What started out as eating a cheeseburger and sipping on a cold beer in the parking lot before a football game evolved into one of America’s favorite pastimes: tailgating. Tailgating has been a tradition throughout the parking lots of North Carolina’s stadiums and arenas for years. Fans gather to support their favorite team while the aroma of grilled food lingers in the air along with the roars of fans cheering on their team.

Crowds grill hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, and ribs (to name a few) while playing lawn games such as corn hole and beer pong. Sipping on ice cold beer and chilled cocktails are always a constant at tailgating parties. Some fans go as far as to set up kegs of beer and makeshift tailgating bars stocked full of liquor and mixers.

I wanted to create a tailgating cocktail using Cheerwine, a soft drink true to our state. Cheerwine has been a legend in North Carolina since 1917 and I’ve always considered it a treat to sip on. This sweet cherry soft drink mixes well with the spicy vanilla flavor of bourbon. Add a splash of lime juice to throw in a hint of tart citrus flavor and enjoy!
What you’ll need:

  • 1 part bourbon
  • 3 parts Cheerwine
  • splash of lime juice (about ¼ ounce)
  • optional garnish: lime wedge and/or maraschino cherry


Pour bourbon and Cheerwine in a glass over ice. Splash with lime juice and stir well to combine. Garnish with maraschino cherry and lime wedge, if desired.


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Brinkley lives in coastal North Carolina, and blogs about all things food. She is regular contributor on the Our State website, Parade Magazine’s CommunityTable.com, and SheKnows.com.