This weekend’s game in Jacksonville, Fla., might be the deciding factor in the SEC East division as Georgia or Florida can take full control of their destiny in what I will forever call the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” I have no ambition to be politically correct. Deal with it. This article isn’t intended to break down the game. Instead, I'm going to tackle the real story in Jacksonville, and examine the 10 cocktails you'll see this weekend. Yes, there will be different variations, but I guarantee these will be available at any tailgate you visit. And if you can’t find at least one of these, you need to promptly leave and find better friends.
Also, these are in no particular order and if you see one I've forgotten, let me know on Twitter @justinnails.
So with that, let’s look at the 10 cocktails you'll see in Jacksonville this weekend.
1. The Bloody Mary
When you start drinking on Thursday and don’t stop until some time Sunday afternoon, at the earliest, you must have a powerful morning cocktail that not only stops the alcohol shakes, but also gives you key nutrients, such as vegetables a la tomato juice.
2. The Mimosa
Yet another classic breakfast cocktail. Mimosa’s are the go-to drink for brunch, but don’t put this cocktail in some sort of corner. Spruce it up a bit. Add some cranberry juice and make it a “ Mad Mosa” or if you’re really from the South, ditch the champagne all together and kick it up to a “Southern Mosa” with some Miller Genuine Draft. Any time you can add beer to a cocktail, I’m all for it.
3. Red Bull & Vodka
Bro out, bro. The Red Bull and vodka will be there to lift you up right when you're feeling like you may want to sit out a round or two. Don’t let yourself and your entire family down. Keep drinking. You’ll thank me later. This cocktail provides energy while completely covering up any sign that you are downing vodka at an alarming rate. Be careful with this one. It will make you feel like you can run a marathon. You have a belly full of vodka, I assure you, you cannot.
4. Jack & Coke
There are many variations to this cocktail. Jack and Coke, Jack and Diet Coke, Makers Mark and Dr. Pepper, Southern Comfort and Coke. I could go on for days. It’s simple yet classy enough for an event like this. If I were you, I would just buy a cup, a 2-liter and walk around offering a buck or two to anyone who would pour me a shot of whatever to mix with your choice of cola. That way, you can stay mobile and be at all the great tailgating spots.
5. The Four Horseman
Warning: This drink is not for the amateur drinker. There is a reason this drink is what legends are made of. This drink brings together the Four Horseman of the Society of Alcoholic Gentlemen. Jim, Jack, Johnny and Jose. All together in one glass. This drink in human form would be those four guys that come to every party, win 16 games of beer pong in a row, then challenge you to 10 games of flip cup, beat you at that and then finish the night/early morning either playing corn hole, pool or sling the ring. They are just cooler than everyone else, better at life and you can’t hang with them if you tried.
6. Tequila & (insert flavor) Margarita Mix
I didn’t want to call this a margarita because I know some hotty toddy out there will get their panties in a bunch because I called this concoction a margarita. Once again, college students can make the best of everything and we could all learn a lesson or two especially when it comes to cheap booze.
This cocktail is easy, cheap and goes down just the same. Grab a large bowl or cooler, mix whatever cheap tequila that you can stomach without instantly throwing up, add your favorite margarita mix, some ice and boom, instant margaritas. Just be careful. Those large plastic bottles of tequila are deceptively cunning and will have you calling dinosaurs before you know it.
7. Cinnamon Whiskey & Coke
Yep, cinnamon whiskey is here to stay and paired with a cold Coca-Cola is a treat that you deserve. Now I will admit, I always say I’m not a huge fan of the cinnamon whiskey, until someone brings out a bottle of Fireball and I find myself taking shots against my will. Why? Because it’s really hard to say no to cinnamon whiskey.
7b. Fireball & RumChata
Do yourself a favor and buy these two before you start your tailgate. This match made in heaven is one drink that I will endorse forever. The only way I can describe this drink is that it tastes exactly like the leftover milk after you have eaten a big bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. You’re welcome.
8. The Vodka Tonic
Throw in a splash of lime and this is a timeless classic. You just can’t beat the taste, the simplicity and the price. I prefer Barrett’s Lime Vodka. Yes, I’m classy. Also, try mixing in a little Margaritaville Strawberry Mix in with the Vodka Tonic. It kicks it up another notch and adds a ton of alcohol to the mix as well.
9. The John Daly
I’ve heard this mix of sweet tea, lemonade and vodka called a lot of things but having John Daly as the face of a drink is really a dream come true. He is, after all, living the American Dream. Playing golf, drinking as much as possible and doing it in fancy clothes.
Do you, John. Do you.
This cocktail brings two staples of Southern living with sweet tea and lemonade. But remember that it is within that mix that the drink is perfected. If you screw up the balance of sweet tea and lemonade, you will be fighting it all day. Do yourself a favor and master that mix before you try to add vodka. Because you can never have too much vodka.
10. The Old Fashioned
Somewhere, somehow, someone is going to have a full bar set up on the back of his Dad’s Chevy Silverado and it will have all the ingredients you need for what is the go-to cocktail for any self respected Southern gentleman. The Old Fashioned is just that, it’s old fashioned and is made to feel like you are a part of something great. Add whatever bourbon or whiskey you prefer but don’t go cheap on this one. Use a good bottle and make it last. This is one cocktail you want to savor. Plus, you’re going to look better, smell better and seem better than everyone else around you when you’re holding an Old Fashioned.
Honorable Mention: Beer
No list about this weekend would ever leave out the one thing that everyone will be drinking that is not a cocktail: beer. So grab a case of Natty Lights, Bud Light or PBR and have them firmly planted in the cooler. Because let's face it, no party is a real party without cheap beer.
— Written by Justin Nails, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @justinnails.