Photo by Collin Richie.

What to pack for an ice chest that stands out at the tailgate

No tailgate is complete without the fixings. Ice-cold food and drinks are necessary to get through a day of tailgating under the Louisiana sun—and, it’s even better if you pack your cooler with some local love.

We’ve compiled a list of local favorites to keep on ice this football season. From beer and liquors to mixers and snacks, this ice chest packing list will be a hit wherever you decide to set up this season.

1. Not-so-mellow Jell-os

Who could forget LSU’s Jell-O shot craze during the College World Series? Let’s keep it up. Customize the colors to celebrate whoever you’re cheering on (or booing) that week. Bonus points for shots made with local spirits.

2. Locally made mixers

Bring your fave restaurant cocktail. Spots like BLDG 5 offer jugs of mixers to recreate their signature drinks.

3. A pick-me-up

Game day is a marathon. Stock the cooler with emergency cold brew for anyone who needs a caffeinated kick. Find a bottle from shops like Brew Ha-Ha and French Truck Coffee.

4. Dry drinks

Save some space in the cooler for juices or drinks like Leroy’s Lemonade. They can add a refreshing splash to any cocktail—and they’re crucial for kiddos or those who aren’t imbibing.

5. Different kind of shot

The more fun the tailgate, the more you’ll probably be feeling the aftermath tomorrow. Add a boost of wellness with a ginger shot from local brand Fruition Organics. This anti-inflammatory aids digestion and strengthens immunity.

6. Frigid fare

Until we get a taste of real fall, most game days will be hot. Select a spread of snacks that will keep things cool, like chicken salad from Calvin’s Bocage Market, pimento cheese spread from Maxwell’s Market and other dips and sides that can provide a moment of chilled relief.

7. Neighborhood brews

Though it might be easier to find name-brand brews at the grocery store, hunting down seasonal flavors from Tin Roof Brewing Co., Rally Cap Brewing Co. and area breweries really elevates a drink spread. Luckily for tailgaters, plenty of them are canning up Baton Rouge-made beers.

8. Custom cups

Level up your pours with artwork or branding on cups from Paper ‘N’ Things. Spots like The Queen Bee, The Keeping Room and Paperwhite Stationery Boutique can help with design—and also stock ready-made cups for easy pickup.

9. Louisiana libations

The Capital Region’s range of distilleries is catching up to its busy brewery scene. Find rum, vodka or tequila from brands like Sugarfield Spirits, Nöel Family Distillery, Oxbow Rum Distillery and more.

This article was originally published in the September 2023 issue of 225 magazine.