As party planning goes, this Sunday’s big football event is an interesting one. Though it may seem like an event made complete by testosterone, beer, and not much else, putting together the perfect affair actually requires some finesse.
WHO TO INVITE
A game day party invite list may seem like a no-brainer: dudes, buddies, couples, and assorted football fans. The more the merrier, save for one piece of counsel: if possible, request that friends leave very young children at home. A day of watching TV and eating unhealthy snacks may seem like a child’s dream, but weather too cold for running around and a late night of sitting may turn kids restless, and make for a very unpleasant evening.
WHERE TO HOST
If you live in a small one bedroom apartment with minimal seating, steer clear of hosting responsibilities, unless you’re inviting two people at the most. The ideal locale involves an enormous amount of couch space, a casual, easy-to-clean living environment (there will be beer spills and wing drops), and, most importantly, a fairly (read: very) large television.
WHAT TO DRINK
It’s a no-brainer…you can’t have a football watching party sans beer. Although your guests will likely show up with six-packs, it’s essential to have a fridge stocked with ice cold brews for immediate cracking open upon arrival. Getting specific within beer, there should be a variety:
- 30% Chic craft beers (think pale ales and other hoppy hipster brews)
- 30% Classy light beers (for people that want something in between hops and beer-flavored water
- 40% Cheap, canned beers (for when you stop caring about how the beer tastes)
Though wine may seem sacrilege at a sporting event, you’ll want to have it for two reasons.
- Not everyone likes beer. Even when it’s the national beverage on a very American day.
- Since it’s a Sunday evening, wine is going to be sorely needed. There’s no way to stave of the Sunday scaries better than a large goblet of vino.
Pro Tip: Make mulled wine. It’ll make your house smell incredible when guests arrive, not to mention it’s delicious and easy to make in advance.
Liquor 10% (or 0%)
Here, it’s up to you. Keep in mind that Game Day is on a Sunday evening, so depending on how hungover you want to be on Monday, you can include hard alcohol or not. If you plan to serve cocktails, we recommend something you can make beforehand in bulk, like spiked cider or boozy punch.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: WHAT TO EAT
Crafting a Super Bowl menu is a delicate art of indelicate foods. While the evening is structured around watching TV, one must remember that this is dinner, and even if it’s composed of many dishes, it must be filling.
Think: Dips, Chips, and Nachos
The Big Game is all about snacks. On this February day, dips become their own food group, from French onion and baked buffalo bleu to guacamole and salsa. Served alongside all manner of crunchy things including chips, crudité, and pretzels, homemade dips are the best, and shockingly easy to make. And of course, nachos. Melted cheese, tortilla chips, and dips on dips on dips make this a winning item.
Think: Wings, Ribs, Chili
It’s cold outside, and there are many hungry people inside watching sports. What does this mean? Rib stickin’ meats like, well, ribs. Chicken wings are a must-have for any football viewing, and chili is the ideal make ahead dish for big results with minimal effort. If there are any dietary concerns, shrimp skewers make a terrific and simple party dish, as do veggie chili and mac and cheese.
Starchy Things 20%
Think: Sandwiches, Tacos, Mac and Cheese, Lasagna
Game watching is all about gluten, so banish any New Years anti-carb resolutions immediately. Sandwiches and tacos are a good option for large groups, especially if you lay toppings out for self-assembly. Large format baked pastas, which can be prepared ahead of time, are also always a win for groups of hungry beer-soaked people.
Dessert needs to be portable and easy to eat (read: shovel into mouth) while watching the game, so keep things simple. It is not the time for an elaborate fruit tart or many-layered gateau, so save that for your next dinner party. Team-themed cake pops make a great Super Bowl sweet treat, as do cupcakes, brownies, and bars. Chocolate dipped fruit (iced to look like a football, perhaps?) is simple and festive, and if you feel like continuing with the gratuitously calorific theme, donuts and churros are always crowd-pleasers.