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CocktailGator

Posted by Dave On May - 25 - 2013

Cocktail Gator

Beer is the main staple of any tailgate party. It’s cheap and is easily purchased just about anywhere. But what about those tailgaters that want something with a little more kick or possibly a little more sophistication? There are plenty of Portable Bar options on the market but that is the actual physical bar you prepare your drinks on top of it. How do you transport all the bottles of liquor and mixers and even have a segregated ice box for those mixed drinks? Fortunately for you, we recently discovered the CocktailGator.

Cocktail Gator three models

The CocktailGator comes in two different models: the Walkabout CocktailGator and the Mega CocktailGator. We were sent a sample of the Walkabout CocktailGator which makes sense for those tailgating because it is smaller and more portable than the the bigger and more stout cousin the Mega CocktailGator.

(Disclaimer: We did receive a sample CocktailGator for free.  The fact this sample was provided to us free of charge in no way influenced our opinion of the product nor did it impact our ability to test and review the product fairly and objectively.)

First we will cover the main differences between the two models of CocktailGator and then we will share our opinion after tailgating with the Walkabout CocktailGator.

Mega CocktailGator
Mega Cocktail Gator

  • Carries 8 bottles up to 2 Liters in Size
  • Cup Dispenser Holds 50 Large 18 oz Cups
  • Heavy Duty Ice Bin Holds 10 lbs of Ice
  • Mirrored Lid with 10 Miniature Bottle Holders
  • Storage Area in Lid and Side Pocket
  • Removable Shoulder Strap


Walkabout CocktailGator
Cocktail Gator open

  • Carries 4 Bottles Up to 2 Liters in Size
  • Cup Dispenser Holds 25 Large 18 oz Cups
  • Heavy Duty Ice Bin Holds 5 lbs of Ice
  • 2 Smaller Spaces for 1 Liter Bottles
  • Large Storage Pocket In Front
  • Removable Shoulder Strap
  • Available in Black, Blue and Green

As you can see by the photos and the specs, the Mega CocktailGator is bigger and has a lot more options, however the Walkabout CocktailGator is quite sufficient and is more portable and lighter. We were able to test the Blue Walkabout CocktailGator and took it to the Angels baseball game a few weeks ago.

Cocktail Gator

We loaded the Walkabout Cocktail Gator full with a 2 liter bottle of soda, a 1.75 bottle of Kettle One, a cocktail shaker, orange juice and a few fifths of other liquor bottles. The center ice bucket was filled to the top with ice from our home freezer and we were ready to tailgate.

The compartments were very helpful in keeping the portable bar neatly organized and prevented the bottles from bumping and clanking into each other. The dividers are held in by velcro and you can reconfigure the compartments to fit larger bottles or smaller bottles. The versatility was a key selling point for us in that you don’t want to be pigeon holed into bringing the same sized bottle every time you tailgate.

The CocktailGator was very strong and even when packed full with bottles and ice, the shoulder strap was sturdy and it did not feel like it was going to break or give way due to the weight. Outside of the branding on the top of the lid, there is really no indication that you are transporting a portable bar. To the casual looker, it appears you are bringing in another soft sided cooler. This is key for those parking lots or festivals that frown upon glass bottles or are skeptical of someone bringing in hard liquor as opposed to beer and wine.

The ice container kept the ice from melting because the sides were insulated. The day prior to taking it to the Angels game, we filled the ice bucket full and let it sit in the CocktailGator overnight. We checked on it after three hours and before going to bed and the ice had hardly melted. The next morning there was some melting and the cubes had fused together due to it. But this was after 10 hours of being in there and there was still enough ice to make a round of cocktails if you could break the ice cubes apart.

The one knock against the CocktailGator is it gets a bit heavy if you have a long distance to travel on foot. By no fault of it’s own, when fully loaded with glass bottles that are full of liquor and mixers, the bag can get quite heavy. This is not the fault of the CocktailGator but merely an inherent hazard of physics in that liquids housed in glass containers when in the presence of gravity can be heavy. A suggestion would be if you are going to be going to a concert in the park and you have to park a distance away from the tailgate party and carry the CocktailGator a distance, put it on a rolling trolley or one of those lightweight Magna Carts. Although we did not personally test and review the Mega CocktailGator, it stands to reason that since it holds more and would be even heavier, that distances traveled on foot you might need to use a cart or some sort of wheels.

For all means and purposes and for that coolness factor of having a wet bar in a travel bag, we are going to say that the CocktailGator is “Tailgate Approved”. With the CocktailGator you now have expanded your options for entertaining and keeping your tailgate party guests happy. No more having to disappoint your guests who are not beer drinkers and telling them that is all you have in your cooler. The quality craftsmanship and the materials used ensure you will be able to use your CocktailGator for many tailgate parties in the future.

Both the Mega CocktailGator and the Walkabout CocktailGator are proudly made in the USA. The Mega CocktailGator costs $149 and the Walkabout CocktailGator costs $75. To purchase your own, click HERE.

MegasPongo

You may recall a few weeks ago we introduced you to MegaPongo. (If you don’t remember, you can refresh your memory by reading our product review HERE.)

Earlier this month out in Las Vegas, the National Hardware Show gave the “Game Ball Award” to MegaPongo as the best tailgate game at the expo based upon its novelty, originality and versatility.

MegaPongo was among more than 80 manufacturers that showcased their outdoor, tailgate and recreation products at the annual home improvement show. MegaPongo’s innovative design includes two round, free-standing game boards that also serve as the carrying case for all of the game parts – target cups, legs backboards, collection cups and balls. Each game also features clear plastic backboards and ball collection nets to corral balls – another first for pong game designs.

Truly an open source concept of the 19-hole game board allow players to place ball cups in a variety of configurations. They can create their own games or set up traditional game formats, such as Around the World, Chaos, Ring of Fire and 10-Cup.

Designed for portability, MegaPongo weighs less than 11.5 pounds and measures 23 inches in diameter – similar in size and weight to a case of beer.

Tailgate 500

Posted by Dave On May - 21 - 2013

Tailgate 500 Tailgating game
Most tailgating games these days are not terribly kid friendly. Tailgating games normally fall into two categories: Drinking games and tossing game. A lot of the times, kids can play neither.

Tailgating drinking games like beer pong are not for kids for obvious reason. As for the tossing games, kids can play them but normally the distance they need to throw or the weight of the object they are tossing is too great depending on their age.

What if there was a tailgating game that was created by tailgaters themselves in a parking lot that can be played with kids and adults and the adults can including drinking elements while the kids do not? That game is called Tailgate 500.

Tailgate 500 is a vinyl playing surface that looks like an oval race track commonly used in stock car racing. The game comes complete with the playing surface that fits onto a standard folding utility table you find at almost every tailgate party. Included with the game are six miniature race cars that are made in the USA, dice, lead car chip and instructions.

As you can see in the top photo, we were sent a sample of Tailgate 500 the Tailgate Beer edition. The game play is simple and quite fun.
Tailgate 500 Tailgating game
First you can play with more players than six. Although the game comes complete with six cars included, you can add more players and just use Matchbox cars or Hot Wheels as your game markers. The number of people playing is only limited by how long people want to wait before it is their turn to roll.

Once you have determined how many players there are, you establish the starting grid. The rules define how this is done. Once the game is ready to start, the first car rolls the dice and advances that many spaces. Normally a game of Tailgate 500 is played to complete two laps but depending on how long you want to play you can increase the number of laps completed as long as all players agree on the length of the game.

Once all players have rolled and moved their car, the dice goes back to the first car to roll again. Pretty simple concept of rolling dice and moving your game piece however many spaces you rolled. This is why it is a great game for kids. Although the game officially says ages six and older, if your child can count to 12, they can play this game. There is some reading involved when it comes to bonus advancements or penalty moves backwards. But as long as someone old enough to read the game board is playing with a younger player, you should be fine.

Tailgate 500 Tailgating game

As for the reward and penalty spaces on the board, this allows for everyone, even the last place car, to be in the game. Specially marked spaces can move your car up two spaces or back two spaces with such things as, “Get a new sponsor, move up two spaces” or “Flat tire, move back two spaces”. The big rewards come when you land on a space saying you successfully pulled off a sling shot and you now advance one space ahead of the lead car. Big penalties include going to the back of the pack or being sent to the pits.

You might be saying, “So this looks like a big game of ‘Sorry’ only on a NASCAR track and using Matchbox cars.” If you want to make that comparison you are within your rights to do that but Tailgate 500 is a bit more than that. Because this game was created by tailgaters out in the parking lot, of course there are ways to introduce drinking elements. For example:

Green spaces move up your car and a yellow space moves it back. You could easily designate these spots places where if you land on a yellow penalty space you have to shotgun a beer. Place a kamikaze shot on pit road and whomever is sent to the pits needs to do a shot. Land on a green space? Designate the person to your left to play shirtless until it is their turn to roll. The possibilities are endless as to how you can implement your own “house rules” to Tailgate 500.

Tailgate 500 Tailgating game

After testing it out and putting it through it’s paces, we deem Tailgate 500 to be “Tailgate Approved”.

The entire game rolls up into a tube the size of a movie poster and the playing surface is designed for outdoor use. You can spill salsa or, heaven forbid, knock over your beer on the game surface and it won’t hurt it. Just wipe it up with a paper towel or make whomever spilled the beer Zamboni it right off the game surface.

Tailgate 500 and all parts and pieces are proudly made entirely in the USA. The Original Race Ready Game Kit is priced at under $50 and can be found at Tailgate500.com. If you prefer the TailGate Beer version of tailgate 500, you can purchase one from the TailGate Beer web store. Both versions of the game, the Original Race Ready Game from Tailgate 500 or the Tailgate Beer version are priced at less than $50.

Soundcast Adds Bluetooth for OutCast

Posted by Dave On May - 16 - 2013

We here at Tailgating Ideas pride ourselves on rarely cutting and pasting press releases. Frankly we find it to be lazy. But there are times when a press release is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to announcing improvements to a product we have already tested and reviewed.

You may recall back in December of last year we reviewed the OutCast Jr Wireless Speaker. We found it to be “Tailgate Approved” then with only a few minor suggestions on how they could improve the product. Apparently they were listening and have added Bluetooth capabilities for the Outcast and Outcast Jr models. Their announcement is below:

Outcast Jr Tailgate Party

San Diego, CA (May 15, 2013) – Soundcast Systems, developer and manufacturer of high-performance wireless music systems adds advanced Bluetooth capabilities to its popular long-range wireless OutCast and OutCast Jr. speaker systems with the development of its new BlueCast Bluetooth receiver adapter.

Soundcast customers both new and former that have purchased OutCast or OutCast Jr. portable music systems can now easily and affordably add Bluetooth playback capabilities to conveniently access and enjoy their personal music from a wide variety of mobile Internet music Apps including iTunes® Pandora, Spotify™, Rhapsody®, iHeartRADIO®, TuneIn® and others.

BlueCast from OutcastThe BlueCast receiver simply docks into the OutCast or OurCast Jr’s 3.5mm audio port to quickly connect any Bluetooth wireless audio source device including: iPhones®, iPads®, Android® Phones, Windows® Phones, tablets, netbooks and other devices within range.

Equipped with the latest and most advanced AptX® and AAC superior quality and high-speed wireless Bluetooth communications technology, BlueCast delivers the highest quality lossless CD audio offered in today’s advanced smartphones, laptops, headphones, gaming systems and tablets.

The BlueCast receiver adapter is weather-resistant and specially designed for a perfect fit and use with all OutCast systems.

Use BlueCast for 8-10 hours of uninterrupted playtime with its versatile USB based rechargeable battery that fully charges within 1.5 hours.

“BlueCast is a game changer as it instantly transforms OutCast and OutCast Jr. into a Bluetooth compatible system that provides ultra-convenient access to today’s mobile devices and music apps. Now anyone can be the DJ. Likewise, it adds many exciting and new possibilities for our customers. BlueCast’s exceptional performance maintains our commitment to deliver the highest wireless fidelity available,” says Mike Weaver, president of Soundcast Systems.

All Soundcast OutCast portable music systems include an internal battery power system that allows use anywhere and anytime, – inside the house, front-yard, barbecue patio, poolside, beach, tailgating at the stadium, and even on a boat or RV. OutCast owners and prospective buyers now have the added flexibility to operate with either long-range 2.4GHz wireless transmissions (up to 300ft.) with its iCast and UAT wireless audio transmitters or go short-range 2.4GHz Bluetooth wireless play with its new advanced BlueCast receiver –or employ both based on your needs or situation.

Soundcast’s proven and renowned patented long-range wireless technologies combined with its new cutting-edge Bluetooth wireless streaming capabilities makes OutCast indisputably the most robust wireless high-fidelity portable music system available today.

The delivery date for BlueCast is early June 2013 and the retail-selling price will be $79 U.S.

For information about Soundcast and its innovative products, please visit www.soundcastsytems.com.

Product Review – Johnsonville Bacon and Cheddar Grillers

Posted by Brandon On May - 14 - 2013

Bacon…  Cheddar…  Those two words alone are usually enough to catch my ear when describing food.  Well the good folks over at Johnsonville decided to put both of them into their new Bacon and Cheddar Grillers.  So when they asked if I’d like to give them a try I answered with a resounding “Yes!”   The Bacon and Cheddar Grillers are half of the new burger patty line making their debut for this year’s grilling season.  The other half is a mushroom and swiss flavor, but I’ll be covering those in a later post.
JOHNSONVILLE SAUSAGE, LLC CHEDDAR CHEESE AND BACON
Now I’ve been known to cook bacon right at my tailgate site in a cast iron skillet.  While few things can beat the sound and smell of bacon frying away, virtually nothing can top the the joy of that first bite of salty pork goodness.  However the upside of doing this comes with some negatives.  First of all it’s more to pack.  Second, you have to figure out what to do with the grease.  And lastly, you may have to do some extra cleaning when you get home.  Is it worth the hassle?  Sure. On occasion it’s not a big deal.  Would I do it, or is it practical for every tailgate?  No, probably not.

Well what’s neat about this product is that instead of having to put bacon and cheddar on top of your burger, Johnsonville has put them in to the pattie for you.  For tailgaters this means that you won’t have to worry about preparing/packing those things separately, and there isn’t any more clean up than you would have with regular burgers.

To test these I decided I would use my Weber Q which is my go to tailgating grill.  Because I opted not to thaw the Grillers before use I set the burner to a medium low as not to burn the heck out of the outside while I waited for the inside to come up to temp. As soon as the Grillers hit the grate I could immediately smell that bacon aroma.  I also took the opportunity to look at the cheese which was quite visible throughout the meat.  After about 18 minutes over the heat, the directions called for well done, I pulled the patties.  You can see by the pic, these browned up pretty nice.
IMG_20130409_191100
For tasting purposes I decided to take a minimalist approach to toppings and such.  I just went with a little mayo and some black pepper on the bun.  The meat was very juicy and all of the flavors you would expect were there.  The texture of the meat was a little different than I expected, but that is most likely due to the fact that these are made of pork rather than beef.   Unfortunately all of the samples were eaten before having a chance to really experiment with various toppings.  I will say that since you’re getting a head start with the cheese and bacon inside the burger already, you could bring some other flavors to the mix without making the burger too big or unruly.

Since the Bacon and Cheddar Grillers bring real bacon and cheddar flavor to the party without the need for additional packing or prep I am deeming these as “Tailgate Approved.”  Bacon and Cheddar Grillers come in boxes of six patties, and should be available at your local supermarket.  To learn more about Johnsonville products you can visit their website at www.johnsonville.com.  They also have a pretty active social media presence on Twitter @JvilleGrilling and on Facebook.

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About Me

TailgatingIdeas.com is a tailgating blog dedicated to bringing you the latest and most intriguing tailgating ideas out there. Whether it is the latest tailgating gear reviews, a great new recipe or a funny list to make you smile, our goal is to inform and entertain the avid and the casual tailgater alike.

Started in August 2007 by tailgating enthusiast Dave Lamm, TailgatingIdeas.com has evolved into an advocate for tailgaters rights and is not afraid to touch on controversial issues confronting those who frequent the tailgating parking lots.

To learn more about TailgatingIdeas.com and our team of writers, reviewers, cartoonists and contributors, please visit the About Us page.

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