The Super Bowl is a ritual experienced in every town across the country. Finger food rules the menu for good reason. Whether you're sitting at a bar, attending a big blowout, or huddling around the television with friends, you can eat, chat, and watch the game without having to miss a play.
With a strategic game plan, even the host can party freely and watch football. Each year, a small crowd of fans gathers on my couch and a make-ahead meal is laid out on the coffee table. I assemble the classic seven-layer dip unconventionally, in glass jars, for a single-serving appetizer that goes well with ginger ale, longneck beers, and a specially concocted cocktail bolstered by tequila. Mini burgers topped with everyone's choice of fixings slide right down. And no Super Bowl bash would be complete without wings; mine have a citrus flavor that's slightly sweet with some heat.
Dessert is cake inspired by mint-chocolate grasshopper pie, each slice capped, fittingly, with a chocolate mint trimmed into a football shape.
1 Day to 3 1/2 Hours Ahead
Marinate chicken wings. Bake cake, but do not frost. Cook beans for dip, and mash. Chill drinks.
1 Hour Ahead
Make frosting, and decorate cake. Shape sliders. Assemble dip. Bake wings.
30 Minutes Ahead
Broil sliders. Set out fixings.
Just Before Party
Prepare cocktails. Make dipping sauce for wings. Set out food.
2 oranges and 3 lemons
2 to 3 shallots and 1 medium onion
1 head garlic
1 head lettuce, any type
5 tomatoes: 3 Roma or plum, 2 medium
2 ripe avocados
6 scallions, plus more for garnish
4 1/2 pounds chicken wing drumettes
2 pounds ground sirloin
1 small jar hoisin sauce
1 small bottle Sriracha hot-chile sauce or other hot sauce
1 jar honey
1 jar (24 ounces) dill pickle slices
2 cans (15 1/2 ounces each) pinto beans
1 can (4 ounces) pickled jalapeno chiles
20 slices white cheese, any type
3 ounces cheddar cheese
1 pint sour cream
4 large eggs
6 ounces pitted black olives
20 soft dinner rolls
1 to 2 bags tortilla chips
2 cups orange juice
1 bottle club soda
Tequila and creme de menthe
1 bag Andes Creme de Menthe candies
Baking soda and powder
Coarse salt, fine salt, and freshly ground pepper
Pure vanilla extract
Safflower and toasted-sesame oils
Unsweetened cocoa powder
Text by Lucinda Scala Quinn