With the matchup set for the 2017 Super Bowl between the Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots, football fans may already be thinking about food and drinks to stockpile for a party. These recommended beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) will score with guests while staying on budget.
CRANBERRY ALMOND KICKER
If you're rooting for the New England Patriots, a cranberry almond kicker is the cocktail for you, according to the cocktail site Mix 'n Sip. Cranberries are native to the region -- think of early Thanksgiving feasts. To make eight drinks, mix 1 cup of vodka, half a cup of amaretto, 2 cups of cranberry juice cocktail, and 3 tablespoons of fresh-squeezed orange juice in a pitcher ahead of time and chill until kickoff. Serve over ice and garnish with a clementine segment.
There are several variations on this red and blue drink that pays homage to the New England Patriots. A version from the blog Giggles, Gobbles, and Gulps uses vodka (2 ounces) and pomegranate liqueur (1 ounce) topped off with Sprite, pomegranate seeds, and blueberries (use frozen to save money).
This drink named after the "Gone With the Wind" vixen pays tribute to the famous film set in Atlanta, home of the NFC champion Falcons. The beverage combines two parts Southern Comfort, two parts cranberry juice, and one part fresh lime.
Another ode to the Atlanta Falcons and "Gone With the Wind" is the Rhett Butler. As catalogued on CocktailDB, this drink combines 1.5 ounces of Southern Comfort, half an ounce of lemon juice, a quarter ounce of lime juice, and a quarter ounce of orange Curaçao.
There's no easier way to keep party revelers happy than by whipping up a big pitcher of margaritas. Step it up a notch with one of Cheapism.com's recommended tequilas under $30. Serve with some tasty chips and guacamole and sit and sip with the gang instead of spending the evening behind the bar playing mixologist.
Is there a better Sunday drink than a good Bloody Mary? Keep it simple with vodka, tomato juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco. Sprinkle in some salt and pepper and garnish with celery. Or go big and set up a Bloody Mary bar with multiple hot sauces and tomato juice varieties. Put out small bowls of bacon, olives, shrimp, lime wedges, and cheese cubes and invite guests to garnish their own drinks. Spices such as paprika, garlic salt or powder, celery salt, lemon pepper, and Old Bay seasoning add a kick and are probably already in the cupboard.
NEW BELGIUM FAT TIRE
With its broad appeal, New Belgium Fat Tire is welcome at any celebration. In a blind taste test of nine budget beers by Cheapism.com, it appealed to both lager lovers and craft brew drinkers and took the top spot overall. It has a smooth and balanced taste the whole panel enjoyed.
SAMUEL ADAMS BOSTON LAGER
Dependable and classic, this beer with Boston roots might have particular appeal for Patriots fans. Samuel Adams gained the nod of approval in Cheapism.com's beer taste test for being flavorful and drinkable, if not distinctive. Several panelists reached for another after sampling was over.
Related: How Home Brewing Can Save More Than 50% on Craft Beer
FULL SAIL IPA
If serious beer drinkers are attending your party for the big game, the Full Sail IPA is a good budget craft beer to have in the cooler. Packed with flavor from start to finish, it starts hoppy and ends slightly bitter -- a combination that will appeal to many beer aficionados.
For a non-alcoholic drink selection, look to spiced apple cider. It's perfect for a cold February evening and easy to make for a crowd. Heat up apple juice or cider in a slow cooker and sprinkle in cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. Let the mix warm for a few hours, until it's nice and hot and the ingredients are well blended. Put out a bottle of spiced rum, so guests can spike the concoction if they wish.
Related: Fruit for Thought: 25 Creative Ways to Enjoy Apples
For another step away from predictable Super Bowl fare and an excess of alcohol, introduce this dead-simple mocktail of 2 parts apple cider and 1 part ginger beer. Chowhound recommends a similar drink that uses sparkling apple cider and a splash of orange juice.