustrious, entertaining-savvy University of Mississippi campus is NO place for a Pinterest cocktail fail.
While I love a craft cocktail as much as the next girl, I know we hostesses need a manageable game day drink to schlep through the Grove with reasonable ease—to execute and even garnish without a bartender. A drink we can call a cocktail, but without a jigger or shaker in sight.
Solution: BATCH DRINKS.
It sounds easy enough—and it is—as long as you first understand it. Not to sound all Faulkneresque, but understanding the key components of the cocktail (spirits, sour, sweet) and how they meld together to become one is essential to creating a balanced cocktail.
TIP: When batching, keep in mind that fresh-squeezed citrus is there to enliven the drink but has a short shelf life. Always add it as close to drinking time as possible. No real biggie. Just measure and mix everything else ahead and squeeze fresh lemons and limes, when applicable, to add last.
Even when kickoff is before noon, we all need a tailgate toddy to pour and serve far beyond the eye-opening, spicy Bloody Mary hours. (Who can drink more than one Bloody anyway?) A boozy thirst quencher, since high-humidity game days can be so dang brutal. I don’t know about you, but I’m just not ready to give up summer’s ever-enchanting, lightly fruity and delicately sweet rosé. Noooo. Not yet. Not ever!
Luckily, the pretty pink and salmon-hued wine we’ve all come to adore plays well with others in many a cocktail, and it just happens to pair quite beautifully with the South’s unofficially Official Distilled Spirit of Fall and Football: BOURBON.
Think bourbon-spiked rosé sangria!
If you’re a rosé or bourbon girl, then Rosé Rebel Tea is your new Grove cocktail spirit animal. Hibiscus tea naturally is this gorgeous, velvety DEEP RED hue when brewed with a strong floral note. Batch it up and mellow it the night before with bourbon, rosé and a little elderflower liqueur. Berries soaked sangria-style in the mixture overnight add all the sweetness it needs. (No sugar!) Add a blueberry garnish when serving and you have a pre-mixed, covetable cocktail that screams, “Go, Rebs!”
NOTE: Rosé Rebel Tea is not just for the girls. Any man who appreciates a good bottle of wine, and that includes rosé, may sit out on a beer or bourbon and join in for a taste, so be a gracious hostess!
FIN’S UP for declaring Bourbon and Rosé All Day!
Just try not to spill a bloody drop on that haute new designer handbag.
Read on for the recipe!
Rosé Rebel Tea
3 cups water
8 hibiscus tea bags
2 (750 ml) bottles rosé wine (Notorious Pink is a fave)
1 ½ cups bourbon (preferably Buffalo Trace, Maker’s Mark or Four Roses)
1/2 cup (4 ounces) St Germain elderflower liqueur
1 large lemon, sliced
1 pint blueberries, divided
Heat 3 cups water and steep tea bags for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove tea bags, squeezing excess liquid. Allow to cool.
Transfer tea to a large airtight container. Add rosé, bourbon, elderflower liqueur, half of the blueberries and lemon slices. Chill overnight.
On game day, shake or stir mixture well when ready to serve and pour into cups filled with ice. Garnish with berries and a lemon slice. Cheers! – Delta Drinks
Makes 3 quarts
Melissa Townsend, a Southern lifestyle editor, curates and creates cocktails @deltadrinks on Instagram.