As I sit here and smoke my ritual cigar that I often do when I began to write a new piece, I can not help but live in a bit of nostalgia that I have come to know here in Oxford.
If there was ever a place of enchantment in this world a portion of it must be here at Ole Miss.
Anyone who is apart of the Ole Miss fan base will agree that we graciously and permanently belong to the Rebel nation. For each one of us, it’s like that first love that you always commit to memory. We all have had that moment when we first laid eyes on The Grove, Swayze and Vaught-Hemingway. The sense of wonder at those magical sites branded us in our hearts as true Rebels.
For some who have not experienced the beauty and splendor of this game we have come to know as baseball — or enjoyed a true rivalry like that between LSU and Ole Miss — a baseball field might seem ordinary. Nothing more than a field of dirt, chalk lines, bases, and a small mound where nothing much seems to happens. But for those of us who believe in Rebel spirit, and have experienced it first-hand, Swayze is our own Field of Dreams.
As a young girl, I cherished the beauty and tradition that surrounds a sports event here at Ole Miss. You can feel spring in your veins and the crowd’s roar makes the anticipation even more worthwhile.
Here dreams of glory for fans and players on the field are like none other. A gentleman’s battle unfolds this weekend as the Tigers come into our haven. Believe me, there will be some magic happening, which can only be conjured up in games like these with fans like ours. Whether you’re young or old, we’re all kids at heart. We yearn to put on a uniform and lead our team onward to victory against that team from Baton Rouge.
At Swayze, past innocence comes alive again and lost wonder is revisited. It’s moments like these that I only hope to share with my readers as I struggle to describe the nostalgia and pure joy that will be in the air this weekend in Oxford.
Well, whether you’re in the stands or on the Square, here are a few indulgences I feel are perfect to share for a wonderful weekend like this. In case you’re tired of smelling corndogs, I offer some Rebel treats to keep it classy as we always do here in Oxford. After all we are Ole Miss By Damn!
Warmer weather, baseball and longer daylight hours can only mean one thing. It’s stogie season. After all, mother nature wouldn’t share this kind of weather if she didn’t want us to tailgate with fine cigars and libations here in Oxford. These recommendations aren’t just for southern gents, but southern belles as well.
Let’s Just Call These Vital Rebel Resources:
Before we start. enjoying libations is strictly for adults over 21 and should always be done responsibly. Also, I would never advocate violating any university alcohol prohibitions.
That said, if you’re like me, I prefer to stay traditional at my tailgates with a medium to full-bodied style cigar. Antique and complex bourbons complement the tobacco brilliantly. I recommend the Padron Anniversario Series 1964 (which is worth every penny) along with a classic bourbon and ginger (if you need a little flavor other than straight bourbon). Bourbons you might want to sample are: Willlet Family Rye, for a bold and spicy taste or just Willet bourbon for a bold flavor, but smooth finish.
Nothing complements Spring sun and great times like the classic Mojito. And perhaps try a more mild flavored cigar like a Montecristo.
In case you need a refresher on the Mojito recipe:
6 Ounces light rum
12 mint sprigs
6 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
4 table spoons of sugar
4 Slices of Lime.
Just as the sun is about to set and the stadium lights glow from afar, it’s about time to transition into the perfect evening libation. So in the spirit of timeless good times, a good Maduro cigar paired with a Stinger is sure to take you to heaven, or maybe Swayze Field.
1¾ oz Brandy
¾ white crème de menthe
Classy and sophisticated it what we do best at Ole Miss. This is the weekend to show those Tigers just how it should be done. Hotty Toddy Y’all and make sure to head to Swayze this Easter weekend to cheer on the Rebs. For the best cigar selection in Oxford Rebel Nation, make sure to stop by my favorite spot, PJ Plus Cigars at 2021 University Avenue.
Tailgate Recipes That Can’t Miss
Well I know we all won’t be indulging in cigars and libations. Here are a few good old-fashioned tailgating recipes for this weekend’s match-up vs LSU. I have just a few favorites that I promise are much better than corndogs. Lets get down to business.
Colonel Corn Poppers ( Classy and spicier version of the corndogs LSU will bring) Yield: 6-8 Servings
Here’s what you will need:
- 1 (8 1/2-oz.) package corn muffin mix
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
- 1 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1-inch slices
- Peanut oil
- Creole mustard
1. Whisk together corn muffin mix and next 3 ingredients. Dip sausages slices in batter, coating well.
2. Pour oil to depth of 1 inch into a Dutch oven; heat over medium-high heat to 375°. Fry sausages, in batches, 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Keep warm on a wire rack in an aluminum foil-lined jelly-roll pan in a 200° oven. Serve with mustard.
Ole Miss Muffulettas ( Best if prepared the evening before the tailgate) Yield: 12 Servings
Here’s what you will need:
- 2 (16-oz.) jars mixed pickled vegetables
- 3/4 cup pimiento-stuffed Spanish olives, chopped
- 2 tablespoons bottled olive oil-and-vinegar dressing
- 12 small dinner rolls, cut in half
- 6 Swiss cheese slices, cut in half
- 12 thin deli ham slices
- 12 Genoa salami slices
- 6 provolone cheese slices, cut in half
1. Pulse pickled vegetables in food processor 8 to 10 times or until finely chopped. Stir in olives and dressing.
2. Spread 1 heaping tablespoonful pickled vegetable mixture over cut side of each roll bottom. Top each with 1 Swiss cheese slice half, 1 ham slice, 1 salami slice, 1 provolone cheese slice half, and roll tops. Cover with plastic wrap. Serve immediately, or chill until ready to serve.
Just a couple of treats that will satisfy that craving in between innings this weekend. Enjoy Rebs!
Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo is a HottyToddy.com contributor, veteran SEC sports journalist and Brown University graduate. She loves good cigars, good games and a smooth glass of bourbon — not necessarily in that order.