Tailgating with Joe Drozda: Braving cold weather

Hot cider is a perfect way to stay warm during chilly games. (Submitted photo)

Hot cider is a perfect way to stay warm during chilly games. (Submitted photo)

By Joe Drozda and Bob Bley

John Coleman, meteorologist and co-founder of The Weather Channel, told a TV audience the last week of October (2014) that he doesn’t believe man made global warming is real and laughed out loud at anyone who buys into what Al Gore is selling. He gave some convincing numbers about the increasing ice cap and polar bear population. Whether you agree with him or not it still makes sense to be a conservation minded tailgater and use some recycled items at your party that conserve your time and money.

Over the years we’ve learned some lessons that are worth passing on. Each time we brought chili to a game, it stained our serve and seal (Tupperware) containers. Also every time we packed a cooler, we needed to put in an expensive block or bag of ice to keep things cold. Late in the season, when it gets really cold, we needed to build a fire using lighter fluid or fire starters. Here are some recycling tips that make sense:

•Save your plastic, gallon size, ice cream containers (tubs). On game day, you can pack them with your favorite chili and after serving the chili, dispose of the tubs, stain and all.

•Save those half gallon or 1.75 liter plastic juice or milk containers. The day before the game, fill them an inch or two short of their top with water and then freeze them. These replace blocks of ice.

•Today’s refrigerators make ice. Don’t buy a bag of ice cubes, just empty the ice cubes from the fridge into gallon sized serve and seal bags and throw them into your cooler for cooling and ice for drinks.

•At your tailgate have a paper grocery bag for burnable trash like paper and cardboard.  Use this material to start and boost your fire.

•Make your own fire pit with a metal garbage can lid (or other disc) and three or four heat absorbing bricks or stones as non-flammable supports.

Here is new recipe for cold weather Hot Buttered Rum & Virgin Version


8 oz. of good dark Rum (omit rum for non-alcoholic version)

23 oz. Apple Cider

1/8 Cup brown sugar – packed

1/8 teaspoon allspice

3 Cinnamon Sticks

1 Clove

3 tbs. Butter

1 squeeze of fresh Lemon Juice

Pinch of salt


Heat the mixture about 10 minutes. Be careful not to let it boil — just get it to a simmer and then pour into a thermos to take to the game. Be sure to serve in white mugs or cups so that nobody ingests a surprise cinnamon stick or clove. Have pats of butter available if someone wants an extra as a topping, and enjoy!