Hey, football fans! Super Bowl Sunday is on the horizon—which, for many of us, means a day of eating garbage and tossing back drinks. But don’t do it all willy-nilly. Like a sommelier at Guy Fieri’s restaurant, we’ve got the perfect drinks to complement your disgusting food choices.
It’s Friday afternoon, you’ve made it through the long week, and it’s time for Happy Hour, Gizmodo’s weekly booze column. A cocktail shaker full of innovation, science, and alcohol. Time to spike your gut.
Chips/Pretzels + Ale
Ah, the most ubiquitous game-time snack. Chips and pretzels are what your brokeass friends are most likely to bring over, there’s nothing wrong with that—they’re solid performers in the casual munching category. Chips are packed full of salty, intense
chemicals flavors that can overwhelm your tastebuds. Drink a light beer with it and you’ll think you’re sipping club soda. Instead go for a full bodied ale. Something darker, with robust flavor. The bitter and salty flavors will complement each other nicely, and you’ll be able to fully taste both.
Wings + Frozen Margarita
Mmmm hotwings. Dripping with sauce, packed with spice. Maybe a little too much spice, tough guy? It’s cool. Whip yourself up a frozen margarita in the blender. The cold will help soothe your burning mouth and the sugar will help neutralize the spice. Until you eat another wing, that is, then the ride begins anew. A piña colada will work, too, if that’s how you roll, but you are not allowed to put an umbrella in it until after the game ends.
Pork Rinds + Michelada
In my book, the only time it is acceptable to eat pork rinds is when watching football. The crunch goes perfectly with those dudes on TV pulverizing each other, but the greasy film it leaves in your mouth is pure nasty. Cut through it with a Michelada. It’s just a light Mexican beer with lime, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, etc. (here’s a nice recipe). The citrous and bubbles will help cut through the grease and it’s quite refreshing. I actually prefer them to Bloody Marys as a hangover remedy.
Pizza + Red Wine
Pizza is perfect for you and your merry group of ruffians on game day. It has a lot of flavor, and so must your drink. You need something that goes well with tomato sauce, and this is something the Italians figured out centuries ago. Pizza pairs nicely with cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel, or chianti.
Burger + IPA
Now we’re talkin’. Burgers are a bit on the heavy side, which is why should should sip an IPA as you chomp it. The hops in an IPA act as a digestive (which is why a strong IPA can upset your stomach if it’s empty). It’s going to help you break down that protein and fat, so you’ll be ready for dessert later. Also, the burger’s heartiness will help offset the IPA’s elevated ABV, so you should be able to go stronger, longer.
Nachos + Mead
Stay with me here. When you order fondue in Switzerland, you’re generally advised to drink white wine. There is a chemical interaction that helps make all the cheese more digestible. You know what else is very cheesy? Nachos, baby. They’re also liable to be spicy. For that reason we recommend a sweet white wine which will help stave off some of the mouth-burn associated with the jalapeño that stowed away on your chip. The only thing is that white wine isn’t very… football, y’know? That’s why I swapped out the white wine for honey wine, a.k.a. mead. It tastes very similar, but it’s much better for berserking. For whatever reason, mead is inherently cool, and you can find it at most liquor stores these days.
Beef Jerky + Bourbon
This is for when you’ve hit carb-saturation, but you still want to be eating and drinking. Beef jerky’s flavor has a way of really lingering in your mouth, which gets old after a few minutes. That’s why washing it down with a glass of sweet bourbon is such a treat. The strong flavors of the bourbon will overwhelm the jerky residue, and the higher proof alcohol will help strip the fats out of your mouth. That and it won’t make you much more full than you already were. If only cheap bourbon is available, a whiskey and cola will do just fine.
Hotdogs + Crap Lager
Rejected meat-bits from half the animal kingdom, sodium, and nitrates, all rolled into a tube. Hot dogs dry you out and leave a super salty, chemically taste in your mouth. You should really drink a lot of water when you eat them, or you could drink the next best thing: Light beer. Or “lite” beer, as the case may be. Coors, Bud, Miller, PBR, Natty, whatever. They’re all terrible. No, stop pretending. They are. But that’s okay, there’s a football game on and you’re eating hotdogs, so you might as well just go the full monty.
Brownies + Scotch
Dessert! Somebody made brownies. Chocolatey, chewy brownies. Try them with some scotch. Brownies can be overwhelmingly sweet, but a good scotch will have a smokey peat flavor that will really balance things out. The full experience will create a comforting, warm belly feel, which will help relax you during those final, stressful minutes of the game. This is a nice pairing with straight up chocolate, too, and you can also give it a whirl with cognac.
So, now you have our recommendations for defiling yourself. If you have any combinations you’re particularly proud/ashamed of, please share them with the group, and check back next week for another Happy Hour.