Unless you have been living in a cave for the last month or are too distracted by the daily torrent of political skullduggery coming out of Washington D.C., then you are aware that Super Bowl 52 is this Sunday.
The game, which will be played at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota, will feature the scrappy Philadelphia Eagles trying to knock the New England Patriots off their championship pedestal. For Eagles fans, it’s a chance to watch their team hoist the Lombardi Trophy for the first-time ever in franchise history. For Pats fans, it’s just another year.
Whether you are a diehard Eagles or Pats fan, only enjoy watching the commercials, or just can’t wait to see Justin Timberlake’s halftime, you’ll likely be tuning in. After all, the Super Bowl is not just another football game, but a must-see television event that brings friends and families together all over the world. (Just a reminder: Kick-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. EST, with coverage of the game beginning at 3:30 on NBC.)
So how does a cigar enthusiast like yourself watch the big game? Tuning in alone is no fun, even if you light up a choice stick, and the odds are slim to none that your neighbor’s Super Bowl party will allow cigar smoking. We say it’s time to strike up the courage and throw your own cigar-friendly Super Bowl bash.
While there’s nothing wrong with going big for the Super Bowl, cigar enthusiasts are a relatively easy group to please. A cigar-centric party doesn’t need to be a complex affair, because after all, the game itself is the main attraction.
So check your television to make sure it’s in working order, set out plenty of comfortable seats and improve your smoke-friendly room with some additional ventilation. Further ensure the comfort of your guests by putting out a few hearty dishes (think meats and starches), sprinkle in some fine cigars and choice spirits, and top everything off with a little casual gambling to lighten up the mood.
And should any of your guests gripe about the lack of pomp and circumstance, smile and pass them a cigar. Then lead them out the door, because the game is on.
If you’re lucky, your cigar buddies will do the right thing and show up to the party packing their own heaters. But there’s bound to be a few stragglers who show up empty handed, so it would be wise to go shopping and stock up on cigars so that everyone has something to puff.
The Super Bowl is a nearly all-day affair, making it the perfect opportunity to light up smokes that take a long time to finish. Think Churchills, double coronas and grandes. These cigars typically take at least 1 1/2 to 2 hours to completely smoke, meaning you and your guests will have more time to focus on the game instead of deciding what cigar to smoke next.
To get an idea of some great cigars to buy that skew towards the larger side, start with our Top 25 Cigars of 2017. Out of the 25 cigars on the list, there are six non-Cubans that fall into one of these three tasting categories: The No. 5 Alec Bradley Tempus Natural Centuria, No. 7 My Father The Judge Grand Robusto, No. 16 Rocky Patel Vintage 2003 Cameroon Churchill, No. 18 E.P. Carrillo Dusk Solidos, No. 20 Macanudo Inspirado Orange Churchill, and No. 25 Undercrown Churchill. Not only are these top-notch cigars, but they cover a range of strengths, from medium to full body.
And don’t forget to set out additional ashtrays, cutters and lighters. The last thing you want is guests searching for an accessory because supplies are lacking.
If your idea of provisioning drinks for a Super Bowl party is to lay out a few cases of beer or tap a keg, you can be excused. After all, 52 years of not-so-subtle reminders have conditioned us to think that brews are the official quaff of the Super Bowl. Watching seemingly endless loops of prancing Clydesdales and simulations of light beer scrimmaging with lager will do that to a guy.
Well, move over fizzy hops and barley. Spirits are fielding an offense that just might make them your Super Bowl favorite. In your home stadium you’re free to please guests (and maybe more importantly, yourself) with a few more choices from the drinks playbook.
There’s little denying that beer makes for easy entertaining. It practically serves itself and clean up is minimal. Your pregame strategy centers exclusively on how to make it and keep it cold. Then it’s every man for himself. Serving Super spirits is a little more complicated, but the game plan can prevail if you have a good strategy.
Choose your guests wisely: Remember, the main event at a Super Bowl party is the game. Minimize the number of high-maintenance characters who think their desire for a Pink Squirrel cocktail supersedes the action. You don’t want football dilettantes interrupting a goal-line stand to ask if you have Crème de Noyaux and “Will you shave some ice, please?”
Keep it simple: A basic bar spread for a Super Bowl should include four spirits and four mixers. Choose your liquor based on your friends’ preferences and where you live, but basic choices to consider are Bourbon, gin, rum, Scotch, Tequila and vodka. Club soda, cola, ginger ale and tonic water will cover the mixers. Cut up lemons and limes and provide more ice than you think you’ll need. That’s it. Don’t include rarified aperitifs and liqueurs. They will give the guests the impression they are at a cocktail party—which they are not.
There is no such thing as a Super Bowl cocktail: The Kentucky Derby may hold claim to the Mint Julep and the Henley Regatta has its Pimm’s Cup. But despite the best efforts of the so-called modern bar chefs, no mixed-drink concoction has attached itself to the Super Bowl. Nor should it. Again the focus is the game, not six-ingredient extravaganzas. If someone insists, here’s a cocktail inspiration specific to this year’s game: the Pigskin. It works on the premise that footballs are brown and Minnesota is cold. Place one large ice cube in a rocks glass. Cover with Bourbon.
Punch it up: We know, we know, the word “punch” itself conjures notions of teenage parties where some card spikes the punch bowl with hooch. But first of all, at your party there’ll be no bowl. This is flu season after all. Why chance an epidemic with an open cauldron that people dip their cups and sneeze into? And second, you’ll be spiking it yourself when you prepare beforehand. Today’s punches are more like premixed batch drinks, which guests can pour out of a pitcher into their glass. Pick a classic mixed drink—say, a Daiquiri or a Whiskey Sour. Multiply the volume of ingredients by a factor of eight. Combine in a large pitcher. Stir. Refrigerate. Provide glasses and ice for your guests to serve themselves. Watch the game.
Rejoice in style: When your team wins, what better celebration than a few fingers of single malt and a cigar. And should your gladiators fall short? Don’t cry into your beer. That’s what Cognac is for.
Visit a bar or attend a party on Super Bowl Sunday and you will surely see a grid taped to the wall. Most likely, it will be made of oak tag and contain 100 boxes sketched out in Magic Marker. Each box will have a name inside it and corresponding numbers. Everyone participating will have kicked in a few bucks and payoffs will be made as various points are scored. If your numbers correspond to the score or to the points made, you win.
This is fun as far as it goes, but it’s all based on luck, and, frankly, more suited to grandmas than gamblers. If you want to kick things up for your Super Bowl party or gathering at your favorite sports bar, check out the so-called prop bets being offered by casinos.
Prop bets are wagers on specific occurrences that take place over the course of the game. They include everything from how many yards Tom Brady throws for to whether the coin-toss will be heads or tails. Print them up on sheets of paper, have everybody kick in the same few bucks that they would for the grid pool, and whoever gets the most bets right wins all the money.
Bill Krackomberger, a professional sports bettor known as Krackman, offers one tip: if you are wary of a prop bet, take the under. “Seventy-five percent of my prop bets will be on unders and negative outcomes,” Krackman says.
Krackman does believe that some overs are a good bet: Brady will throw more than 39 passes, Eagles running back Jay Ajayi will achieve gross passing yardage in excess of 17 1/2 yards and there will be more points scored in the second half of the game than the first.
“Fourteen of the last 20 Super Bowls, more points were scored in the second half than the first,” says Krackman. “Teams come out a little timid in the Super Bowl.”
In addition to Krackman’s gimmes (yes, they will give you an edge over your buddies; please, take it and add them to this list), here, via Oddsshark.com, are some wagers to include on your sheet of prop bets this Sunday:
First team to score: Patriots or Eagles
Safety scored: Yes or No
Most quarterback sacks: Patriots or Eagles
Will any quarterback throw for more than 400 yards in the game?: Yes or No
Total touchdowns: Over or under 4.5
Longest touchdown yardage: Over or under 43.5 yards
First team to score 10 points: Eagles, Patriots, Neither
Total touchdown passes for Tom Brady: Over or under 2
Total touchdown passes for Nick Foles: Over or under 1.5
Total rushing yards for LeGarrette Blount: Over or under 29.5
Total rushing yard for Jay Ajayi: Over or under 62.5 yards
Total team points for Eagles: Over or under 21
Total team points for Patriots: Over or under 27
Total points scored in the game: Over or under 48