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Before we talk about Super Bowl Sunday, let’s talk about the following Monday. You will never experience a day where more people are late to work, closing their office door all morning, or postponing meetings. The Super Bowl is a huge event – one of the most watched TV events all year. Not to mention that it takes about five hours to play (after all the commercials and pregame/halftime festivities). All of this is the perfect prescription for having a few too many adult beverages and an extra helping of nachos.

 

Embrace it. Think of the Super Bowl as the adult version of Halloween. Instead of going door-to-door looking for the goods, host a Super Bowl party so you can control the environment. Choosing to throw a Super Bowl party shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are certain expectations that come with having your closest friends and their friends over to watch the big game. Here’s how to do it right:

 

1. TV. If you have some type of tube television, upgrade immediately. If your TV remote is adorned with duct tape, upgrade immediately. The Super Bowl is to be watched in HD on some sort of LED-type television that is +50 inches. All the electronics places will have great deals leading up to the game, so don’t skimp.

 

2. Invitations. Live in the now. Send out online invitations and ask for RSVPs. It’s tough to gauge how much food/seating/beverages to supply if you don’t know how many mouths you have to feed.

 

3. Seating. Be sure that everyone has a seat. The pregame, the game, and the postgame will take hours and hours, and your guests won’t take floor sitting lightly. They are leaving the comfort of their own La-Z-Boy to watch it at your party, so be sure that the accommodations are fitting.

 

4. Food. Hors Devours are easy. Chips, dip, peanuts, finger food, etc. Stuff that you can put out that won’t go bad. As for the main courses, this can be a bit tricky. While general logic says to have ‘football’ type food – hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, pizza, etc., don’t subscribe. Instead, show your guests your culinary skills by smoking a bunch of meat – like a few beef briskets or a couple pork butts. You don’t want to cook something that will require a bunch of work, because you want to watch the game too. For sides, go with the theme…baked beans, cole slaw, good buns, etc. If you don’t feel like cooking, then have your party catered. You’d be surprised at how cost efficient catering your event can be. The choices are limitless here...it’s your party, so you make the call.

 

5. Drinks. First, make sure you have an ample supply of non-alcoholic beverages. It is imperative that there are more options than beer or liquor. If you are having a large party (more than a dozen folks), it’s a good idea to ask the guests to bring their beverage(s) of choice. Otherwise you’ll spend a fortune… Do provide plenty of fridge space, ice, and mixers. If it’s just a few friends, then do your duty and supply the booze. Get a couple cases of preferred beer and/or a couple bottles of the spirit of choice. You know your friends, and it’s best to keep them happy. If they are worth their salt, then they’ll bring the host a generous gift in return.

 

6. Décor. Go light. Let the new TV be the centerpiece.

 

Beyond these principles, have a little fun. Super Bowl Box Pool is a relatively inexpensive way to get everyone invested in the game. Have a ‘No Jerseys’ policy. Talk smack like you actually care about either team… The Super Bowl only happens once a year, so celebrate enough to last you until next year.

Posted By Onward Reserve

New Year's Day Menu

12/30/2015 4:00 PM

 

The New Year’s Day menu is very important. There are some traditions and superstitions that give you a leg up on progress, luck, and good fortune for the upcoming year. Ancient customs from all over the world are shared and modified per local flavor. This is a great excuse to not only serve a delicious dinner, but to positively tempt your fate. Here is what to serve on New Year’s Day and why:

 

Pork: The custom of eating pork on New Year’s is based on the idea that pigs symbolize progress. Pigs push forward, rooting itself in the ground before moving. Thanks to their rich fat content, pigs signify wealth and prosperity. Grilled pork chops or a pork tenderloin are great meat choices for the main course.

 

Grapes: The tradition of eating grapes on New Year’s comes from Spain, where twelve grapes are consumed – one for each month. The thought is that is one (or more) of the grapes is sour, then that month could be a bit rocky. For example, if the sixth grape is sour, then June could be a bad month. This is a great hors devours for your New Year’s Day menu.

 

Greens: This one is easy. Cooked greens look like folded money, therefore are symbolic of economic fortune. The Germans eat sauerkraut, which goes great with pork, and in the southern United States, collards are the green of choice.

 

Black Eyed Peas: Another symbol of financial reward. The small, seed-like appearance resembles coins that swell, resembling coins that swell when cooked. Again, black-eyed peas go well with pork chops, so you are all set.

 

Mashed Potatoes: There is no tradition or symbol from mashed potatoes. But, they are delicious, and finish off the menu swimmingly.

 

Honey Dinner Rolls: Honey is said to endure sweetness for the coming year, a belief that dates back to Roman times. Brush the tray of dinner rolls with honey to keep everyone smiling.

 

Cakes: A round cake should finish off the New Year’s Day menu, as the ring shaped dish symbolizes good fortune. In cultures around the world, a special trinket (an almond, etc.) is baked into the dessert, and whoever finds it is guaranteed good fortune in the New Year.

 

Some foods to avoid include lobster and chicken. Lobsters move backwards, and could therefore lead to setbacks. Chickens are discouraged because the bird scratches backwards, which could cause regret or dwelling on the past. Winged fowl should also be avoided, as your good luck could fly away.

 

Cheers, folks – here’s to a great 2016!

Posted By Onward Reserve

New Year's Eve Party Planner

12/30/2015 12:10 PM

 

The New Year’s Eve celebration. At these events there is a good feeling of closure from the year before and anticipation for the upcoming year. Beyond the champagne and fireworks, there is a mission for the single folks: a midnight kiss. While it may not lead to a long-term relationship, it is the icing on the cake for the night. Some parties may require a tux. Some parties need a date. From low-key to highbrow, we’ve got you covered…along with a little advice on making midnight memorable.

 

The House Party – The most cost affordable option, the New Year’s house party is just that – a house party with a New Year’s Eve theme. Held at a friend’s house with stocked fridges and coolers, party-goers will revel in the college football playoffs on TV, Spotify blaring out of the speakers, and if someone remembers to bring the champagne, a toast at midnight. No date required for these parties, as the mish-mashed guest list will provide ample opportunity for meeting new people. Chances of scoring a kiss: medium to high, but dependent on the guy-to-girl ratio.

 

The Bar Party – Usually a $25-$50 a head cover charge that will get you in the door, some finger foods, and a glass of champagne at midnight. These parties are good for revelry, as the consumption of alcohol will be in high gear. A rather lax dress code will give you the opportunity to step it up a bit. Show up in a good pair of jeans, boots, an oxford and a sport coat. While no tie is required, skip the slouch look. Be the best-dressed guy in the room. Chances of scoring a kiss: medium. It depends on how many gaggles of ladies decide to brave the bar. If it’s a promising amount, then be extra friendly.

 

The Hotel Party – These parties are going to be your best opportunity for some midnight lip action. While you may pay a little more to get into the party, it will be packed with like-minded folks looking to have a great time. There’s usually a good band AND DJ playing, and the price includes an open bar and food. And yes, the open bar will make this party a night to remember. Get on the dance floor and show off your moves. The ladies can only sing along to “Independent Women” and “Single Ladies” for so long. Eventually they’ll play something a little more co-ed friendly, and that’s when you make your move. Chances of scoring a kiss: high, but remember you are in the mix with hundreds of other guys looking for the same thing. Stand out from the crowd with a good suit, good manners, and by sticking close to the dance floor.

 

The Country Club Party – Invite only and very couple-friendly. These parties rank low on the prospect of cops responding to noise complaints, but they are very well done. If a country club party is in your future and you are single, you need to pick a date. She doesn’t have to be a girlfriend and doesn’t have to be a friend. Take a girl that will be able to hold her own and will enjoy this type of event. If not, she’ll sit at the table all night texting furiously looking for a way out. Show her a good time, pay attention to her, and introduce you to all her friends. Even though the likelihood of a midnight kiss is low, a good night could lead to a second or third date, or an invitation to an after-party with her friends.

 

The Next Morning – If you didn’t get a midnight kiss, then move on. It’s just another night. Fix your hangover and get ready for a full day of bowl games. On the other hand, say you did get a kiss at midnight. Don’t go overboard…give her a call around lunchtime (don’t text) and tell her you had a great time. If she acts like she has no idea who you are, immediately execute the non-kiss guy’s day. If she returns the compliment, then it’s up to you to see what’s what – maybe she’ll be up for a New Year’s Day dinner or a date next weekend. You never know unless you put yourself out there, and the “we met on New Year’s Eve” stories will have a lot of tread in the romance department.

Posted By Onward Reserve

How To: Eggnog

12/18/2015 11:24 AM

 

This time of year, indulgences are commonplace. Whether it’s a second helping of dinner, an extra finger of bourbon, or a seasonal treat like eggnog, we are all planning on hitting the gym in the New Year.

 

Originating in Britain quite some time ago, eggnog was a drink associated with the aristocracy. The Brits originally mixed it with brandy or sherry, but those spirits were quite expensive in newly-revolutionized 18th century America. Being the resourceful bunch that we are, we turned to domestic whiskey – bourbon in particular – as a substitute.

 

Eggnog is readily accessible. Pre-mixed cartons are available in the dairy section of any grocery store. Pour the chilled mixture in any glass with a little nutmeg on top and you are ready to go. For those that are interested in something homemade, this recipe from Alton Brown is as good as it gets. It’s an easy recipe that can be served chilled, or can be spiked with bourbon if you need to grease the Christmas party wheels:

 

Ingredients:

• 4 egg yolks

• 4 egg whites

• 1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon

• 1 pint whole milk

• 1 cup heavy cream

• 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

• 3 ounces of your favorite bourbon

 

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup of sugar and continue to beat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Stir in the whole milk, heavy cream, and grated nutmeg until combined.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Beat in the one tablespoon of sugar into the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Whisk the egg whites into the chilled mixture. Chill and serve.

For the spiked version, add the 3 ounces of bourbon at the same time the whole milk, heavy cream, and nutmeg are added to the yolk-based mixture.

This recipe will make about 6 or 7 cups of eggnog.

Posted By Onward Reserve

JRS's Onward Reserve Picks

12/9/2015 3:54 PM

 

Being a bit of a traditionalist, I like things that work in a multitude of situations. When thinking about my list for Santa, I’m looking for quality and good style. Onward Reserve does a great job of curating an excellent collection of menswear and accessories that meet these needs. These are my picks:

 

                

 

 

1. Smathers & Branson Golden Retriever Hat: Considering we just added #FrankDawg to our house, this fits the bill.

 

2. Onward Reserve Jasper Flannel: Onward did a great job with their flannels – they fit like a dress shirt and the colors are muted enough for office attire.

 

3. Barbour Storm Half-Zip Sweater: No list is complete without some sort of Barbour.

 

4. Onward Reserve Fripp Button-Down: The check that keeps on giving.

 

5. Krewe JLP Sunglasses: A new shape from the New Orleans company that fits my head.

 

6. Canada Goose Lodge Vest: Canada Goose makes some outstanding outerwear, and the vest would get all sorts of wear in the Georgia climate.

 

7. Southern Proper Red Check Sport Coat: My favorite piece Southern Proper has ever made. Out of this world.

 

8. La Matera Diplomatico Belt: A little waist flare

 

9. Dubarry Kerry Leather Chelsea Boots: They go with everything; they look great in the office with khakis or out at the bar with jeans.

 

10. Smathers & Branson Onward Bear Key Fob: The perfect stocking stuffer.

 

JRS is the guy behind Red Clay Soul.

Posted By Red Clay Soul
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