The drink of choice at each SEC stadium
The NCAA is experimenting with relaxing its alcohol-on-campus prohibition policy, allowing roughly 50 schools to serve libations at football venues throughout the country beginning this fall.
The practice got a major test run at this year’s College World Series in Omaha, Neb., to what appeared to be rave reviews.
The NCAA got this one right. Beer at the College World Series. Wonder if they can fix the 95 degree weather next. pic.twitter.com/2oKvC5ex8z
— Ryan Workman (@ryancworkman) June 18, 2016
This is great news for fans of the SEC, an imbibing-lot crowd of characters if there ever was one. And even better for the conference’s venues. Texas hauled in $1.8 million from alcohol sales last year, while West Virginia took $600,000 to the bank.
The SEC, a conference flush with a culture of great eats and cocktails, can make its own indelible mark on the college football experience by offering unique, indigenous beverage options at its games.
That’s where we come in with some suggestions. After your liver is awash in all the Bud Light it can possibly soak up, perhaps you can head to the bar in your respective stadium and give these iconic, locally inspired drinks a try.
Remember, please drink responsibly.
ALABAMA/AUBURN: ALABAMA SLAMMER
Legend has it that the Alabama Slammer originated as a beverage of choice among fans in the Yellowhammer State during the 1970s. That’s right around the time legendary Alabama head coach Bear Bryant was leading the Tide to the last two of his six national titles — for which he presumably celebrated with the undeniably Southern mix of amaretto, sloe gin and Southern Comfort. Tide fans can go retro and drink one while wearing a Bryant-style hound’s tooth fedora. A Yellowhammer shot could also make for a nice option for either Alabama or Auburn, especially when the two square off against one another in the Iron Bowl.
ARKANSAS: ARKANSAS RAZORBACK
How many drinks can say they’re a namesake with a college football team, and vice versa? The Arkansas Razorback has that distinction. Sure, a mixture of rum, vodka, amaretto and Kahlúa sounds like it would go down about as smooth as wrestling a live razorback boar, but the drink appears to have found a home in the Natural State. Perhaps it can catch on in the new-and-improved Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, which is expected to undergo $160 million in renovations in the next few years.
FLORIDA: RUM RUNNER
When you account for half of the attendees at the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, you assume they must be pretty good at the partying thing. Florida is home to the Gators and the rum runner, and both have deep roots in the hearts of Sunshine State fans. The drink, that’s said to have been concocted in the 1950s at a tiki bar in Islamorada, Fla., can now be enjoyed within the confines of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium during home games, and not just in the parking lot of the annual rivalry game in Jacksonville.
GEORGIA: SCARLETT O’HARA
Is there anything more “Georgia” than Scarlett O’Hara and Bulldog football? A refined drink named after the epitome of simple grace and elegance below the Mason-Dixon Line, the Scarlett O’Hara combines Southern Comfort with cranberry juice and a lime garnish. Couple that with the smashmouth style employed by the Georgia football team and a unique, dichotomous afternoon between the Hedges could be in store.
KENTUCKY: MINT JULEP
You don’t need a funny hat or a ticket to the Churchill Downs to enjoy a mint julep, the iconic refreshment of the good folks residing in the Bluegrass State. Of course, after slugging a few mint juleps, which is essentially bourbon, sugar and water with a mint sprig, you might be more amenable to wearing a strange hat. It shouldn’t stop you from watching the Kentucky Wildcats, either.
LSU: THE SAZERAC
Hurricanes — both of the storm and beverage variety — have a long history of wreaking havoc on Louisiana residents. But it’s the distinguished Sazerac that is the official drink of New Orleans. When it comes to watching football at Tiger Stadium, a hurricane might be detrimental to actually remembering the game’s outcome. Although, the Sazerac’s mixture of rye, bitters, sugar and absinthe could have similar effects on one’s memory.
OLE MISS/MISSISSIPPI STATE: MISSISSIPPI PUNCH
A Mississippi Punch can be enjoyed at both Mississippi State and Ole Miss. True to its name, the drink packs a wallop, meeting at a confluence of dark rum, bourbon and brandy or cognac. With both the Rebel and Bulldog programs throwing some clout around in recent years, a Mississippi Punch could make for the perfect marketable libation at either Vaught-Hemingway or Davis Wade stadium — just as long as they don’t lead to real punches thrown at the annual Egg Bowl between the two bitter Magnolia State rivals.
MISSOURI: MISSOURI MULE
Legend has it the Missouri Mule was concocted for former President Harry S. Truman to commemorate his home state and political party. Apparently the pride of the Show Me State was a fan of bourbon, applejack, Campari and Cointreau. Can Missouri alums and fans be as open-minded when taking in their Tigers at Faurot Field?
SOUTH CAROLINA: FIREFLY SPIRITS SWEET TEA
Every state in the South believes they serve up the best sweet tea the planet Earth has to offer. South Carolina is no exception, only the brilliant minds of the Palmetto State’s Wadmalaw Island discovered what happens when you infuse sweet tea with vodka. The creation was Firefly Spirits, and it could have Gamecock fans crowing on Saturdays at Williams-Brice Stadium.
TENNESSEE: LYNCHBURG LEMONADE
The NCAA will likely frown at the thought of Tennessee handing out mason jars of moonshine to its fans every Saturday at Neyland Stadium. Better scale it back a notch and go with Lynchburg Lemonade for Volunteers home contests. Apparently the Alabama-Tennessee rivalry extends beyond the gridiron to the courtroom where Jack Daniels was recently sued by an Alabama man who accused the distillery of stealing his recipe.
TEXAS A&M: LOCAL BREWERIES
Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp has taken swipes at former rival Texas recently regarding the Longhorns’ consideration of selling beer at home games. If the Aggies were to have a change of heart, Kyle Field’s beer of choice could come from local brews such as Blackwater Draw Brewing Company or New Republic Brewing. It’s unlikely they branch out to Austin-based Shiner Bock, home of the Longhorns. Or they could go in their own unique Aggie direction and offer the best margaritas in the SEC.
— SportsDayDFW (@SportsDayDFW) June 19, 2015
Remember earlier when we asked how many teams and cocktails share the same name? Turns out, two of them can be found in the SEC. You have to sip on a commodore when attending a Commodores game at Vanderbilt Stadium. An aggressive drink, a commodore features bourbon, crème de cacao, grenadine and angostura bitters and is highly recommended to get fans through Vandy football games.