It’s a first and goal-to-go all game-long if you have the right party ingredients!
While most folks might opt for what has become traditional food fare: chicken wings, spinach dip, baked nachos, tacos - there’s plenty of diversity in America’s Super Bowl food and drink menus. In fact, I was kinda’ “super” surprised to see the Super Bowl 2019 food trends by state, as per Google. Just goes to show the true diversity and the similarities that link us together make us more alike than we realize is truly what makes America great. To whit: Super Bowl food favs: Irish Stew in the Plains, Cobb Salad in the Carolinas, Cupcakes in the Gulf AND the Dakotas! See, we’re more aligned than we think.
With Gladys Knight singing the National Anthem - we’re surely be tempted to toast the evening as an homage to Knight as a national treasure. And bask in her her classy performer’s “kick-off” to the annual, entertainment extravaganza that is - as we all know - much more than a game.
Look here: The Half-Time entertainment show includes: Maroon 5, Travis Scott, Big Boi.
Then there’s the game itself (ha) -- The New England Patriots and The Los Angeles Rams.
(It’s a kind of coastal, power game competition, isn’t it?)
But let’s be really honest. The Super Bowl is a food and drink entertainment spectacle. So then; from an added entertainment vantage point - -- I suggest you think of the food and drink menu not so much as a one or two dish offering but rather - in the true sense of a performance - as an orchestration.
Seriously, to be a truly outstanding host - whether it’s a big party or a party of one - you can kick it up in a style is a glamourous, unforgettable, tasty celebration.
Let the games begin.
All things celebratory usually begin with the bubbly. Champagne or Sparkling Wine says party like nothing else. Therefore, I suggest a Mimosa or a Bellini.
The orange is a salute to the Rams’ California citrus pedigree and the state’s iconic fruit. In fact, the citrus was planted in the early mission gardens and the Golden State is now the nation’s leading supplier of oranges. (and lemons).
The Bellini is a nod to the Super Bowl locale: Atlanta. Everything in this great city is Peachtree this or that. And Peaches and sparkling wine is a bellissimo pairing.
To make a proper Mimosa or Bellini, choose your bubbly and for the Mimosa - mix one to one - orange juice to the sparkling wine.
For the Bellini, put about 2 ounces of peach pureé in a glass to about 4 ounces of sparkling wine - Prosecco or Champagne. (2 to 1 ratio). I love that we grow our own peaches and jar them up for a year's worth of heavenly Bellini's.
Cheese, nuts - or something salty - rolled prosciutto for example - is always tasty with Champagne and sparkling wine
This is the time when all things are possible. It’s a truly happy, blissful time of hope.
And given the time schedule - especially for East Coasters - this is really cocktail time.
Therefore, I suggest my classic - the Duchess Martini - my signature cocktail - and a featured drink in my swoon-worthy, soon-to-be-released The Art of the Garnish
I keep the potato vodka in the freezer, along with the martini glass, and the Dolin Blanc Vermouth in the refrigerator. Cold is key to the crisp, refreshing flavor of the Duchess martini. Dolin vermouth is preferred because the variety and quality of the botanicals is extraordinarily fresh, flavorful, and smooth. There simply is no substitute. One does not want a sweet or bitter vermouth. If drinking a gin martini with the gin being very botanical by its character, you can use the Dolin Dry Vermouth.
There is a symphony of martinis that have contributed to this cocktail’s classic status: Dry, Perfect, and Dirty.
My shorthand to make the Duchess Martini is to pour Dolin Blanc vermouth into the frozen martini glass - ⅔ full, swish around to “coat” the sides, and then pour ⅓ vodka. Increasingly, I also pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with some ice and shake it up till iced and strain and pour into a glass that's been nesting in the freezer.
I guess you can say I like it both ways, Mr. Bond. Shaken and stirred.
Lemon peel, lemon twist as curling ribbon. Those who also adore martinis garnish with the classic Olive. Many enjoy a “dirty martini” adds a splash of olive brine along with the olive garnish. There was a time when I enjoyed a Gibson martini and it’s cocktail, pearl onion garnish. The briny onion pickled in turmeric offers a savory, umami note of flavor.
Almonds -- good-for-you-healthy, nuts. There are endless varieties of almonds, from straight-away salted or unsalted, to my favorite: salted and roasted Spanish marcona almonds.
Oysters on the half shell are the sigh-worthy, local food complement to a good martini. The salty, briny, crisp medley of bivalve tastes mates well with the martini. It’s a classic pairing - especially because both share local waters -- and that brings the terroir “sense of place” taste to resonate. In fact, there are only five species of oysters in the US - the endless varieties offer differences in taste that comes from their local waters. My favorite oysters come from Long Island’s Peconic Bay, Malpeque, and Kumamotos.
Now the game is shaping up. We’re getting a feel of the players and the show’s vibe. Now is the time to serve up a some beer -- but not straight away -- rather use the brew to create beer-infused cocktails.
Sailor Jerry Throw Shade
Credit: Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
- 2 parts Sailor Jerry Rum
- Juice of half a lime
- 1.5 parts simple syrup
- 8 mint leaves
- Amber lager
Add Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum and shake over ice.
Serve in beer mug or pint glass on the rocks.
Top with Amber Lager.
The Backyard Bouie Credit: Drambuie
- 1 part Drambuie
- 2 parts Grapefruit Juice
- 4 Mint Leaves
- 3 parts Weissbier
Add beer to the shaker before straining over ice.
Monkey Shoulder Ginger Brewsky
Credit: Monkey Shoulder
- 1 part Monkey Shoulder
- ¾ part Ginger syrup
- ¾ part Fresh lemon juice
Add all ingredients other than beer to shaker.
Shake well with ice.
Strain into glass and top with beer.
HALF TIME - Show and Adverts
Take a break. Toast the Entertainment and sip a few glasses of sparkling water. Cleanse your palate. And indulge in local, regional soda. Back when soda pop or tonic -- or the other various terms for the soft drinks were called -- soda was as special and unique as the geography because of the plant-based flavors.
We see that A&W Root Beer was founded in California in 1919. Still one of my favorite drinks -especially in a float. Indulge. You deserve it after two long Super Bowl Quarters.
Massachusetts has more than its fair share of “wicked” soft drinks: Polar - my favorite sparkling, natural flavored spring waters. And you can’t say the Bay State without loving your Moxie soda - one of the first-ever bottled sodas in the US. I wrote about Moxie some years ago -- and was delighted to learn it has become a favorite of chefs and a well-deserved source of New England pride. At the same time, it’s a bit nerve-wracking that Coke-Cola acquired this iconic brand in August of last year; hoping it retains its charm and taste.
Here again, I can’t resist sharing a sneak peek preview from my Garnish book.
I developed this cocktail and think it’s a fun transition from the soft drink of half-time back to the robust cocktail. Plus you get a prize with the Cracker Jack treat!
I’m Nutty for You
Blends smoky, earthy, herbaceous flavors; cherries, caramel and honey notes
- 2 jiggers Best Damn Cherry Cola
- ½ to 1 jigger Vanilla-infused lapsang souchong tea simple syrup
- 1 jigger gin
- 1 jigger Averna (herbal, caramel)
- 2-3 shakes Fee Brothers or Modern Bar Cart Black Walnut bitters
- Handmade or artisanal (i.e. “real”) Maraschino cherry garnish - with speared
- Cracker Jacks
Now is when you’re either getting a wee bit nervous or are hoping the clock runs out. So sit back and enjoy the last of the skirmish.
Here’s a drink from the Garnish book - by way of Aperol - that is oh-so-appropriate for this time slot of the game:
- 1 oz Rose and Strawberry Sencha tea-infused vodka
- .5 oz Aperol
- .5 oz lemon
- .25 oz simple syrup
Combine all ingredients but the champagne into a shaker. Shake and fine-strain into a chilled cocktail glass and top with the champagne. Garnish with a single rose petal.
*Rose and Strawberry Sencha Tea-Infused Vodka
Combine a heaping quarter cup of strawberry Sencha tea to 750ml vodka and 1 drop rose water. Let infuse for 30 minutes. Strain and bottle.
Also from the Garnish book, courtesy of Hennessy, is the Game Changer. Perfect for right about now -- especially if you’re hoping for a “Hail Mary” winning play!
- 1.5oz Hennessy VS
- 1/5th oz Ardbeg 10 year old single malt scotch
- .5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
- .25 Agave Nectar
- 2 Dashes of Angostura Bitters
- .75 oz Pineapple juice
With a surprisingly great combination of smoke from the scotch, spice from Hennessy and sweet from the pineapple, this drink changes perceptions. Designed after a Caribbean dessert of grilled pineapple with grated cinnamon that was then flambéed in alcohol and served. The Ardbeg’s smokiness mimics the grill, while the Hennessy add’s the depth and base to this drink it also adds to the spice factor from the angostura bitters, there to add the cinnamon. The pineapple is a great addition to any shaken drink as the proteins in it froth when shaken to create a foamy top to any drink. The garnish of pineapple leaves is a nod to its tiki or island heritage and they help to create some contrast in the drink by having a dark color against the white foam and yellow drink.
Denouement or Post Game
Of course, you can make it all so easy on yourself and prepare “Pitchers and Punches” brimming-with-cheer. I often make punches for parties and holidays -- always to guests’ surprised delight. (Which in turn is surprising.) The The Essential New York Times Book of Cocktails offers more than a few as captured and curated by author Steve Reddicliffe who explained to me, “Punches were so popular in the late 1800s and early 1900’s when the Times first started covering drinks.” There are nearly 30 -- from David Wondrich’s “Original Chatham Artillery Punch” - a sure-fire knock-out that combines bourbon, Cognac, rum, and Champagne!)
I do hope you enjoy the game -- and the entertainment on the screen and in your glass on and on the plate. Please remember, it’s the clash of the sport not the winners or losers that matter.
Cheers to this classic American tradition. May the best team win.