The big game, tailgate parties and drinking responsibly

New York Jets Tailgate Lot 5A

New York Jets Tailgate Lot 5A

Whether you’re watching the Super Bowl, school home games, or just partying in your dorm rooms, food and beverages are a part of the fun. Your Super Bowl party, tailgate party or friendly get-together in your college dorms can feature the snack staples of chips and dip as well as unique appetizers and fancy drinks. No matter where you party, remember to drink responsibly, and remember that it’s still a party even without alcohol!

Celebrate with unique appetizers

Inspired by the Super Bowl, you may now feel that every home game at your school is a chance to celebrate big. Gather friends together and chow down on some munchies. Don’t forget the staples of game food: chips and dip, cheese and crackers, buffalo wings and pizza. But for something a little different, Joseph Zucker at has some suggestions in his January 28, 2013, article, “Super Bowl Snacks: Unique Appetizers Are Sure to Spice Up Your Party”:

  • Chili Bites: “The bites are essentially just a miniature version of the kind of larger bread bowls that soup or salad can be served in. Your friends hollow out the dinner roll themselves and add whatever toppings they want.”
  • Bacon Cheese Dip: make with bacon, blue cheese, sour cream and cream cheese.
  • Baked Chicken Wings: barbecue sauce wings and bake in the oven (cuts down on the calories).
  • Plain Chicken tenders: cut chicken breasts into strips, coat in breadcrumbs and bake (also low in calories).

Tailgate parties: outdoor fun

Having a party out the back of your car or truck is uniquely American. Party-goers pack lunches (sometimes gourmet meals with lobster and steak) or fire up the grill. Bring a folding table and some chairs, munchies and drinks and you’re ready to celebrate the big game.’s Tailgating 101 has some tips for the perfect tailgate party:

  • Make a list of things to bring and check them off as you pack them: paper products (plates, napkins, towels, forks, spoons, etc.), as well as a first aid kit, trash bags, water and damp towels in zip-locking plastic bags for easy cleaning.
  • Arrive 3 to 4 hours before the game and park next to a grassy area or at the end of the parking row for extra room.
  • Don’t forget to dress in your team colors and decorate your site with team pennants.
  • Talk to your tailgate neighbors, make new friends, throw a football among yourselves, share food, swap recipes.
  • Leave your area clean and pick up trash.

Drinking responsibly

If you and your friends are 21+, then partying before, during and after a big game may involve drinking. And drinking responsibly doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun. Indiana University offers “Hints for Sensible, Moderate, and Responsible Alcohol Consumption and Party Hosting,” adapted from R.C. Engs, to keep you alert, safe and healthy:

  • Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Eat before and during the time you’re drinking.
  • Limit alcohol intake to one drink per hour.
  • Know exactly what you’re drinking before you drink it.
  • Alternate soft drinks, water or coffee between alcoholic drinks.
  • Designate a driver who will not drink during the party. Swap designated drivers with your friends every few parties so the same person isn’t always the driver.

Non-alcoholic partying

Remember too that watching the big game together doesn’t have to include alcohol. Other party ideas:

  • Play a quick game of pick-up football, basketball or soccer to get you in the gaming spirit.
  • Tell stories about your best game moments or pratfalls.
  • Serve mocktails. Nora Maynard wrote in “Straight Up: Non-Alcoholic Cocktails that Impress,” at, “Infused syrups. Muddled fruit. Zippy garnishes. Stylish glassware. Why should drinks made with a shot of the hard stuff have all the fun? Move over, Shirley Temple. ‘Soft’ cocktails are growing up.” She includes fabulous recipes for smoothies, mint juleps and exotic elixirs of ginger and lime. You can also serve sparkling apple or grape juice.
  • Have a barbecue, picnic or make-your-own ice cream sundae.
  • Play board games, video games or card games.
  • Have a theme night: Hawaiian, zombie, carnival or costume party.

Gathering friends together for munchies, soft drinks and good conversation always works, and is always a good time. Just remember to abide by your dorm or apartment’s noise codes to keep everyone out of trouble!

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