This post is sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 2011*
Florida remains too diffuse a mutt for us to have the kind of monocultural solidity needed for a Unified Theory of Tailgating. The original invasive species in the state is humanity, and even the various kinds of human python who invaded the state in waves tend to view the others with suspicion and competitive envy: the Cubans from Miami, the old crackers who parlayed orange groves into real estate millions and Bull Gator spots within pissing distance of the stadium, the Midwesterners who flocked to Tampa and Orlando to escape winters and income tax, the ACRs (Alachua County Residents) with 24 packs of Busch Light propped on truck tailgates, the Subtropical Jersey Shore kids from Broward County whose hair products start to wilt in the heat of the third quarter, the panhandle rednecks who could pass for Bama Bangs Commandos...there's too much "us" in our "we" to have The Grove, or the Quad, or especially something as coordinated and spicy as the LSU Rolling Cajun Kitchen.
That's not to say there aren't a few universals for Florida tailgating.
BLIND DRUNKENNESS. The cruising beverage goes in the right hand, and when hard drinking (i.e. "real" drinking") commences, it moves to the left hand and is nursed until the "real drinking" ceases. Like the mating habits of our fans, indiscriminate is the word for choice of drink. We have personally consumed the following at Florida tailgates since 1994, and have noticed no pattern of beverage choice across this significant sample size:
- Glenmore Gin (handle: $9.95)
- Johnny Walker Blue
- Moonshine (Taste: "paint thinner")
- "Murphy's Last Stand." (Punch of unknown derivation and content. Left aftertaste of doom and apricot on the palate, and required several hours of recovery afterward.)
- Apple pucker shots. (Don't ask.)
- Maker's Mark.
- Maker's Mark mixed with Gatorade.
- Andre Cold Duck (two bottles, consumed for thirst not intoxication, who just came along for the ride for the hell of it.)
- Malibu Rum and Coffee (Served hot on 92 degree day.)