Fall brings cool weather, colorful leaves, and of course, football! What better way to celebrate this American pastime than by attending a tailgate? According to the Weber Grillwatch™ Survey, at least 57 percent of Americans have attended a tailgate in the past 12 months without even going into the game. This year, the Food+Beverage team has discovered a few new food and drink trends sure to win crowds over at any game day celebration.

Joe Drozda, author of “The Tailgater’s Handbook,” set to publish in 2014, revealed that tailgaters today seek healthier game day grub than ever before. For example, many are substituting spices and herbs for traditionally high-sodium condiments.

In honor of this insight, we’ve compiled a few “spicy,” tailgating options sure to score with health-minded crowds:

Garam Masala (an Indian spice): 
Garam Masala is a blend of ground spices common in North Indian and other South Asian cuisines. Try using it on deviled eggs like this recipe from Bon Appetit. Being low-carb and tasty, this protein packed snack is small enough to easily travel with, whether traveling to the stadium or by a friend’s house. The garam masala will be sure to give the deviled eggs an atomic explosion of flavor.

Paprika is made from ground, dried fruits with a mixture of bell or chili peppers. With this grilled chicken skewers  
recipe from Taste.com you will save calories by swapping out sauce-covered wings for delicious grilled chicken skewers.

Cardamom comes from the ginger family and comes in two forms – green (often used for traditional sweetening) and black (distinctively used for its smoky flavor). MyGourmetConnection.com offers a great 
recipe that includes adding green cardamom to turkey meatballs, which in turn provides a lean alternative instead of bringing burgers to your tailgate.

Cayenne: Cayenne pepper is relatively high in vitamin A and also contains vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium and manganese. Infamously used for cooking spicy dishes, Taste of Home provides a white chili recipe that features the trend of using white meat instead of ground beef. The cayenne and temperature of the chili will have dedicated tailgaters warmed up in no time in the freezing, fall temperatures!

Mint: Also known as menthe, mint is extensively used as an aftertaste, flavor or garnish. With FoodNetwork.com’s fruit kabob’s recipe, pineapples and chunks of peaches can be grilled or served cold on a kabob stick using mint leaves to complement a sweet, menthol taste.

Additionally, watching the big game with a craft drink is gaining popularity this year. The Huffington Post Taste blog recently featured the best football cocktails of 2013 from Liquor.com. From a gourmet Bloody Mary to a Sherry Cobbler, you can try a new cocktail each week!


Game day tip: A healthy mix of protein and fiber will prevent you from overeating at the main event, likely saving you hundreds of calories for the day.

Sources: TasteOfHome.com, FoodNetwork.com, MyGourmetConnection.com, Taste.com.au and BonAppetit.com


Email the Hill+Knowlton Strategies' Food+Beverage team at FoodAndBeverage@hkstrategies.com.

The Food+Beverage team has had quite a busy couple months attending some of the most influential trade shows and events. This week, we wanted to share industry highlights seen at the 2013 Tales of the Cocktail and BlogHer ‘13.

Tales of the Cocktail, known affectionately as “Tales” to many, proclaims to be the world’s premier global educational event for the bartender community. Held annually in New Orleans, Tales caters to an audience of cocktail professionals and enthusiasts with a spirited schedule of seminars, dinners, competitions and tasting rooms, where spirit brands showcase their latest products. More than 25,000 global beverage industry professionals and enthusiasts attended this year’s festival from July 17-21, 2013. A few of our favorite Tasting Rooms included:

  • Pernod Absinthe; This tasting room was held at the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum. To fit with the old-time, soda fountain-theme, servers dressed in 1920s apparel and pharmacy jackets amongst a backdrop of bottles, potions and powders. Mouthwatering cocktails were served including our favorite cocktail of the festival, a root-beer absinthe float made with Pernod, Abita Root Beer and vanilla ice cream.
  • Jameson Irish Whiskey House: The popular spirit achieved a packed “Irish Whiskey House.” Unique features included woodchip covered floors, a historic wood timeline of Jameson’s spirit portfolio and a savory pig roast/sandwich station in the tented outdoor space behind the bar.

Fortunate for us, BlogHer was held right in our backyard at Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center. Besides giant swag bags filled with coupons, samples and information, the F+B team left BlogHer with key learnings on successful brand booths. We loved how most brands incentivized social media conversations with full-sized product giveaways. We also adored all the food brands that provided scrumptious recipes, including Land O’ Lakes’ Gingerdoodle Cookies.

Here’s the recipe so you can try them yourselves:







45min. prep time 1:10 total time
48 cookies


Cinnamon Dough

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup Land O Lakes® Butter, softened
Land O Lakes® Eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt 

Ginger Dough 

3 tablespoons mild molasses
1/4 cup all-purpose flour 
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 cup sugar


Heat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

Combine all cinnamon dough ingredients in bowl. Beat at low speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Divide dough in half; place into separate bowls. Set aside one bowl.

Add molasses to remaining bowl of dough; beat until well mixed. Combine 1/4 cup flour, ginger and cloves in another bowl. Add to molasses mixture. Beat at low speed until well mixed.

Twist about 3/4-inch pieces of each dough together; roll into about 1 1/4-inch ball, creating marbled effect. Roll ball in sugar.

Place, 2 inches apart, onto prepared baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet; transfer to cooling rack.


Email the Hill+Knowlton Strategies' Food+Beverage team at FoodAndBeverage@hkstrategies.com.