Daffodil tailgate | Nantucket, MA
Insider Tips

Alternatives for Tailgating

by Jenny Benzie, Advanced Sommelier of Épernay

Who wants to deal with the sticky mess of mixing cocktails out of the boot of your car? Not interested in lugging an entire collection of bottles to your tailgate in order to make just one drink with so many different ingredients? No coolers or glass allowed for your next adventure ahead?

There is an easier, more convenient way to have a similar experience without the hassle. Canned cocktails are a most apropos way to enjoy a premade mixed drink without having to go to a bar to have someone make them for you. You can pretend to be your own mixologist on the road, then you have several partially used bottles left over that you probably won’t ever use again. These alternative libations make them more than ideal for your tailgating success. The only clean up required is the recycling of the can that the beverage comes in after consumption, and this leaves your other hand available for the plethora of grab and go snacks at your party.


While it would be amazing to wake up to a bloody mary bar already stocked and ready for your festive friends, a lot of time and effort is needed to make it just right and be the memorable experience you want to achieve. Skip the stress and make it easy on you, and your fellow imbibers, by offering a can of Cutwater Spirits Fugu Vodka Mild Bloody Mary.

This ready-to-enjoy cocktail is a combination of Fugu Vodka blended with Cutwater Mild Bloody Mary Mix. It is perfect for those who like a stronger dose of ripe tomato in their mix and not quite as spicy. Why the name Fugu for the vodka? This is the Japanese word for Pufferfish, known as one of the world’s most methodically prepared delicacies of the region. This vodka is no less the result of meticulous attention to detail as well. It is distilled 6 times and filtered 15 times, making this classic cocktail dangerously drinkable.

Available year round, this bloody mary is served in a single 12-ounce can. It comes in a convenient 4-pack carton box that makes it easy for you to share with friends who may also need to dust off a few cobwebs from the night before. It’s gluten free, only 10% alcohol by volume, and as good as any bloody mary should be.

Perfect Pairing: Order ahead a fresh lobster, cooked and cracked from Souza’s Seafood: 508-228-9140.


Remember the good ol’ days when Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers were first released? Yes, we like to forget about it sometimes, too. For a modern twist on this, think part wine cooler (but way cooler), and part refreshing fruitade. Ramona is an organic Italian wine spritz that doesn’t require a glass, a bottle opener, or even really an occasion to drink it.

This is a portable, high-quality alcoholic beverage option that doesn’t take itself (wine) too seriously and fills a void for those who want something spritzy in what would be a traditional beer moment. It is made from organic grapes from Sicily and flavored with natural ruby grapefruit and organic cane syrup. To make it even better, it is gluten free, and vegan.

This lively, refreshing spritz is served in a slim 12 ounce can and weighs in at just 7.5% alcohol by volume, much lower than most wine on its own. This is the canned cocktail for all your summer picnic needs, especially if you have a retro theme. Not to mention how Instagram worthy the product is!

Perfect Pairing: Grab a salad or sandwich of choice from Sophie T’s on Dave Street, they’re famous on-island for their pizza, but also make sensational subs and hearty salads: 508-325-6265


Squeezing limes on the fly typically results in a disaster, especially when you don’t even have a knife on hand. Most margarita mixes contain loads of sugar and synthetic ingredients to try and recreate the fabulous flavors we like in this drink. Take the cleaner, leaner route with Sauza Agua Fuerte Spiked Lime Sparkling Water.

Spiked sparkling waters are typically made from either a malt base, which is not gluten free, or a sugar base, which makes them higher in calories. This Ready-to-Drink is made by starting with crisp, sparkling water, then combining it with fresh tasting Sauza Silver Tequila and natural lime fruit essence. Lime is the perfect flavor to pair with the tequila as the two are already acquainted in a classic margarita.

While “agua fuerte” roughly translates in English to mean “strong water,” this sparkling beverage comes in at just 112 calories per serving and is only 5% alcohol by volume. The 12 ounce slim can is best served chilled or this drink is quite refreshing served over ice. This is perfect for tequila fans looking for more than tequila on the rocks and less than a fancy version of a margarita. It’s easy to spot with its traditional Mexican sugar skull artwork on the exterior of the can as well!

Perfect Pairing: Tacos made to order from Easy Street Cantina, located on the Easy Street strip near the Steamship ferry: 508-228-5418


Cocktails sometimes come and go out of fashion, just like go-go boots and bell-bottom jeans. With the recent interest (resurgence) in rye whiskey, it is no surprise that this spirit, too, has made itself into a cocktail can of its own. Inspired by the original Hochstadter’s recipe of old, Slow and Low Rock & Rye made by Cooper Spirits Company has made the Old Fashioned cocktail, well, not so old fashioned anymore.

The original rock & rye recipe came about when a barkeep would pour a shot of rye and customers would then add their own rock candy to soften the harsh flavor of the brown spirit. The medicinal properties of this concoction where heralded by pharmacists of the day to heal what ailed you. Later, bootleggers and distillers began making their own variations on this on their own backcountry blends. This offering is made from a blend of aged Straight Rye Whiskey, raw local honey from Pennsylvania, air-dried navel oranges from Florida, Angostura-style cocktail bitters, and a pinch of rock candy.

It comes in a handy single serve 100 ml mini pop-top can at 42% alcohol by volume. Need no for fixing a bunch of ingredients together, you can savor this neat as a shot or over ice, as an old fashioned. The saloon like essence packaging is rock and roll inspired, so perhaps best consumed while rocking out to your favorite tailgating jams.

Perfect Pairing: Get finger licking good ribs from Crosswinds, call ahead to order: 508-228-6005.

Whatever your alternative libation choice for tailgating, please be sure to consume responsibly, have a designated driver, and pack out what you pack in to the party. Happy Daffy to all, and may the best tailgate theme win!

Jenny Benzie is an Advanced Sommelier and owner of Épernay Wine & Spirits at 1 N. Beach St. You can follow her at @epernaywines & #yeswayepernay

Articles by Date from 2012