As football season kicks off, we’re excitedly anticipating many gatherings with family and friends to cheer on our favorite teams. Whether you’re into hosting smashing soirees or laid-back get-togethers, this tailgate party is sure to offer some inspiration for every entertainer. A touch of bohemian chic mixes with traditional Southern elements for a party that everyone can get behind! Whether you’re drinking beer and eating peanuts or enjoying the specialty cocktail with pork belly sliders, this stylish party offers inspiration for all football fans!

We gathered some local foodie experts and pros from the style scene to give us the insider tips on some out-of-the-box culinary and decor solutions to take our tailgate parties to the next level. Paige Albright of Paige Albright Orientals brought a touch of bohemian flair with her bold and unconventional use of gorgeous vintage kilims, tribal rugs and antique family heirloom tableware that mixed seamlessly with more modern table accents from Patricia Murray at Table Matters. And epicurean experts, including Chef George McMillan and Bartender Kristin Fillingham of FoodBar, along with Kristen Farmer Hall of Baking Bandits, provided a spread that takes the usual tailgate fare to the next level — complete with a couple of recipes! So, get ready to take notes and wow your friends and family at the next football fete!

"I also like to use my rugs when I entertain. At one of my parties, I put a large 9×12 Heriz in the front driveway, like a big welcome mat," says Paige. "I have even put the same rug in the middle of the backyard and set tables on top. Don’t be afraid to use and enjoy your pieces! Use them upside down if it suits you!"

“I also like to use my rugs when I entertain. At one of my parties, I put a large 9-by-12 Heriz in the front driveway — like a big welcome mat,” says Paige. “I have even put the same rug in the middle of the backyard and set tables on top. Don’t be afraid to use and enjoy your pieces! Use them upside down if it suits you!”

Opt for a mix of unconventional seating, like these vintage, mid-century Afghan kelim-covered stools next to the bar and an impromptu, laid-back "lounge with oversized pillows and a rug.

Opt for a mix of unconventional seating, like these vintage, mid-century Afghan kilim-covered stools next to the bar and an impromptu, laid-back “lounge” with oversized pillows and a rug.

At the bar, cultures collide — old Southern family heirlooms, like this silver pitcher, mix with an antique Anatolian kelp rug repurposed as a tablecloth.

At the bar, cultures collide — old Southern family heirlooms, like this silver pitcher, mix with an antique Anatolian kelp rug repurposed as a tablecloth.

Anchoring the "lounge" area, a patchwork Turkish rug complements a soft blue hemp pillow that Paige picked up on one of her journeys to Turkey. The rug consists of pieces of rugs that had some damage, so the good textile can be repurposed into a mix of texture and color.

Anchoring the “lounge” area, a patchwork Turkish rug complements a soft blue hemp pillow that Paige picked up on one of her journeys to Turkey. The rug consists of pieces of rugs that had some damage, so the good textile can be repurposed into a mix of texture and color.

George's pork belly sliders with purple daikon slaw and chile mayonnaise are dangerously delicious.

FoodBar Chef George McMillan’s pork belly sliders with purple daikon slaw and chile mayonnaise are dangerously delicious.

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“We braise the pork belly and just press it slightly to sear it off," says Chef George. "And the daikon slaw has ginger, rice wine and sugar, julienned with a little green onion. The purple color in there is really pretty with the caramelization of the pork."

“We braise the pork belly and just press it slightly to sear it off,” says Chef George. “And the daikon slaw has ginger, rice wine and sugar, julienned with a little green onion. The purple color in there is really pretty with the caramelization of the pork.”

The tablecloth is a wool flatweave that has been tie-dyed in sections. The red mixes with shades of soft green and blue in the serving pieces and runner, for an unexpected yet pleasing palette.

The tablecloth is a wool flat weave that has been tie-dyed in sections. The red mixes with shades of soft green and blue in the serving pieces and runner for an unexpected yet pleasing palette.

These homemade boiled peanuts are perfect for game day snacking. “They work great with football and beer, that’s for sure," says Chef George.

These homemade boiled peanuts are perfect for game-day snacking. “They work great with football and beer, that’s for sure,” says Chef George.

Homemade Boiled Peanuts Recipe

Chef George McMillan of FoodBar shares a smaller version of the boiled peanuts he serves in his restaurant. “Green peanuts are a fresh peanut and a little bit larger than the dried ones that you typically see,” says Chef George. “I recommend getting them at the Finley Avenue Farmers’ Market.”

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. green peanuts
  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • 2 gallons of water

Directions:

Add peanuts and 1 gallon of water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Add salt, and cook on a rolling boil for 3 hours. Add more water as needed during the cooking process. Taste a peanut to see if they are to the desired saltiness and tenderness. If a more tender or salty peanut is desired, return to boil until perfect!

"We just blanched the wings, fry them until they’re crisp and toss them with a little of the dressing, which is chile sauce, honey and tabasco," says Chef George. "We toss those and garnish with a little green onion."

“We just blanch the wings, fry them until they’re crisp and toss them with a little of the dressing, which is chile sauce, honey and Tabasco,” says Chef George. “We toss those and garnish with a little green onion.”

The Turkish tie-dyed flat weave tablecloth is kindred spirits with these art-forward salad plates with swirling paint motif.

The Turkish tie-dyed flat weave tablecloth is kindred spirits with these art-forward salad plates with swirling paint motif.

A mix of heirloom family silver is gorgeous juxtaposed against less formal elements, like these linen napkins and basket caddy.

A mix of heirloom family silver is gorgeous juxtaposed against less formal elements, like these linen napkins and basket caddy.

Nothing says "down-home" like a homemade pie, and Kristen Farmer Hall of Baking Bandits serves up a stunning lattice-top blueberry pie that is so pretty, we didn't want to let the knife near it, but we didn't want it to go to waste either! Let's just say her pies will convert even the dessert-averse — hands-down amazing.

Nothing says “down home” like a homemade pie, and Kristen Farmer Hall of Baking Bandits serves up a stunning lattice-top blueberry pie that is so pretty, we didn’t want to let the knife near it — but we didn’t want it to go to waste, either! Let’s just say her pies will convert even the dessert-averse — it was hands-down amazing.

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This perfectly golden lattice-top crust is a work of art!

This perfectly golden lattice-top crust is a work of art!

Again, shades of sea foam mix with reds for a striking look.

Again, shades of sea foam mix with reds for a striking look.

Friends kick back on this fabulously creative lounge area and enjoy elevated tailgate fare.

Friends kick back on this fabulously creative lounge area and enjoy elevated tailgate fare.

Bartender Kristin Fillingham of FoodBar created the "Zingiber Sour," which was a hit with the partygoers! "Zingiber is actually another name for ginger," says Kristin. "It’s a take on a New York sour, but ours has housemade spicy ginger syrup as well as some other fall touches."

Bartender Kristin Fillingham of FoodBar created the “Zingiber Sour,” which was a hit with the partygoers. “Zingiber is actually another name for ginger,” says Kristin. “It’s a take on a New York sour — but ours has house-made spicy ginger syrup, as well as some other fall touches.”

“It’s a really good fall cocktail," says Kristin. "It's good with fall weather an the two-toned colors, the yellows and reds, are nice."

“It’s a really good fall cocktail,” says Kristin. “It’s good with fall weather and the two-toned colors, the yellows and reds, are nice.”

Zingiber Sour Recipe

Bartender Kristin Fillingham of FoodBar created this fabulous cocktail. “Zingiber is actually another name for ginger,” says Kristin. “It’s a take on a New York sour, but ours has a house-made spicy ginger syrup, as well as some other fall touches.” This recipe can be prepared ahead of time and served from a pitcher or punch bowl. “The longer it sits, the more it takes on that great ginger flavor,” says Kristen. This recipe yields 4-6 drinks.

For Zingiber Sour:

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups applejack brandy
  • 1 ½ cups spicy ginger syrup (recipe follows)
  • ¾ cup Domaine de Canton
  • ¼ cup Pierre Ferrand dry curaçao
  • ¼ cup Cardamaro
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 dashes Angostura bitters

Directions:

Combine all ingredients and let sit in a punch bowl or pitcher. When ready to serve, pour over ice. Top with a dry red malbec & garnish with a lemon twist.

For Spicy Ginger Syrup:

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. fresh ginger
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 lemons, halved
  • 1 cup sugar

Directions:

Puree fresh ginger with water. Press through a fine mesh strainer. Simmer in a pot with lemons for about 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat, and add sugar. Add more sugar to taste, if more sweetness is desired. This spicy ginger syrup will keep for up to two weeks, if refrigerated.

Kristin suggests serving it as a punch. "The longer it sits, the more it take son that great ginger flavor," she says.

Kristin suggests serving it as a punch. “The longer it sits, the more it takes on that great ginger flavor,” she says.

Bright yellow lemons complement this bold blue dish and vibrant red Anatoian kelp. Embrace football season with your own fabulous fall style!

Bright yellow lemons complement this bold blue dish and vibrant red Anatolian kelp. Embrace football season with your own fabulous fall style!

We wish you a happy fall and hope that your autumn soirées and football fests are filled with delicious food, tasty drinks and creative decor but, more importantly, with the laughter and company of your loved ones!

Thank you to Beth Hontzas for the drop-dead gorgeous photography of our tailgate party!

Thank you to Paige Albright of Paige Albright Orientals for the creative ideas for repurposing our textiles and rugs, and mixing our heirloom tableware with modern pieces!

Thank you to Chef George McMillan and bartender extraordinaire Kristin Fillingham of FoodBar for the next-level tailgate feast and signature cocktail!

Thank you to Patricia Murray of Table Matters for the beautiful plates, chargers, napkins, caddy and table runner!

Thank you to Kristen Farmer Hall of Baking Bandits, Feast & Forest and The Nest for the gorgeous — and delicious — blueberry pie!

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