Two things that you don't normally hear together are Super Bowl and French Blonde cocktail, but that outdated idea comes from a football world that didn't have Taylor Swift in it. Swift's romantic relationship with Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has been media fodder for months, and now that the Chiefs are playing in the Super Bowl it has hit a fever pitch. That cultural wildfire has even spread to what Swift is eating and drinking, so when she ordered a French Blonde at a bar in Kansas and declared it her new "favorite cocktail," everyone immediately knew this was going to be the drink of the Super Bowl (via Today).
The French Blonde is a gin cocktail made with St-Germain, Lillet Blanc, grapefruit juice, and lemon bitters. It's actually a pretty new cocktail, as St-Germain, an elderflower liqueur, has only been around since 2007. The combination of piney, juniper-based gin, the liqueur, and Lillet Blanc produces a mildly sweet cocktail that is equal parts herbal and citrusy. That makes it work as both a refreshing summer drink, and a warming winter one. In other words, it's a pretty versatile cocktail. If you love Swift, or just love a good mixed drink, the French Blonde is an excellent option for a slightly more classy Super Bowl sipper, and we've got six easy yet elevated ideas for game time snacks that will pair with it perfectly.
A Football-Themed Charcuterie Board
Gin is a classic pairing for both strong cheeses and cured meats, so a charcuterie board is a natural first choice for snacking with a French Blonde cocktail in hand. The clean, bright taste of the drink will balance out the fatty, salty taste of salumi and the umami depth of aged cheese. Charcuterie boards make great football snack platters, as they are ideal for presenting a variety of bite-sized options to a big party. You can use our football themed charcuterie board as a kicking off point for building your tray, which you'll want to pack with a good balance of hard and soft cheeses, along with spiced and leaner meats.
For the cheese, lean towards more pungent, powerful options like Brie, aged Gouda, and gorgonzola or Roquefort. And for the meat don't overlook a spreadable, rich option like paté; it will cut against the bite of the citrus in the drink, and it's frequently flavored with juniper itself, just like the gin.
Of course, charcuterie boards are more than just meat and cheese. One delicious and crunchy pairing for a French Blonde that will also be right at home on your board is a batch of crispy herb roasted almonds. Ingredients like rosemary and sage will highlight the same flavor notes in your cocktail, making it taste that much more complex and satisfying.
Popcorn is a common bar snack for good reason — that salty crunch keeps you drinking while the light airy texture means you can keep downing handfuls throughout the game without feeling full. While there's nothing wrong with some classic buttered popcorn, a suitable cocktail pairing is going to demand something a little more special, and thankfully we have seasoned popcorn to fill that role. One of the best things about seasoned popcorn is that it's endlessly customizable, both to your personal tastes and to what kind of meal you're making. One big favorite for popcorn also happens to have flavors that would pair with gin and citrus, and that's ranch seasoning. Rich buttermilk and herbs like parsley and chives give you a perfect mix of complementary flavors and balance. Homemade ranch powder can be thrown together with popcorn and oil in minutes, making it a quick prep-and-forget addition to your Super Bowl party menu.
Ranch is just the beginning of your options, because plenty of store-bought seasonings work with popcorn. We've already talked about how great cheese and gin are together, and there are seasoning options for powdered cheddar or parmesan. Hot and spicy mixes would also work well against the cool flavors of a French Blonde. The only limiting factor will be making sure your mix is tasty enough to stand up to the cocktail, but if that's not a problem with your favorite seasoning then you're golden.
Shrimp Cocktail And Toast
Meat and chips may get the starring roles at most Super Bowl parties, but everyone loves a good plate of shrimp, and seafood goes fantastically well with citrus and herbal flavors. Briny, mildly sweet shrimp get extra depth from gin and acidic citrus that help them really pop. When you're serving shrimp at a party you have a number of crowd-pleasing options. The go-to is shrimp cocktail, and there's no reason to stray from the classic here. It's perfect for making ahead of time and storing in the fridge, and it's just as refreshing and light as a French Blonde cocktail. While shrimp cocktail sauce will always make a good accompaniment, a creamy tartar sauce with dill and lemon would be an even better complementary pairing with your drinks served alongside it.
If you want to impress people with something a little more involved, another choice is shrimp toast. It requires extra work, but it's not as hard to make as it seems, and the crunchy toast with a fluffy interior offers a texture that seems tailor made to serve alongside a good cocktail. Shrimp toast opens up the option for a soy-based dipping sauce, which will add a nice salty, umami boost to the snack combo. If you're already going with an upscale offering like a French Blonde cocktail at your party, why not have even more fun with the classy theme?
Saucy Lamb Meatballs
Any kind of meatball would work well with a French Blonde, but lamb has such an affinity for herbs and juniper that it's going to work the best. Compared to beef or pork, lamb has a more grassy and robust flavor, and makes for a unique addition to a Super Bowl spread. Our spiced lamb meatballs, which flavor the mix with coriander, cumin, and turmeric, are showstoppers that can match the complexity of your cocktail. If the pesto in the recipe doesn't suit your tastes for a football party, go for a creamy tzatziki sauce instead.
Even if tzatziki isn't your thing, you can still customize spiced lamb meatballs with all kinds of different sauces. A classic lamb flavor plus a classic meatball flavor can come together by making a tomato sauce with mint. Creamy lemon sauces will highlight the citrus in your cocktail while livening up the meaty lamb. Or you could balance out the flavors of your drink with the mildly bitter, earthy taste of tahini, another favorite pairing with lamb. It may not be the most traditional flavor at a Super Bowl party, but lamb has so many great potential pairings that one is sure to fit in with your plan.
What Super Bowl party would be complete without a good dip? Well, a bowl of salmon rillettes may not really be a dip in the traditional sense, but it fulfills the same role as a creamy, spreadable treat packed with rich, satisfying flavors. Our salmon rillettes recipe mixes both fresh cooked and smoked salmon for a flavor experience that brings you the best of both worlds. Mixed with crème fraîche, butter, and wine, you get a snack that is equally rich, soft, smoky, and complex. The fatty flavor will demand a cleansing sip of a crisp citrusy cocktail, while the white wine and herbs in the food will make the drink really sing.
Salmon rillettes can be served over toasted baguette slices for a classic experience that's already ideal for a crowd of hungry people, but other football party favorites like pita chips or potato chips would make a great base too. Salmon rillettes require some cooking, but will keep in the fridge for up to four days, so it's another good prep-ahead option. The dish is both easy and fancy feeling, simple and uniquely flavorful. What's better than that?
If there is one thing that often gets lost in the shuffle of a Super Bowl party it's dessert. People will work hard cooking up wings, pizzas, and nachos, and then throw out a bag of store-bought cookies as an afterthought. So, if you are striving to impress your guests during the game, nothing is going to blow them away like some great homemade sweets. Macarons in particular are made for parties, being both bite-sized and easily personalized with all different flavors and colors. You can even bake up some Kansas City red (strawberry?) and San Francisco gold (caramel?) for a little competitive pairing if you like.
And, of course, what better pairing for a French Blonde cocktail than a French cookie? Macarons' creamy sweetness is a great way to finish off a sip of a tart cocktail, and their elegance is just as complementary. We have a great step-by-step guide for making French macarons if they seem a little intimidating. This addition to the spread is undoubtably more of a project, but the looks on people's faces when you pull out a multicolored tray of macarons and they taste them ... those looks of surprise and delight will make it all worth the effort.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.