If you’re a die-hard sports fan, you’re well aware that game day is all about camaraderie, sportsmanship, rivalries and – let’s be real – the food!

Hosting a game watch can be a challenge! While you’re knee-deep in smack-talking your buddies’ favorite player, you’ll also have to remember to shift your priorities to the spirited finger feast you’re about to lay out for your party guests. Sure, there are the traditional go-tos that you’ve probably grown comfortable with over the years, but why not raise the bar this time and give ‘em a little razzle dazzle?

If you’re not entirely sure how to bring the wow factor to your next game day party, let us start you off with a few options that will be sure to be a hit (including some for your vegan friends)!

SPIRITS

Fireball Cider Jell-O Shots

You’re fired up. Your favorite team is in the lead and your lucky rabbit’s foot is delivering game day miracles left and right. You’ll need something with a kick to maintain your high spirits and keep the mirth and merrymaking going. Apple cider is a typical winter season favorite, but may we suggest spiking it with some fiery whiskey? We present Fireball Cider Jell-O Shots. You’ll need apple cider (see what’s available at your local farms!), lemons, unflavored gelatin, Fireball whiskey, whipped cream, cinnamon and apples.

Pickleback Jell-O Shots

In addition to stocking ample amounts of H20 substantial hydration, you can surprise your guests with easy-to-access shots of spiked goodness. Remember, be a responsible host and use an appropriate pour – no one wants or needs inebriated guests in their home, nor operating vehicles afterwards.

If you’re a whiskey lover and/or a pickle lover, you’ve most likely ordered a few pickle back shots in your years. Even if you’re NOT a whiskey or pickle lover, we’re willing to bet you’ll still enjoy this succulent little treat. Solidifying this whiskey and pickle juice combination into a Jell-o shot (served in a pickle!) will certainly whet your appetite enough for the variety of finger foods waiting to be served up. Get your favorite whiskey, some jars of local pickles, plain gelatin, and fresh dill on deck, and get the party started with this Pickleback Jell-O Shot recipe.

SNACKING

Grilled Cheese Tomato Soup Dumplings

Ok, let’s talk about this. Who doesn’t like grilled cheese? Honestly, who? And grilled cheese with tomato soup? Not even a question. Dumplings? Dumplings are definitely up there on the top 20 international favorite foods. Now what if we told you we’ll help you boost your popularity points by helping you serve up some GRILLED CHEESE TOMATO SOUP DUMPLINGS. That’s right, you heard it. All you’ll need are five ingredients: tomato soup, cheese singles, milk, sandwich bread and vegetable oil, plus some kitchen gusto. Check out this Grilled Cheese Tomato Soup Dumpling recipe from Thrillist’s recipe editor.

Sweet Potato Hash Browns

What’s fun, fitness-friendly, fibrous and packed with natural anti-inflammatory benefits? Sweet potatoes! If you know you have a few paleo, gluten-free, vegetarian or generally health-conscious friends on your guest list, set aside 40 minutes or so and impress them with your sweet potato hash browns. Extra crispy and delicious, these golden goodies won’t disappoint. Have a look at the PaleoHacks Sweet Potato Hash Browns recipe.

Pizza Donuts

Do we even need to persuade you to peek at this recipe?! I mean, c’mon. It’s pizza. And donuts. In a blissful marriage. ‘Til death does them part. We’re going to preface this by saying, this one is NOT for your health conscious friends. Not even close. But if you’re entertaining a bunch who don’t necessarily have the gym on this year’s resolutions list, then onward! For those of you who have never had the insane (and brilliant) idea to combine two of this nation’s favorites into one, well, now is your chance. Check out the secrets of Pizza Donuts on Thrillist.

Carrot Dogs

Let’s give it up one last time for our plant-powered posse. As a party host, you always want to have a nice range of flavors and balanced options for your guests. To offset the “naughty” options, we’ll suggest one more “nice” recipe that’s surprisingly delicious and and healthy! This vegan power couple, authors of the Plant Power Couple food blog, has come up with a way for everyone to enjoy cruelty-free, healthy “hotdogs.” Give it a go and get some feedback from your herbivorous buddies.

SWEETS

Butterfinger Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars… and more…

As Bertie Charles Forbes famously said, “Work is the meat of life; pleasure the dessert.” So don’t forget to wrap up your day of friendly (albeit heated) competition with some tantalizing sweets to recover and regroup from any emotional damage! For bite-sized, unanimously loved, obscenely delicious dessert treats, try out this Butterfinger Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bar recipe from the Bakers Royale blog. Cheesy, crunchy, sweet and salty, they hit every corner of a refined palate. To browse more dessert options, check out “50 Of the Best Dessert Recipes of All Time,” curated by Huffington Post.

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