Texas A&M is quickly becoming the game I attend almost every year (2014 & 2016), but this year I won the chance to go out to Texas to see Alabama play at Kyle Field. Bucket List Item: ✔️, as Kyle Field marks my 5th SEC stadium.
My Dad and I flew out to Houston to travel with Tide up to College Station. We arrived in Texas on Friday afternoon and attended a party with the local alumni chapter. We had some great BBQ and got the chance to meet some of Alabama’s greats.
On Saturday morning, we got up early, loaded the bus and made the hour and half ride up to College Station. I have to say Texas A&M fans are the absolute nicest, and their campus is pretty impressive. We opted to participate in the national alumni tailgate to take advantage of the AC before we headed into the stadium. Our seats were located at the top of the stadium, but it offered a great view of the corps marching through campus.
Alabama and Vanderbilt have one of the longest histories of playing each other. Only two other old foes have lined up against Alabama football more times, Mississippi State and Tennessee. I was particularly looking forward to this game since these schools don’t play each other every year, and because it would be my 4th SEC stadium. (Bucket List Item: ✔️)
We drove up to Nashville on Friday evening and check into our hotel, which was right across the street from Vanderbilt University. After checking in, we headed out to grab some dinner at a local restaurant. We opted for The Row only a couple of blocks from the hotel. If you are looking for tasty food, a great atmosphere and live music, then you need to check this place out.
On Saturday morning, we all got up and headed to campus. We walked around for a bit before heading to the official Alabama Alumni tailgate. Thank the Lord it was inside with AC because it was HOT! After enjoying some of the other games for the day and some delicious Dreamland BBQ, Dad and I headed into Vanderbilt Stadium.
Fall equals football in the south. The temperatures may vary from the high 80s to the low 50s, the leaves may change in time for Halloween, but the one thing you can count on in the south is every Saturday there is college football.
To say I was excited to introduce The Tall Man to Alabama football is an understatement. I booked our tickets to the Texas A&M game as soon as they opened, and I have been counting down to this weekend since they season started. Making it a long weekend to celebrate our anniversary, we drove over on Friday in time to grab lunch at City Cafe, a staple to any visit in Tuscaloosa. A meat & three restaurant with lots of history in the city (and my family) this place makes for a great cheap date.
From there we drove over to campus and walked around The Quad. I gave The Tall Man my best tour possible sharing not only the history of the university, but also the buildings where I lived attended class for six years. The weather was giving us a perfect fall night, and the cherry on top was Denny Chimes playing in the background. We had planned on going to a few bars that night, but someone (cough cough) forgot his wallet back in Atlanta, so we headed to the movies before heading back to the hotel for an early night.
On Saturday morning, my brother drove down from Birmingham to join us and we headed off to campus to show off what college football is really like. If you didn’t attend a southern football powerhouse for college, then Saturdays are a totally different experience. The Tall Man was quite impressed with the whole spectacle. We headed to The Quad to start the tailgate process and grab breakfast. We sat around, talked and drank. Before heading towards the Stadium for all the pre-game festivities we took a detour by the Alabama Museum of Natural History in Smith Hall. We got to see the Hodges Meteor, a time capsule from 1907, and some dinosaurs. If you are ever on The University of Alabama’s campus, I highly recommend making a stop.
Our next stop was The Walk of Champions before we headed into the game. And what a game! The Tide was able to pull off another win against the Texas A&M Aggies. I was so glad my Tall Man was able to experience my happy place. It was so much fun watching him learn our cheers, songs and chants. I think he is now officially an Alabama fan – Roll Tide!
It’s almost that time of year again, football season! The SEC, a conference flush with a culture of great eats and cocktails, can make its own mark on the college football experience by offering unique, indigenous beverage options at its games. After all, the SEC is a football conference with a drinking problem.
Celebrate the new season with a cocktail inspired by the SEC.
Remember, please drink responsibly.
Blue & Orangeade
Muddle 1/4 cup fresh blueberries, 2 Tbsp. turbinado sugar, 2 Tbsp. fresh orange juice, and 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice in a 10-oz. glass. Fill glass with crushed ice, and top with seltzer water or club soda. Gently stir. Garnish with an orange wedge.
War Eagle Rum Punch Mix 4 oz. rum and 6 oz. orange juice in a cocktail shaker. Pour into a large glass filled with ice. Top with 4 oz. Sprite before serving.
Louisiana State University
The Sazerac Rinse a chilled rocks glass with absinthe, discarding any excess, and set aside. In a mixing glass, muddle 1 sugar cube, 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters and 2 dashes Angostura bitters. Add 2 oz. Russell’s Reserve rye whiskey, fill with ice and stir. Strain into the prepared glass. Twist a slice of lemon peel over the surface to extract the oils and then discard.
Add 2 oz. Vodka, 1 handful of blueberries and 1 pinch of sugar to the bottom of the glass and use a spoon to muddle (or mash) everything, just until the sugar has dissolved and the blueberries are broken up.Add ice and 12 oz. of lemonade, and stir to mix in the vodka-soaked blueberries.
Mississippi State University
Bloody Mary Muddle 2 lemon wedges, 1 tsp. refrigerated horseradish, 1/2 tsp. hot sauce, and 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper in a 10-oz. glass. Add 1 (5.5-oz.) can spicy vegetable juice. Fill glass with crushed ice, and top with seltzer water or club soda. Gently stir. Garnish with celery leaved and pickled okra.
Texas A&M University
“Howdy” Muddle 3 lime wedges and 2 Tbsp. turbinado sugar in a 10-oz. glass. Add 1/2 cup ginger beer. Fill glass with crushed ice, and top with seltzer water or club soda. Gently stir. Garnish with a lime rind strip.
University of Alabama
The Yellowhammer Mix 2 oz. vodka, 2 oz. rum, 1 oz. amaretto, 4 oz. orange juice, and 7 oz. pineapple juice. Serve in a 20-ounce cup over ice. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
Alabama Slammer Add 1 oz. Southern Comfort, 1 oz. Sloe gin, 1 oz. Amaretto, and 2 oz. Orange juice to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with an orange wheel and a cherry.
University of Arkansas
Add .75 oz. rum, .75 oz. vodka, .75 oz. amaretto, .75 oz. Kahlúa to a shaker with ice. Shake to a froth, and strain off the ice into the glass. The ice is just to get it cold and the shaking is to make it froth. Don’t worry if it doesn’t stay frothy.
Razorback Red Muddle 1/2 cup fresh raspberries, 1/4 cup fruit punch, and 2 Tbsp. turbinado sugar in a 10-oz. glass. Fill glass with crushed ice, and top with seltzer water or club soda. Gently stir. Garnish with a fresh orange slice.
University of Florida
Gatorade Margaritas Dampen the rim of the glass and roll it in salt (if you want). Fill glass with ice. Mix 3 oz. tequila, 3 oz. lime juice and 8 oz. Blue or Orange Gatorade. Pour into glass.
Rum Runner Add 3/4 oz. Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum, 1/4 oz. blackberry liqueur, 1/4 oz. crème de banana liqueur, 2 oz. orange juice, 1/2 oz. grenadine, and 8 oz. crushed ice in a blender. Blend until slushy and pour into glass.
University of Georgia
Scarlet O’Hara Pour 2 oz. Southern Comfort, a dash of lime juice, and 6 oz. cranberry juice into a shaker with ice, and shake well. Strain into a sour or Collins glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Bulldogs Spiked Sweet Tea Mix 2 oz. vodka and 12 oz. sweet tea. Pour into a large glass filled with ice. Garnish with orange.
University of Kentucky
Mint Julep Place 10 mint leaves in the bottom of an old-fashioned glass and top with 1 1/2 tsp. superfine sugar. Muddle these together until the leaves begin to break down. Add a splash of seltzer water, fill the glass 3/4 full with crushed ice, and add 2 1/2 oz. bourbon. Top with another splash of seltzer, stir, and garnish with a sprig of mint. Serve immediately.
Kentucky Colonel Muddle 5 mint leaves, 3 lemon slices, 2 Tbsp. turbinado sugar, and 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice in a 10-oz. glass. Fill glass with crushed ice, and top with seltzer water or club soda. Gently stir. Garnish with a lemon slice.
University of Mississippi
Shake 2 oz. cognac, 1 oz. bourbon, 1/2 oz. lemon juice, and 1/2 oz. sugar syrup with crushed ice and pour into a Collins glass, unstrained. Top the glass with more crushed ice, gently pour over 1 oz. dark rum and garnish with an orange slice and a cherry.
“Ole” Fashioned Muddle 2 orange slices, 2 Tbsp. turbinado sugar, 2 Tbsp. fresh orange juice, and 3 dashes bitters in a 10-oz. glass. Fill glass with crushed ice, and top with seltzer water or club soda. Gently stir. Garnish with an orange rind strip and a maraschino cherry.
University of Missouri
Combine 3/4 oz. of Bourbon, 3/4 oz. of Applejack, 3/4 oz. of Lemon Juice, 1/2 oz. of campari, and 1/2 oz. of Triple Sec with ice, shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka & Lemonade Mix 1 part Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka and 1 part lemonade in a tall glass with ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Foghorn Leghorn Muddle 1/4 cup fresh raspberries; 3 medium strawberries, quartered; 2 Tbsp. turbinado sugar; and 2 Tbsp. fresh orange juice in a 10-oz. glass. Fill glass with crushed ice, and top with seltzer water or club soda. Gently stir. Garnish with a fresh strawberry.
University of Tennessee
Lynchburg Lemonade Fill a tall glass with ice cubes and pour in 1 1/2 oz. Tennessee whiskey, 1 1/2 oz. sweet and sour mix, 1 1/2 oz. triple sec and 3/4 cup lemon-lime soda. Stir with a straw and enjoy!
Smoky Sipper Stir together 1/4 cup grapefruit juice, 2 Tbsp. honey, and 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice in a 10-oz. glass. Fill glass with crushed ice, and top with seltzer water or club soda. Gently stir. Garnish with fresh lime and grapefruit slices.
Commodore Add 1 1/2 oz. bourbon, 1 oz. creme de cacao, 1 oz. lemon juice, and 1/2 to 1 tsp. grenadine ingredients to a shaker. Shake and then double strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry or lemon twist. You can also put all ingredients into a blender and blend until slushy.
In January 2010, Coach Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide gave me with an early graduation present … a National Championship. In January 2012, I received the same gift when the Crimson Tide rolled over the LSU Tigers in New Orleans for Alabama’s 14th National Championship.
The 2011 season was an emotional season for Alabama. It was the season following the traumatic tornado that tore through the city in April of that year. We started the season number 2 in the country, and we fought hard all season until we faced LSU on November 5th. It was a night game in Bryant-Denny, but the Tigers prevailed and pulled out the win. Despite the loss, the season worked in Alabama’s favor for us to reface our rivalry in New Orleans’ Superdome for the 2012 Allstate BCS National Championship game.
Out of my group of friends, a couple of us were lucky enough to receive the golden tickets and the rest were determined to be in the city for the game. So we booked a hotel room and drove down to Louisiana the day before the game. Upon arriving in The Big Easy we immediately headed out for some delicious Cajun and Creole food at Olde N’awlins Cookery. After stuffing ourselves on seafood and gumbo, we headed out for a night on Bourbon Street.
The next morning, gameday, decked out in crimson, white and houndstooth, my friends and I headed out to explore what we could of New Orleans. First on our agenda was food, so we stopped into Central Grocery Company, a small, old-fashioned grocery store with a sandwich counter that was founded in 1906, to grab a muffuletta. We took our yummy sandwiches down to Jackson Square to people watch and soak in the gameday atmosphere. We then headed to Café du Monde, a necessity when in NOLA, for some beignets and something warm to drink. We explored the French Market for a bit before heading back to the room for a quick nap before kickoff.
Now, if you know anything about Louisiana, LSU is THE state school and it’s only a 1.5 hours from New Orleans making this game a home game for LSU. The number of LSU fans definitely grew while we were taking our naps, so we quickly grabbed a photo in front of the Superdome before heading to our seats. This game will go down as one of my favorite Alabama games, and we left no doubt that the Crimson Tide deserved that National Championship when we defeated LSU 21-0!
The next morning we drove back to Tuscaloosa to finish out our final semester at The University of Alabama. Despite it being a super quick trip, New Orleans is still one of my favorite cities to visit.
What are your favorite things to do in The Big Easy?
The last time The University of Alabama’s football team won a National Championship, prior to me being a student, was in 1992. I was 4 and, without a doubt, I watched that game, even though I have no recollection of it. That all changed when the Crimson Tide brought home its 13th National Championship on January 7, 2010, and I was there to witness it!!
In December 2009, Alabama soundly defeated Florida to clinch its claim for a National Championship. That year, my parents gifted my brother and I both with the trip west to watch Alabama take on the Texas Longhorns in the 2010 Citi BCS National Championship game.
Unlike a lot of students we knew, our little group decided to fly out to make the most of our time in California. We started our morning walking along Hollywood Walk of Fame and finding all our favorite stars.
As we walked along the Boulevard, we took a pit stop by Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (officially named TCL Chinese Theatre) to find the various stars mark. There are nearly 200 Hollywood celebrity handprints, footprints and autographs in the concrete of the theatre’s entrance. You can even get your own created! I have one from my trip in 2006, and it’s a fun keepsake to display.
Our walk also included stopping in to visit Madame Tussauds Hollywood before making our way to Hollywood & Highland Center for lunch and a far away view of the Hollywood sign. After lunch, we took a stroll through time with The Hollywood Museum, which has a huge collection of some pretty spectacular movie memorabilia. I highly recommend including it in your itinerary next time you are in L.A.
From there, we headed to Paramount Pictures for a Studio Tour. I mean when in Hollywood…! This two-hour tour offers you the opportunity to see behind the scenes of some of your favorite movies, as well as fun movie trivia. You may even spot a star or two … we got a glimpse of Matthew Morrison and Jayma Mays on the set of Glee.
From Paramount Pictures, we headed to Beverly Hills for a drive down Rodeo Drive and dinner at The Grill on the Alley. After an amazingly delicious dinner, we headed back to the hotel, because the next day was game day!
Tickets in hand and decked out in crimson and white, we were ready to witness the Crimson Tide roll over the Longhorns in the Rose Bowl, one of America’s oldest college football stadiums. Kick-off was that evening, so we spent the day checking out Pasadena and the festivities surrounding the game. Once in the stadium, the excitement grew and in the end Alabama was victorious!
For our last day in California, we headed to Long Beach. We stopped by the Queen Mary Seawalk to see the ocean linear and to tour the Soviet submarine. I recommend checking in advance to see what exhibits are open as they close them in rotation for restoration.
From Queen Mary, we headed to Santa Monica Pier where we dipped our toes in the Pacific Ocean, rode the rides on the Pier, and enjoyed some funnel cake. It was the perfect ending to our trip in California!
The last time I was in Athens was during the 2008 season when Alabama responded to a blackout in Sanford Stadium. (PS – It was amazing!)
So when my friends picked Georgia as our game of the year, I was more than happy to be there and watch the Tide teach those Bulldogs to behave…again.
We all headed up on Friday afternoon and evening, and we started our Athens experience off right with an amazing meal at Speakeasy. From there we took a look at the list of bars I was provided by UGA graduates, looked at the lines, and decided on Hedges on Broad as our place for the weekend.
Saturday morning we layered up in raincoats and headed out into the pouring rain (thanks Hurricane Joaquin). We decided the best course of action would be to stick with other Alabama fans as much as possible, so we headed to Silver Dollar since some Alabama alumni were meeting up there. From there we headed to lunch, and then to the stadium.
I will admit I was nervous prior to the game and during the first quarter when both teams kept going three-and-out. Alabama did manage to secure the first points on the board, but I had a feeling it was going to be a LONG game if we kept that pace. But my confidence grew during the 2nd quarter, and most definitely after all the Georgia fans started pouring (pun intended) out of the very wet stadium. My friends and I stuck it out to the end for a 38-10 victory. What a game!
After the game, we all headed back to Hedges on Broad to celebrate!
I say it every year, but this is turning out to be a very interesting season! I can’t wait to see how the rest of the season shakes out.
The last time I was in this special place was for the Texas A&M game last year. I had been trying to get over for a while, and this past weekend it worked out perfectly! I spent the weekend with my little “adopted” family from college. It’s been such a joy to have this lady and her kids in my life! And it was refreshing to get a weekend with them!
On Saturday, I pulled into town just in time to grab lunch (Taco Casa!) and head to the game. I used one of their spare tickets, and we had fantastic seats to watch the Crimson Tide take on the ULM Warhawks. We of course won, but it was a great afternoon with the boys talking football! After the game, we headed out for a nutritious meal of IHOP, before heading back to the house.
On Sunday, we headed to church and then grabbed a delicious Mugshots lunch before I head to back to Atlanta. It was way too short of a visit, and I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing them soon!
This past weekend was fantastic and a blast from the past! Friday afternoon I drove over to Tuscaloosa to meet up with some of my MBA ladies for the Alabama/Texas A&M game. The weekend started off with us all catching up with each other over some delicious Jim ‘n Nick’s BBQ and cheese biscuits! After eating way too much food, we headed to our old hangout, Innisfree Pub!
Saturday morning we got up, donned our crimson and houndstooth, and headed down to The Strip. We decided we would start our morning at Rounder’s, and ended up staying all afternoon to watch the game. We grabbed a table and got ready to cheer on our Crimson Tide!
And what a game!! 59-0! It was like our boys were back after a hiatus from the last couple of games! Roll Tide! To celebrate we headed to Rounder’s rooftop bar to dance the night away! As we headed to our next spot, we stopped and grabbed dinner at our favorite Chinese restaurant, Swen. After dinner we all headed back to the hotel feeling the day’s activities catching up with us. We all crashed watching some old school SNL. This morning we got up and all headed back to Birmingham. I went and met up for lunch with Laura and Patrick. It was great getting to see and catch up with them before driving back to Atlanta!
I’m sad the weekend is over. It went by way too fast, but it was fun getting to be in my favorite city with some of my favorite people!
PS – Can I just say I love the SEC Nation! What a weekend in college football! I love that 5 of the top 10 teams are SEC, and of those 5 teams 4 are SEC West!! Woot woot!