At last year’s Winterthur Point-to-Point, Michael Wilson took home a silver plate and copious glory, winning the top tailgating award with a repast for 20 guests centered around his 1960 Ford Mustang convertible. An accomplished host, Wilson says tailgaters need not toil days before the event to produce an abundant spread. His spread of shrimp, crabcakes, cheeses, crudité, mini cheesecakes and other finger foods was catered by Wegmans. “Call someone and have them do it—that’s my recipe,” he says. “The kids next to us had boxes of donuts. They’re young and didn’t know any better.”
When it comes to the bar, Wilson is more hands-on. He greets his guests with mimosas, pouring orange juice from silver pitchers and adding champagne to taste. He uses store-bought orange juice in cartons, but most guests are convinced it’s homemade. His secret? Buy OJ with extra pulp, which has the texture of freshly squeezed juice.
Wilson sets a fine table, with linen napkins, silver serving pieces and wine goblets. “No plastic, no paper plates,” he says.
A generous host, Wilson also ponies up for his guests’ entrance wristbands. This spring, he’ll up the ante, renting a tent for racegoers. “We always hope for good weather,” he says. “But if it’s drizzly, we’re prepared.”
Below is Wilson’s recipe for a pitcher-perfect cocktail.
5 oz. Captain Morgan white rum
5 oz. Smirnoff vodka
5 oz. Don Julio Blanco tequila
5 oz. triple sec
5 oz. fresh lemon juice
5 oz. Tanqueray gin
5 oz. simple syrup
Add cola to taste
Mix ingredients in a large pitcher.
Serve in highball glasses with lots of ice.
Garnish with a lemon wedge.