Toasts for the Superbowl

Whether you are a Chiefs or Eagles fan or you just want to see what Rihanna is wearing, Superbowl Sunday promises to be a fun-filled day of football excitement. And it’s not just a day for football. Across town, the final round of the Phoenix Open will tee off bright and early in the morning. In other words, you are in for a long day of excitement. And, with all that excitement, you need a few cocktails and tasty treats. Here are the best options to toast the day.

Mornings and Bloody Marys go hand in hand, especially sports Sundays. The two ingredients necessary for a top-shelf Bloody Mary are high-quality vodka and a really good mix.

Broken Shed vodka is one of the world’s most flavorful, smooth, and rich vodkas. Crafted from whey, yes, the bi-product left over during cheese making, and pure water from New Zealand North Island spring water and South Island mineral water, the triple distilled spirit is unctuous, crisp, and smooth with a warming, slightly spicy finish.

Combined with a quality mix, like the spicy, savory blend from Q Mixers, the classic cocktail will awaken your palate this Sunday morning.

Keeping the day spicy, mix a spicy rum and coke with Kraken Black Spiced rum. As the story goes, a ship carrying rum through the Caribbean was attacked by a giant squid, the Kraken, destroying everything and everyone on board, except for one barrel that remained intact. Though the barrel survived, the squid’s ink had stained a deep black, creating the product we now sip today. Sweet spicy flavors of nutmeg and clove mix with caramel and toffee to create an easy-drinking rum perfect with Q Mixers tropical ginger beer infused with spicy ginger and pineapple.

As the festivities for the game begin, you’ll need snacks. Though traditional chicken wings, pizza, and burgers are likely on the afternoon menu, prepared healthy and delicious snacks are also in order. We love the mezé spreads from Haig’s Delicacies. The almost 70-year-old company began as a quaint food store in San Francisco in the 1950s where James Beard was a regular.

The company specializes in everything Mediterranean, from creamy hummus and tzatziki to spicy feta dip and a to-die-for sweet, savory, creamy, and rich muhammara or walnut dip with pomegranates and red peppers. Create a platter of a few dips with crudites and pita crisps to ensure your health-conscious friends have something to indulge in throughout the game.

To pair with your Mediterranean platter of dips, spreads, olives, and more we love a balanced red blend from Italy like Lagone from Aia Vecchia. From the Bolgheri region f Tuscany, the Merlot-based Bordeaux-style blend shows layers of ripe red plum, black cherry, and wild berries with just the right balance of acidity to tannin, creating the perfect balance that will easily highlight and compliment the spicy flavors of Haig’s treats.

Though beer is traditional for game-time sipping, we prefer wine. Whether you are toasting with a crowd or sipping solo, these options are perfect for enjoying the game.

For pairing with pizza, a balanced straight-forward Pinot Noir is spot-on. We love Hahn SLH, particularly with our go-to mushroom, spinach, and chicken combo (yes, we aren’t the traditional pepperoni and sausage household.) The earthy notes of the cool-climate Pinot Noir from Santa Lucia Highlands inland from the coast in Monterey County showcase the forest floor flavors of the mushroom-rich pizza, with the slight herbaceous notes accentuating the spinach on the pie.

If your home is more of a wings and sauce home, the ideal pairing to cut through the richness while delivering vibrant freshness and zesty acidity is San Simeon Sauvignon Blanc from Paso Robles. Lush and exuberant, the citrus and stone fruit-filled wine will cut through the richness of the fried wings and meld with any firey sauce that may be added.

If burnt ends and barbecue are on your game-day playlist, a rich, slightly jammy, slightly spicy Zinfandel is perfect. We suggest Decoy Zinfandel. With a touch of black-fruit-filled Petit Sirah, the wine layers crushed black pepper and vanilla spice with blackberry jam and blueberry pie. The wine has just enough spice to highlight the rub of a great plate of ribs and brisket, with acidity and tannin to cut through the richness and fruit-forward flavors to ensure the combo is perfectly balanced and delicious.