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Just because you wear casual clothes, plan to drink outside all day, and hang out with friends is no reason tailgating has to feel like a post-college Frat party. You’re adulting now, and it’s time to think outside the box! Here’s how to add some swank to your party in the parking lot:

  1. Pick a theme for the menu and style your presentation. An easy to way to add sophistication to any party is to coordinate your décor with your delicacies. Instead of going for the obvious theme of your team’s colors, try a farmhouse-style theme: Cover a table with a red-and-white tablecloth, serve BotaBox wine in mason jars, put crackers and crudité in small galvanized steel buckets, and add some daisies to an old-fashioned milk jug.
  2. Forget big messy burgers. Go with sliders instead. They easier to eat and a tad more delicate. Simply shape your burgers into smaller patties before putting them on the grill, or try this version with barbecue pulled pork which pairs perfectly with Bota Box Pinot Noir. Class up cheeseburgers by opting for a fancier cheese like brie or gruyere. Instead of boring burger buns, use focaccia or brioche.
    Amp up your appetizers. Leave the chips and salsa to someone else. Instead, serve an appetizer like Smoked Salmon Mousse with Crostini, which easily feeds a crowd. Not a fish fan? Then consider a Mediterranean mezze platter with olives, roasted peppers and artichokes.
  3.  Use cloth instead of paper. Pretty napkins will instantly take your tailgating party to a tailgating soiree. Instead of paper towels, go easier on the planet and bring cute cotton dishtowels for cleaning up.
  4. Pace things appropriately. Plan your pre-game hours as you would an elegant fine-dining dinner party at home, and serve food accordingly. Start with a simple amuse bouche that you can easily assemble on-the-go, such as a thinly sliced pear with blue cheese and sprinkled with chopped nuts. Then serve a salad course, main course, dessert and wine and cheese pairing for the finish. Added bonus: Make sure everyone sits down and eats together!
  5.  Marinate your meats and veggies ahead of time if you’re grilling. Just a warning: The smell will make other fans jealous! Try this Red Wine-Chipotle Barbecue Marinade for chicken, beef, lamb or pork. Pair with Bota Box to instantly make your BBQ next level.
  6.  Add artistic flair with upscale wine accessories, coasters and other design-forward wine accessories.