Mississippi State football fans, like most fans in the SEC, enjoy their libations. So what should you sip while tailgating outside Davis Wade Stadium this season?
It’s a fresh start for Mississippi State football in 2020, with a new head coach, a new offense, and a new outlook on the SEC West. A big part of gameday in the SEC is the tailgating, and, the adult beverages which usually accompany said gatherings.
Yes, it’s easy to grab a 12-pack of Natty Light and call it a party, but I wanted to look at a little more sophisticated choice of drink. Something that could be savored like a Bulldogs win under a warm Mississippi sky.
Mississippi finally has its first legal bourbon distillery, and as a bourbon lover — like much of the country right now — I wanted to present my list of the perfect bourbon to sip for every Bulldogs home game in 2020. Since the state of Mississippi hasn’t found the good sense to allow alcohol sales at home games, we’ll simply call this a “pregame warmup” list.
Obviously, this list comes with a few recommendations.
First, be sure you’re of legal age before embarking on this tasting journey.
Second, don’t overdo it. Like the slogan says, drink responsibly.
Third, don’t be shy about giving some of these a try before football season gets here so you can test out the tasting notes for yourself. I kept this list to items that should be commonly available and not allocated or store pick selections.
Also Read: 5 Must-Eat Stops in Starkville
Best bourbons for every 2020 Mississippi State football home game
Game One vs New Mexico Lobos, Sept. 5
This is not only the season opener but the home opener for the Bulldogs against a little lighter opponent than will be faced in the conference schedule. It calls for a bourbon that you can sip all day long without being knocked on your butt.
This should not only be the bourbon to open the season, but should be the rallying cry for the whole year. Redemption. This is an exquisite-tasting whiskey at an extremely affordable price. It tastes just as good (if not better) on the rocks, or even used as a mixer for a tailgate Old Fashioned or Kentucky Mule.
Game Three vs Arkansas Razorbacks, Sept. 19
The Razorbacks come to town for the first SEC matchup of the year and the Bulldogs and their fans are sure to be fired up. The perfect bourbon will keep that fire going and should go perfectly with some BBQ pork.
This bourbon can go with just about any food, but if you are grilling or barbequing the smooth oaky notes compliment whatever meat you have on the spit perfectly. The honey-apple finish of this whiskey has to be experienced with some delicious smoked foods.
Game Four vs Tulane Green Wave, Sept. 26
After the Dawgs take care of the Hawgs, they’ll be paid a visit from Louisiana and the Tulane Green Wave. Again, this one should be a slamdunk for the Bulldogs, and with it more than likely being a noon kickoff we’ll keep the drink a little lighter.
For bourbon lovers everywhere, Buffalo Trace has become a staple of the liquor cabinet. It’s an inexpensive but delicious lower-proof bourbon that is great served both neat or on the rocks if you please. Generally aged 8-10 years, it has a surprising array of tastes, and a very smooth, long finish.
Game Five vs Texas A&M Aggies, Oct. 3
Now, as we say in the south, things are gettin’ seeeerious. When the Aggies show up in Starkville it’s very possible they’ll be facing a 4-0 Mississippi State team and the stakes of this game will be high for an early-season meeting. Let’s bring it in the bourbon as well as the field.
This is a wheated bourbon with a deep amber color and a kick to match it. While the alcohol content is enough to get things started, the bold notes of oak, walnut, brown sugar and caramel will have you warmed up in a hurry. The finish on this sipper warms up nicely from the tongue all the way down your throat.
Game Eight vs Auburn Tigers, Oct. 31
It’s Halloween and a (hopefully) nighttime kickoff against the Auburn Tigers. What better way to celebrate the best fall holiday in the world than with a bourbon to keep you warm on a cool October night.
From the legendary Stitzel-Weller Distillery comes a little-known bourbon that you’ll fall in love with on the first sip. This whiskey has plenty of fall fruit hints in the aroma and the taste, including a fantastic splash of pear and toasted grain in the finish. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a win over a (probably) ranked Auburn team.
Game Nine vs Missouri Tigers, Nov. 7
Entering into November we want to keep the bourbon strength flowing, and the last SEC home game of the season deserves something special. It calls for a bourbon that will hit hard and fast so as to kick November off just right.
As with any single barrel whiskey, finding a good one can be hit or miss, but Four Roses rarely disappoints. The aroma is loaded with spice and toffee, with just a hint of vanilla. The taste has a wide range of fruit and the finish is very smooth with just a hint of butterscotch. This is a perfect late-year bourbon.
Game Eleven vs Alabama A&M Bulldogs
To finish off the year, we’ll take it easy (kind of like the schedule) and when Alabama A&M comes calling, we’ll want to sip something easy and mixable, much like the Redemption on opening day.
This is a great bourbon that you can do just about anything with. Its high rye content gives it a great spicy taste, with superb notes of maple, nutmeg, and oak. If you want to step it up and get a little more bang and just sip it neat, I’d recommend the Bulleit 10-year-old. Either way, it’s a winner, just like this game should be.
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