There are a lot of reasons the NFL is such a popular form of entertainment.
The sport itself is exciting and violent, and has become a significant part of American culture. The personalities are enormous, electric, and influential.
But, more so than any of that, being a football fan is a lifestyle.
Not every fan’s football lifestyle is the same, but being a fan really is an identity.
For many fans, enjoying alcoholic beverages goes hand-in-hand with how they celebrate their football lifestyles: tailgating, team-specific bars, house parties, cookouts — the list of ways that alcohol and football are intertwined goes on-and-on.
It’s understood that there are countless fans who do not drink at all — and that’s certainly their own prerogative and should be respected — but this article is written with those fans in mind who enjoy their alcohol with a little football.
Just as alcohol is a focal point of the football fan’s lifestyle, it is often woven into the identity of a region. The professional sports teams of any given city are, ideally, a reflection of the people who live there; the energy of the city itself; and an embodiment of that on which the city was built and thrives, to this day.
The one thing that has been there, through it all, to see every major accomplishment and failure; to fuel progress and regression alike, and to serve as the catalyst for ideas, ranging from genius to incoherent babble, is alcohol.
Alcohol, like food, has a distinct regional component to it. Preference, when it comes to alcohol, has such a variance from place-to-place that it’s as much a factor in the identity of the people who live there as their accent or their political affiliation.
In fact, tasteofhome.com created a list of “Perfect Cocktails for Every State” that will be used as a guide for how each team matches up to their local drink of choice.
Arizona Cardinals – Tequila Sunrise
Strong start to the list, as the Tequila Sunrise is a flashy cocktail that uses exotic ingredients and a little bit of chemistry to capture the eyes and nose before a sip is ever taken.
So, too, do the Arizona Cardinals, led by Kliff Kingsbury, Larry Fitzgerald, DeAndre Hopkins, and Kyler Murray.
The people of Arizona are a mix of retirees, displaced workers who don’t pay state taxes, and unfortunate souls who make their living under the unforgiving desert sun — but they all have one thing in common: they would really like it if their team, like their state’s unofficial cocktail, would actually be good.
It looks great, with some very intriguing ingredients and the allure of a sexy appearance; but, more often than not, it fails to live up to expectations.
Atlanta Falcons – Chatham Artillery Punch
To be honest, until reading this list, I had never heard of this drink. The Chatham Artillery Punch sounds very much like the pre-Civil War version of Jungle Juice:
“The original recipe calls for lemon juice, plus a full bottle each of cognac, bourbon, and Jamaican-style rum. Finish with four bottles of Champagne.”
For a little history lesson: since the American Revolution, the Chatham Artillery has been quite active in the military affairs of the state of Georgia. The Atlanta Falcons were founded the same year that the AFL-NFL merger was announced in 1966, and since that time, have gone on to fight valiantly, and yet, won absolutely nothing of note. The Chatham Artillery, fighting alongside the Confederate Army, surrendered and lost the American Civil War on April 26, 1865.
It’s no wonder they needed such a potent drink to soothe their souls after a historic defeat; a feeling to which the Atlanta Falcons can surely relate, after their loss in Super Bowl LI to the New England Patriots in which they. somehow, famously squandered a 28-3 lead.
Baltimore Ravens – Diamondback Cocktail
Another beverage that was unknown to me before reading this list, the Diamondback Cocktail consists of “a blend of rye whiskey, Applejack, and Yellow Chartreuse.” The name itself comes from the cocktail’s inventor, a bar in the Lord Baltimore Hotel called the Diamondback Lounge; the name, of which, is presumed to be a nod to the diamondback turtle indigenous to the Chesapeake Bay. The drink, like the turtle, has a pleasant appearance, but can ruin your day if you aren’t careful.
The same can be said of the Baltimore Ravens, who might look fun while they dance and laugh in their purple uniforms, but won’t hesitate to smash an opponent in any number of ways — just like a diamondback turtle does with its powerful jaws used for obliterating prey.
In another coincidence that makes this a perfect drink for the Ravens: much like the diamondback turtle, many Ravens fans are extremely slow, and have both webbed toes and scaly skin.
Buffalo Bills – The Fire and Ice Boom
Due to the fact that there are, technically, three New York teams, the source for the Fire and Ice Boom came from an alternate source.
Besides, the salt-of-the-earth people of Buffalo do not want to be associated with New York City, and the absolute last thing I need, is angry Bills fans in my Twitter mentions.
The recipe for this cocktail — which was created by some random guy in Buffalo — calls for 2 oz. Vodka, 1/2 oz. Triple Sec, 1 teaspoon Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, shaken with ice and combined with Sprite.
If we are in the circle of trust here, that sounds like some shit a guy came up with when he ran out of Labatt Blue one night and just poured whatever he could find into a drink shaker.
Bills fans are the most lovable fanbase in the league, and while this drink may be surprisingly delicious, they’d drink gasoline if it said “official cocktail of Buffalo” on the container.
Carolina Panthers – The Cherry Bounce
The Cherry Bounce, apparently, was George Washington’s favorite drink.
This makes a lot of sense, when you check the ingredients and find that it’s basically just a glass of sugary syrup mixed with booze — so, it’s no wonder all his teeth fell out of his head.
While it may be difficult to draw comparisons of this drink to the Carolina Panthers or their fanbase, several key figures of the franchise have bounced, especially recently.
Likewise, the team will find themselves bounced from playoff contention early-on this season, and fans will probably want to throw back a couple of these drinks to forget about it.
Cincinnati Bengals – Boozy Buckeye
If any team and any fanbase needs an official drink, it’s the Cincinnati Bengals.
They’re going on 30-straight years without a playoff victory. The team has existed for 53 years and has an overall playoff record of 5-14.
For perspective, Joe Flacco has a playoff record of 10-5.
Their official cocktail might as well be rubbing alcohol, but I am going to honor the format of this article and go with the Boozy Buckeye.
The recipe for the cocktail is very simple, and sounds delicious as well: hot cocoa mix with Bailey’s and a spoonful of melted peanut butter. Nothing to complain about here, especially if the fans get to enjoy this during a cold November or December game in the Cincinnati winter.
And Bengals fans do have reason to be excited, outside of possibly drinking a cup of chocolate, peanut butter, and booze at the stadium: they drafted Ohio native Joey Burrow who, two years ago, was unhappy with his time at Ohio State and left for LSU, where he had the best season of any player in the history of college football.
Perhaps the cocktail is named after the coaches at Ohio State who let this kid slip through the cracks.
Chicago Bears – Salty Dog
Of all the cocktails on this list so far, none have hit the mark as well as this one.
While I’ve never had a Salty Dog, it sounds incredible: vodka and grapefruit juice with a salted rim.
Simple, accessible, delicious.
This is the sort of cocktail that can be made with any vodka, from the top-shelf down to the rail, and it won’t matter one bit. The grapefruit and salted rim will cover any hint of the quality of the liquor, and it’s a drink made for tailgating.
A Salty Dog on a Sunday morning, pre-gaming for the Bears, sounds like Chicago heaven.
Cleveland Browns – Great Lakes Brewing 73 Kolsch
Another team that required additional research, the only answer that made sense here was 73 Kolsch by Great Lakes Brewing. The beer was created in honor of Joe Thomas, who was, very quietly, one of the greatest Browns of all time, and will undoubtedly be inducted into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot in 2023.
This beer was created to be a staple for Clevelanders. It’s a beer they can count on to be smooth and easy to drink all four seasons of the year, but especially during football season.
Joe talks about this beer frequently on Twitter, and Great Lakes has a very long history of putting out great beer.
With that said, if Browns fans are crushing 73s all day long, that might explain some of the fan behavior we have seen over the years.
Mix in a water, people.
The Unofficial, Official Drink of Every NFL Team is a weekly, four-part series; check back next Wednesday for part 2!
(Featured Image Credit: sueswink.tumblr.com)