NCAA Tournament Drink Pairings

Mario Tama


Noon: Lehigh @ UNC

Handsome Coffee: Dapper Espresso

Look, it is early. You have 8 games to go before this weekend is over and you can’t jump into this with some sort of drinking gusto. Even though you want to. Plus, you are going to need to have your senses at the top of your game. So that is where the Handsome Coffee comes in. I suggest making Americanos out of it. I also prefer the percolation method when making it at home. This one has notes of Dark Chocolate, Plum and Clementine. This game and this coffee require no added sweetener. Please respect the coffee and the game.

2:30PM: Yale @ PSU

Dirty Martini made with TRU Organic Gin

One of my favorite books (Meeting the Tree of Life by Tallmadge) describes Yale this way: "From the outside Yale might have presented itself as a fortress, but from the inside it looked like a monastery, a monastery from which the spirit had disappeared like the saints from their niches on the walls." Going against the Blond Satan™ will certainly be apropos this weekend. You can enjoy it all with a Dirty Martini in hand. Appearing classy. Drinking olive juice and booze.

5PM: Detroit @ Notre Dame

Old Fashioned made with Buffalo Trace Bourbon

You are probably grilling something right now (and if you are not, shame on you). So you need a drink that will look great with a spatula. And an Old Fashioned will do the trick. This game is going to be an Old Fashioned whooping. (I saw the fall ball game. It wasn’t pretty). So plenty of time to check on the food. You will not want to have popcorn during this game, because you do not want to have confusion when you yell "popcorn" at the TV all game long. I like Buffalo Trace with my Old Fashioned's because it isn't so sweet as to drown out the flavors of the orange like some sweeter bourbons are. Plus, it tastes great neat as well.

Bonus extras: Reading Material: The Great Deformation by David A Stockman (I think this book addresses the AQ system in todays college sports. I am not sure though). Food Choice: Grilled Asparagus. Springs great treat.

7:30PM: Albany @ Denver

Fat Tire Amber Ale

This game is going to be offensive. Do not waste your money on an offensive beer. Fat Tire Amber Ale from the New Belgium Brewing Co is my favorite beer from Colorado. It is toasty and delicious. No matter what team you are rooting for in this one (I am rooting for whichever team has the ball), you will have plenty to raise your beer for. Go Beer!


1pm: Cornell @ Maryland

Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey with a splash

You have had Mother’s Day brunch already, you had coffee and mimosas for your beverage choices and you need something to just sip and enjoy for the duration of this game. Hudson Baby is a fine whiskey and you should be drinking it. Just put a little splash of water to bring out the aroma and flavor of the whiskey. Please serve this at room temperature. Your mother demands it.

3pm: Towson @ OSU

Salty Dog made with Tito's Homemade Vodka

Tito's Vodka is delightful. I often marinate some serrano chilis in there for a week, or one time I made bacon vodka with it. Tito's is the cleanest of the affordable vodka's out there. No added flavors! So this salty dog will be just what you want. Salty and Doggy. This game is going to be boring. It has to be if Towson wants to win this one. So have a non-boring cocktail for the afternoon game.

5:15PM: Loyola @ Duke

Charles Smith Boom Boom Syrah

Boom Boom is pretty much the best way to describe this game. This wine will pair well with your grilling and the game. You don’t need to spend time mixing, just time refilling. This syrah is grown in the Columbia Valley and will not disappoint. Just like this game. You are welcome.

7:30PM: Bryant @ Syracuse

Wild Turkey Soda with a squeeze of Lemon.

I remember in my youth a former SU lacrosse player mentioned that he always bought Roy Simmons Jr a bottle of Wild Turkey when he went back to visit his alma mater. I had no clue what that was, but it sounded bitchin. So every time I see Wild Turkey now, I think of Coach Simmons Jr. Which is why every time the Orange are on the TV I drink some. And if you have never had a whiskey soda with a little squeeze of lemon, you are in for a treat. It is refreshing and delightful. Just like that Massa kid on Bryant.

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