Tusk to Tail: One way to mentally manage Razorback football is with, tea, lemonade and vodka

What a great trip we had last week. It was almost perfect, except the Hogs didn’t hold on to their end of the rope, and lost to Colorado State. Fort Collins is one of the better away games I’ve had the pleasure to visit. It ticked all of the boxes: friendly people, great weather, scenic views, delicious food and tasty local beers.

I would not classify Fort Collins as a college town. With 160,000 people, most didn’t seem to know there was a game on Saturday. Those who did didn’t show up at the stadium until about three hours before kickoff. To be fair, I’m sure the teams in the Mountain West conference do not travel as well as Tusk to Tail and our fellow Hog brethren, but come on. The stadium was only two-thirds full, and one-third of that number was visiting fans. Capacity is only 41,000 and most of the stands were reserved for students.

Tusk to Tail was expecting a big crowd, so I made sure we had as many of the comforts of home as possible on hand. The portable bar is always a big hit on road trips. That bar and the 50-inch satellite TV always get a few points and nods from passersby. This year we even had a fair number of CSU fans stop and take pics and video of our set up, which always warms the heart. Of course, we started early, a full four hours before the CSU staff opened their tailgating lots on campus.

The Hilton Fort Collins was more than accommodating to our crew. We honestly didn’t know how they were going to react to our traveling roadshow. A few of us had discussed and decided beforehand that we would rather ask forgiveness for tailgating on hotel property than permission, and that was the correct decision. Before long we had six other tents pop up along the road there next to us, making it the home base for visiting Hog fans.

The Hilton was the CSU team hotel. It was reportedly heard inside that some of the Rams players hoped the Razorback Football team didn’t take the game as serious as their tailgaters.

Sadly, that turned out to be true.

Tusk to Tail has had a motto, “We tailgate harder than your team plays.” Now we just wish we could get the Hogs to play harder as well. We have faith that Coach Morris will rectify that this week, and have the team finish the game.

North Texas is coming to Fayetteville this week. It is going to be another warm game. Kickoff is at 3 p.m., so not much different than two weeks ago. There is hope of a nice breeze and some clouds, but be prepared with sunscreen and hats. Also, don’t forget traffic will be shut down 4 hours prior to kickoff, so right at 11 a.m.

Brad Davis will smoke some brisket for us with some mac-n-cheese and green beans on the side, and I’ll grab chicken fingers to top it off. We hope to be set up by 9 a.m. on Saturday, but not expecting as many attendees as last week.

One recipe we get asked a lot about is our signature drink at Tusk To Tail Tailgates, known as the John Daly in our circle since 2009. Everyone is familiar with the classic Arnold Palmer, half tea and half lemonade. Well, now imagine that with booze.

Seventeen years or so ago some genius in South Carolina created Firefly Sweet Tea flavored vodka. Add lemonade to that and voila, the John Daly was created. I understand John has since created his own brand of cocktails, but that was long after we had begun serving our own. It is pretty simple, but refreshing, and one that can be drunk early or late in warm or cool weather.

You can use flavored lemonades as well, and if that gets too sweet, use water as the mixer. Your cocktail will taste more like sweet tea in that variation. We have also discovered that Sweet Tea Flavored Vodka from Deep Eddy distilling in Austin has a nice product. It’s not as sweet as the often-preferred Firefly, but a solid choice as well.

Simply take two parts or two jiggers of sweet tea vodka over ice, top off with lemonade, water or a mix of the two and enjoy.

TTT hopes to see you on The Hill this Saturday. Go Hogs, Beat North Texas!
Editor’s note: Welcome to the seventh season of Tusk to Tail – the sport of tailgating as organized, performed and perfected by a group of Hog fans who have been tailgating together sober and otherwise for more than a decade. Tusk to Tail is managed by Talk Business & Politics and sponsored by the River Valley Smile Center … because it’s another dang rebuilding year and you’re gonna need a good smile to get through the season. The diehards may also be followed on their Facebook page. Or follow the crew on Twitter — @TuskToTail