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Yes, You Need Whiskey at Your Tailgate

Yes, You Need Whiskey at Your Tailgate

A cocktail and bratwurst (!) recipe that are brimming with whiskey

We're loving these two Knob Creek recipes from chef Michael Symon that combine the best of all things tailgating.

It's not just about the beer at your tailgate — OK, fine, the beer is still pretty darn important. But meet the new head coach that's rallying the troops at your tailgate: whiskey. After all, fall's the perfect time to get back to your brown spirits (and September is National Bourbon Heritage Month, in case you didn't know).

Which is why we're loving these two Knob Creek recipes that combine the best of all things tailgating. Beer and brats go hand in hand, and whiskey goes with just about everything. Celebrity chef Michael Symon created two recipes, one for the grill, and one for the red Solo cup, that your friends will be drooling over while singing fight songs (obviously). The bratwurst and kielbasa, simmered in a Knob Creek Rye jalapeño and beer broth, is both spicy and sweet, while the Knob Creek Bourbon Big and Stout is the perfect amount of sweet and boozy to warm your insides.

These are two must-make recipes for your upcoming tailgates, check out the recipes below.

Bratwurst & Kielbasa in Knob Creek Rye Jalapeno Beer Broth Recipe

Knob Creek Bourbon Big and Stout Recipe


Notre Dame Mixology: Tailgate Like A Champion Today

This is the final foreseeable match up between Notre Dame and Michigan on the football field and we’ve been blessed with a night game. What does that mean? All day tailgating of course.

We all know that the only true key to a good tailgate party in South Bend is a nice, big bucket of Martin’s fried chicken and a playlist including the Notre Dame Marching Band’s greatest hits, but what are you willing to do to make your Saturday party great?

Since we all have a little extra time on our hands before the late kickoff this Saturday, I have come up with a few cocktail recipes that will set your tailgate apart from the mundane of the guy two spots down who is serving warm Pabst and Popov mixed with knock off colas. Yes, it’ll cost more than a tank of gas and a 30-pack, but won’t it be worth it to become an #NDTwitterati legend?

This one will take a bit of effort and should be done the night before, but for you early risers in the parking lots it’ll be well worth it to get the day started off right. This recipe will fill a one gallon pitcher and will best be served with a pitcher that allows straining. By following the recipe, it will make approximately ten servings.

Food prep is as follows: wedge one lime and one lemon chop two stalks of celery into approximately one inch pieces slice one red and one green bell pepper into strips.

Pour three quarts of spicy vegetable juice into the pitcher and add lime, lemon, celery and peppers. Add one tablespoon hot sauce, one teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, two teaspoons prepared horseradish and 1/3 cup cocktail onions. If you so desire, add salt and/or black pepper to taste. Let sit overnight in a refrigerator.

Before serving, add one 750ml bottle of vodka (for extra spice, use Hanger One Chipotle or Absolut Peppar) and stir. Pour over ice into 16 ounce glass. Using large cocktail picks, garnish with one each of a wedge of lime, wedge of lemon, blue cheese-stuffed olive and cube of pepper jack or other white cheese. For added zest and spice, also add a strip of peppered beef jerky.

Yes, I know. That’s a LOT of work. But nothing cures a post-Friday hangover like a Saturday morning heartburn. Delicious, savory heartburn.

Coach Dan Devine would like one more of those 󈨏 Irish drinks.

This take on the classic French 75 is inspired by what was actually a mistake. So we can go ahead and call this the champagne of classic cocktails (which is somewhat coincidental since sparkling wine is a necessary ingredient to the original recipe).

The recipe is quite simple:

Pour 2 ounces Irish whiskey (author’s choice is 2 Gingers, in honor of the leprechaun) into a mixing glass with ice. Add 1/2 an ounce lemon juice and shake vigorously. Strain into martini glass or champagne flute and top with your favorite hard cider. That’s it!

I recommend finding the driest cider possible Strongbow is one of the best and easily attainable, but this will work with any level of sweetness. If you don’t have the time or care to stop for some disposable flutes/martini glasses, I suggest at least getting the nice clear plastic cocktail cups. Plus, this way you can completely avoid as many Toby Keith references as possible.

For a little extra flavor, I highly encourage you to add a cinnamon stick.

Dead Wolverine

Is the time ticking away before kickoff? Need something strong and tasty for one last punch? Are you looking to get that little extra buzz before stumbling walking to the gate? With a fun, game week-appropriate name and a delicious product, this variation of a dead nazi is the perfect way to end the party.

Quite simply take 3/4 ounces of Fireball (or other cinnamon) whiskey and 3/4 ounces of Barenjager honey liqueur. Pour into shot glass.

Disclaimer and Other Mumbo-Jumbo

While I hope you give one or all of these drinks a try this weekend, please remember to stay safe and be responsible adults. All previous drinks should be consumed only by drinkers of a legal age (21 in Indiana) and please please PLEASE do not drive if you are under the influence. We all want to have fun this weekend, and there is no reason why we can’t all be safe and smart.

Believe me, Brady Hoke will say and do plenty of stupid things during and after the game for all of us.

I will also be sending NDTex a new drink each week based on our current opponent in the Friday Roundup starting with this week, so keep your eyes open and bars stocked!


Distillery Etiquette: How to Not Be a Jerk on a Distillery Tour

Whether you’re headed on an excursion to the Bourbon Trail or just visiting the microdistillery in your backyard, follow these tips when you show up to tour and taste.

1. Don’t Name-drop and Expect Special Treatment

What’s the easiest way to irk the employees at a distillery, especially one with a smaller staff? “Telling everybody that you know the owners, but you haven’t made an appointment ahead of time and show up on peak Saturday hours unannounced expecting a private tour,” says Scott Harris,the co-owner of Catoctin Creek distillery in Purcellville, Va. “Bonus points for a busload of 20 people.” Be considerate and call ahead. You may want to rethink showing up with a large group anyway, which can be loud and distracting and completely overtake the tasting bar.

2. Keep Your Hands Off the Equipment

Those shiny copper stills are pretty to look at, but don’t touch them. “We have a variety of tours and tastings available, which all revolve around our working stills that tend to run very hot,” says Caley Shoemaker, the head distiller for Hangar 1 vodka in San Francisco. “We try to remind them that the equipment doesn’t generally like being hugged, no matter how tempting.” And unless you’ve been instructed that it’s OK to do so, don’t dip your fingers into the fermenting tanks of mash, either.

3. Don’t Rehash a Bad Experience That Made You Swear Off a Spirit for Life

Ever get sick from fill-in-the-blank booze that one time in college? Keep it to yourself, and keep an open mind. “All of our palates are different and change over time spirits you may have had a less-than-pleasant experience with years before can surprise you later,” says Jordan Felix, Westward American single-malt whiskey advocate for House Spirits distillery in Portland, Ore. “A lot of love, time and effort go into producing spirits. Be open to the staff’s suggestions, and politely speak your mind.”

4. Sip, Don’t Shoot

“We’ve seen patrons come through the tasting room and throw back our expressions without realizing that they’re tasting a single-malt whiskey,” says Rob Dietrich, the head distiller at Stranahan’s Colorado whiskey in Denver. “To help, we like to remind everyone that it’s meant to be a fun tasting and the best way to enjoy themselves is to savor the whiskey.” In other words, this isn’t a fraternity party or two-for-one shot night at your favorite watering hole.

5. Taste Something You Don’t Care For? Be Diplomatic.

“If you don’t like something, that’s fine not every spirit is going to trip your trigger,” says Matthew Strickland, the head distiller for District Distilling Co. in Washington, D.C. “You can even say it’s just not your cup of tea just don’t be rude about it.” And who knows? The whiskey-averse or the anti-vodka snob just might discover a new fave bevy.

6. Don’t Mansplain. Period.

“We have a lot of women that have worked at the distillery for a long time, including Becky [Harris] who is our chief distiller,” says Harris. “They absolutely know more than you do.”

7. Don’t Treat It Like a Flea Market

“There’s never room to haggle,” says Felix. “Prices are set for a multitude of reasons at a craft or large distillery, so it’s important to respect their process and price.” You wouldn’t think of bargaining over your tuna tartare appetizer or rib-eye steak at a restaurant, would you? Of course not.

8. Make Time Your Friend

Managing your day is very important, says Felix. Especially in cities and areas with a large concentration of distilleries, wineries and breweries. “We all enjoy indulging just make sure to not stack your day with everything back to back,” he says. Stop for meals and snacks in between visits, and don’t try to do (or drink) too much. “Turning up at a distillery visibly intoxicated or just plain wasted is a sure way to not be given a tour or served any drop of liquor,” he says.

9. Don’t Be “That Guy”

“You know the one—the dude that reads every issue of every whiskey magazine and has toured the Bourbon Trail so many times that Jim Beam had a plaque made for him,” snarks Strickland. “Yes, you know a lot about making booze, but perhaps the rest of our tour patrons do not.” Feel free to ask questions, but don’t monopolize the tour guide’s time with niche or esoteric comments or queries. Don’t be that guy.


The Sugar

Cubes or syrup? This is the question that will determine which type of sugar you use in your Irish Coffee. Buena Vista has always relied on C&H lumped cane sugar in its recipe. According to Nolan, the compact cubes ensure precise measurement and the cane sugar dissolves quickly and efficiently.

Jack McGarry takes a liquid approach with 3⁄4 ounce of Demerara syrup instead. He prefers Demerara syrup to sugar cubes for its consistency and rich flavor that “acts as a beautiful binder” between his French press coffee and choice of whiskey.

The verdict? Choose the sweetener that fits your palate. Honor the time-tested recipe with old-fashioned cubes, or, if you fancy the caramelly depth of Demerara sugar, cook up a batch of syrup for swirling into your coffee. Both will soothe in equal measure.


A Flavorful, Marinated Hamburger Recipe

I am talking game-changing hamburger recipe here.

These Whiskey Burgers are hamburger patties that are soaked in whiskey and garlic. Yes, I said soaked in whiskey. I have your attention now, right?

Hamburger recipes can be pretty basic, or they can be pretty outrageous like our BBQ Bang Bang Hamburgers! The key to the best hamburger recipes is getting the most flavor in your hamburger patty and the toppings.

Actually, we&rsquove got BOTH bases covered in this burger recipe. The most flavorful hamburger patties AND the most delicious topping&hellipcaramelized onions. Not an onion fan? Try these anyway.

Caramelized onions are so sweet they almost don&rsquot taste like an onion, or they are the best versions that onions can be. They top this simple but knock your socks of hamburger in the best way possible. Along with the onions we&rsquove got bacon. No need to talk about why there&rsquos bacon here, because BACON.


Kick it up a notch with a Cocktail

You might want to serve a signature cocktail at your whiskey tasting party.

Feature one of the whiskeys in your cocktail. Or, maybe you find that you really like one kind of whiskey and want to experiment a bit more with it. Here are some cocktails to try.

Whiskey (use your favorite)

Whiskey Ginger with Lime from The Good Hearted Woman

Whisky Cold Drip from Sprinkle and Sprouts

Whiskey Cherry Smash from Serena Bakes Simply from Scratch

Strawberry Grapefruit Whiskey Iced Tea from Serena Bakes Simply from Scratch


Thank You!

We are soooooo thankful you stopped by Tailgate Master to check out our always free tailgating tips & tricks! We are very humbled and proud have the best tailgaters and super-fans on the interwebtubez who are constantly stopping in and sharing wisdom. Thank you!

Oh… and as long as you are here, you might also enjoy the following related topics:
Pork Recipes | Tailgating Checklist | Smoker Recipes | More Tailgating Tips


Enrich the Syrup
“Don’t skimp on the honey syrup,” Simonson says. A 3-to-1 ratio of honey to water will result in a luxurious, full-bodied drink.

Don’t Add Egg White
An egg white is sometimes used in a Whiskey Sour to give the cocktail that lavish mouthfeel. But since the Gold Rush uses rich honey syrup, adding an egg white would be overkill.

Keep It Cold
Two steps will help ensure your drink is cold and stays cold longer as you enjoy it, de Rivera says: 1) Chill your serving glass. 2) Shake until a thin frost forms on the outside of the shaker.

Shake Hard—And Then Shake Some More
Honey can be tricky to integrate into a drink. The solution: “Shake the hell out of it,” Simonson recommends. “I like a Whiskey Sour when there are little bits of ice floating on top, and you only get that when you give the ice a real pelting.”


The Original Irish Coffee Recipe Is Actually from Ireland

General Tso’s chicken is one example of a dish that you think is Chinese but isn’t actually from China. Ditto chicken tikka masala, a dish common to Indian restaurants that was actually created in Scotland. And given the ubiquity of Irish coffee in bars and restaurants around the world, it would be easy to assume that this drink falls into this same category of culturally and geographically appropriated food. Sure, it calls itself "Irish," but is Irish coffee actually Irish? It turns out that Irish coffee was, in fact, created in Ireland, and the history of Irish coffee𠅊long with the story of how this spiked drink spread around the world—is plenty more interesting than just some Irishman pouring whiskey in his coffee cup and calling it a cocktail.

These days, there are several variations on the traditional Irish coffee recipe, but the original Irish coffee was created at the flying boat terminal in Foynes, Ireland. Yes, you read that right. Irish coffee was invented at a flying boat terminal. So, let’s start with the most obvious questions here. What is a flying boat, and why did it need a terminal? And why were people drinking whiskey in their coffee with some sugar and whipped cream at a building designed for flying boats, not a pub?

According to Margaret O&aposShaughnessy, director of the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum, which is also now home to the Irish Coffee Centre, a flying boat was an aircraft. It was basically a giant seaplane that was capable of traveling long distances, and back in the 1930s, Pan American World Airways ran a fleet of flying boats from New York to Ireland. “They flew from Long Island in the beginning, from Port Washington, to our village,” explains O’Shaughnessy. “The first international passenger flights on the Atlantic came to our small village of Foynes.”

The flying boat was a less-than-reliable bit of aircraft, however. O’Shaughnessy describes them as, 𠇋ig, big cumbersome things.” They weren’t pressurized so, by necessity, flew fairly low over the ocean, and that meant these flying boats were very susceptible to changing weather conditions. 𠇊 flight would leave here for New York, and if the weather became really too bad or atrocious on the journey, the pilot would have to make a decision to either continue to the United States or turn back and wait for better weather.”

That’s exactly what happened in October 1943. A flying boat that had departed from the terminal in Foynes had to turn around due to bad weather, and, as O’Shaughnessy tells it, “When they got word here that the people were coming back—Morse code, by the way, was the means of communication—they brought in the staff and the chef into the restaurant, to prepare food and drink for the weary passengers coming back. And Joe Sheridan, who was the chef here, he decided he was going to put some whiskey into the coffee that would warm them, and that’s how Irish coffee started out.”

The official, original Irish coffee recipe from Sheridan is a five step process with only four ingredients: hot coffee, sugar, cream, and whiskey. The first step is to preheat your glass with hot water. Pour that water out, then add a teaspoon of brown sugar and 𠇊 good measure of Irish whiskey” into the warm glass. Stir that together, pour in the hot coffee, and stir again. Pour lightly whipped cream so it floats on top of the hot coffee mixture, and serve.

This recipe was actually innovative at the time. Though whiskey was popular in Ireland, the combination of whiskey and coffee wasn’t some long-kept Irish secret. “No, it wouldn’t have been a ritual or a habit,” explains O’Shaughnessy. “He was just looking at ways of warming the passengers, and, as we all know, whiskey can warm up that stomach fairly lively. Rather than serve it up a straight drink, he just put it in the coffee. I don’t know, I can’t tell you why. Maybe that’s how he like it himself? I have no idea.”

The layers of dark coffee against the white cream were also an important part of the drink𠅊nd the reason why it was eventually served in a glass rather than a ceramic, opaque coffee mug—since they added to the so-called 𠇎ye appeal” of the drink. That visual was important because the staff at the flying boat terminal in this small Irish town were trying to impress the many famous Americans who came through. Seriously. �use this was 1939 to 1947, that’s the period when you had all the Hollywood movie stars transiting from the United States to Europe to entertain the troops during the war,” says O’Shaughnessy. “You had John F. Kennedy through here, you had all the big stars𠅋ob Hope, Bing Crosby.” There are even photos of Marilyn Monroe, just chilling at the flying boat terminal and sipping on an Irish coffee.

That travel between the United States and Ireland is eventually how the drink made its way across the Atlantic Ocean. “Joe was serving [Irish coffees], and a guy called Stanton Delaplane, a journalist from San Francisco, came through. He tried the drink, and he went back to San Francisco, and he met up with his friend Jack Koeppler," O’Shaughnessy explains, "who was the owner then of the Buena Vista Cafe on Fisherman’s Wharf" in 1952. As legend has it, Koeppler was intrigued by the drink and tried to recreate it with Delaplane&aposs help. The duo got the whiskey and the coffee part right. So much so that, according to a report from SF Gate, the pursuit of the perfect Irish coffee, "nearly killed Delaplane, who, after sampling dozens of failed experiments, nearly passed out on the cable car tracks."

But they struggled to get the cream to float on top as it did in Sheridan&aposs Irish coffee. Koeppler was so obsessed with getting it right, that he even went to Ireland, specifically to Shannon Airport, which had replaced the flying boat terminal in Foynes as the main hub, to taste it for himself.

Eventually, the mayor of San Francisco George Christopher, who was also coincidentally a dairy farmer, came into the Buena Vista, and suggested that Koeppler and Delaplane age the cream for 48 hours before frothing it up, to get the right consistency. It worked, and Irish coffee is still made at the Buena Vista Cafe the old-fashioned way, in glasses without stems and all. It remains an incredibly popular drink, and bartenders at the San Francisco tavern will make anywhere between 2,500 and 3,000 Irish coffees each day, according to a report from Punch.

The biggest difference between the San Franciscan Irish coffee recipe and Sheridan&aposs original is that the whiskey comes after the hot coffee. The recipe has been coopted and changed over the years. Some folks add Bailey&aposs either in addition to or in lieu of straight whiskey, others get spicy with a dash of nutmeg. But no matter where you go, you&aposll be able to find some variation on the boozy coffee beverage Sheridan created for cold and weary flying boat passengers all those decades ago. "What I am told by those folks who say they are the experts is that it’s the best known drink in the world, because no matter what country in the world you go to, Irish coffee will be on the menu," says O’Shaughnessy with pride. "And that is a fact.”


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