Best Food and Drinks To Have During Your Cold Tailgate

When things get chilly outside, fans of sports are going to crave warm tailgate food and alcohol that won’t turn their stomach to ice. Luckily, there are plenty of great tailgate foods and drinks that won’t make you freeze when you try to put it near your face. Check out our ideas for tailgate food that will keep you warm and happy in cold weather.


Need to keep your head warm during the cold weather, but don’t want to give up the real estate when it could be used for cheering on your team? Check out our great collection of team hats.

Tailgate Food for Cold Weather

Here’s some of our favorite tailgate food for cold weather tailgating. Strap on your favorite team sweatshirt and start cooking, grilling, or mixing. 

 

Cold Weather Tailgate Food

Cold weather tailgate food is usually hot. This way your body doesn’t expend a bunch of energy and temperature heating up the cold food for the digestive process; although, you don’t have to be dumping hot chocolate and oatmeal down your hatch to stay warm. Keep in mind that food that is nutritious and fibrous, taking longer to digest, actually helps keep you warm because your body has to expend energy to break it down.

Vegetable Soup

Soup is great because it’s unlikely to get spilled onto your favorite game day outfit. Yes, here’s a pitch for making vegetable soup the staple of your tailgate. If you’re cold in California, this might be a great option. If you’re from the midwest and can’t imagine watching a football game without eating some meat, don’t fear, we’ve got recipes for you below. 


The easiest way to make soup is in a slow cooker or an instant pot, most of which have a soup setting. If you’re going to use an instant pot then you should use the soup setting, but bump it up to a whole 12 minutes to make sure it cooks all the way through.


The critical piece of a great soup is a good base. From there, you can pretty much add whatever kind of vegetables you want without ruining the flavor. For this vegetable soup, combine two cans of fire-roasted tomatoes with chili. Don’t strain them. Add four cups of vegetable broth. Add one can of black beans and one can of whole corn, both strained. Now add four ounces of cream cheese, chopped into little squares. Add a tablespoon of chili powder, a teaspoon of paprika, and a teaspoon of cumin. Mince two cloves of garlic and add. Mix well. Add a little bit of salt and pepper.


Now you’ve got an all-star base for soup that will incorporate pretty much any vegetables you toss in that direction. Also, experiment with some odd root vegetables. Add a whole white onion, carrots, zucchini, sweet potato, green bell pepper, sweet peppers, or basically any other vegetables that you like. The key part of the soup is making sure that the veggies have been cut into small, bite-size pieces so that they cook all the way through when you make the soup. 


If you keep your soup thin enough, you can scratch the bowls and go for insulated cups — this way, you can eat it (or drink it?) from the cup without worrying about additional utensils. 

Nachos by the Bag

Need a quirky food option to go with your goofy tailgating outfit? A more creative option is tacos by the bag. You’ll need to purchase a number of single-serve chip bags, usually tortilla based. Pop open the bags of chips and pour taco meat or a simple chili over the top of them, along with beans, cheese, lettuce and any other toppings. Serve the bags with forks.


To vary the recipe a little bit, you might need to crush the chips a bit before pouring in the taco meat. Also, while you can definitely use chili, it’s best to use ground beef that has been lightly seasoned with taco seasoning. This helps the saltiness of the chips and the crunch remain strong.

Cold Tailgate Finger Food

A lot of the most popular college football stadiums are in colder places. If you’re tailgating in the cold and want the food to remain hot, but also want to deliver finger food, things will get a little more complicated. After all, it can be difficult to keep food warm in the cold weather!

Grilled Skewers

If you’re going to be grilling things in the cold, then putting things on kabobs and sticks is the best way to deliver a hot finger-food experience. You can grill up some steak and then cut into small enough pieces to toss on skewers and grill. Also, fruits like pineapples and veggies like bell peppers are great grill-friendly options to round out your skewer game.

Philly Cheesesteak Sliders

This recipe is so cool because it has you make the filling all at once in a single baking dish. Once the filling is made you can easily heat and reheat, and you’ll only have to grill the buns on site. Simply toss some filling into the buns and you can make a whole bunch of sliders at the same time! These are some savory, savory sandwiches that will pair super well with all the sweet and warm drinks that are listed below!

 

Hot Alcoholic Drinks For Tailgating in Cold Weather

Most great alcoholic drinks that you can think of off the top of your head are cold. And speaking of the top of your head, if things get really cold outside, then you aren’t going to want to be drinking in cold alcohol and cooling your head off. You’ll need some hot alcoholic drinks for tailgating.

Spiked Peppermint Cocoa

You can either use milk or water for this one. If you’ve got an electric kettle, that could be a really easy way to heat the water for the hot chocolate. You also can use a pot over a tailgating stove to heat up the milk (don’t burn it!). Once you’ve heated the water, you can give everyone a coffee mug and let them pick a hot chocolate mix. Since you’ll be mixing the hot chocolate with schnapps, it can be easier to use dark chocolate so that you get a more robust flavor. 


Make the hot chocolate as normal and then add a shot of peppermint schnapps. Top with whipped cream and some crushed up candy cane to complete the drink. If you want to get even more creative with the recipe, try mixing up the hot chocolate recipe.

Irish Coffee

If you’re looking for another great game day ritual to add to your growing list, Irish Coffee can make sports mornings more exciting.


The essential drink for all of those cold morning games is an Irish coffee, which beautifully combines whiskey and coffee to both wake you up and fire you up for the game. You’ll have to make the cream at the tailgate by using an electric mixer. 


Whip a cup of heavy cream and three tablespoons of Bailey’s Irish Creme together until the mixture is stiff. Now combine a cup of super strong, very hot coffee with two tablespoons of whiskey and a tablespoon of brown sugar. Make sure that there is still about a third of the mug free for the cream to be added to the top.