12 Cheap Drinks for Game Day

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American football fans make a toast indoors
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SPORTS DRINKS

If you're planning a Super Bowl party, it's time to start thinking about food and drinks to stockpile for the big game. These recommended beverages — alcoholic and non-alcoholic — will score with guests while staying on budget.

Paloma
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PALOMA

This high-octane drink feels light enough to counter all that heavy finger food you'll be eating during the game. Mix roughly 3 parts grapefruit soda (like Squirt or Fresca) with roughly 1 part tequila and garnish with a lime wedge.

bloody mary cocktail
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BLOODY MARY

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.

orange cocktail with ice in a glass on a wooden surface
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ORANGE CRUSH

This drink pays homage to the Denver Broncos defense of the late 1970s and early 1980s, nicknamed the Orange Crush. Combine equal parts vodka, triple sec, and orange juice in a cocktail shaker and do shots, or add more orange juice and a splash of lemon-lime soda for cocktails. Serve over ice and garnish with a clementine segment.

margarita drink with lime and salt
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MARGARITA

If you'd rather sit and sip with the gang than spend the evening behind the bar playing mixologist, whip up a big pitcher of margaritas. Step it up a notch with one of our recommended tequilas under $30. Serve with some tasty chips and guacamole.

New Belgium Fat Tire
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NEW BELGIUM FAT TIRE

Of course, the most popular game day drink is beer, and this one has broad appeal. In our blind taste test of nine budget beers, New Belgium Fat Tire appealed to both mainstream 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
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SAMUEL ADAMS BOSTON LAGER

Dependable and classic, this beer with Boston roots might have particular appeal for Patriots fans. Sam Adams gained the nod of approval in our beer taste test for being flavorful and drinkable, if not distinctive. Several panelists reached for another after sampling was over.

Full Sail Classic IPA
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FULL SAIL IPA

If serious beer drinkers are attending your party for the big game, 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.

Michelada
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MICHELADA

The michelada is a Mexican tradition for instantly upgrading a beer. A recipe from the blog Ever in Transit calls for Clamato juice (or tomato juice), hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Maggi sauce (or soy sauce), and lime juice. The combination of spicy, sour, and salty makes the beer more refreshing and satisfying. Mix it up minus the beer, so people can serve themselves.

Electric Screwdriver
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ELECTRIC SCREWDRIVER

Need a pick-me-up to make it to the final whistle? This energy-drink-fueled recipe from Yummly uses five ingredients (vodka, tequila, orange juice, an energy drink, and a slice of orange for garnish) to deliver a beverage with a burst of pep.

hot apple cider with cinnamon sticks and spices
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SPICED CIDER

For a non-alcoholic drink selection, how about 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.

golden ginger beer with lime and mint
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BROWN PELICAN

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 adds a splash of orange juice.

Irish Coffee in glass with whiskey and whipped cream
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IRISH COFFEE

Irish coffee is a tasty way to stay awake if the game goes late. Make a pot of strong coffee and add 1 teaspoon of brown sugar and lightly whipped cream (pour it over the back of a warm spoon for the best result). Offer a bottle of good, inexpensive whiskey and guests can choose to partake or not.

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