Between Thursday night celebratory dinners (because thankfully, our break starts now), Friday night mixers and Saturday’s tailgate, students and campus visitors will be forced to navigate a confusing matrix of food and drink options, maximizing calorie consumption without sacrificing the drunken buzz of Harvard-Yale.

Thinking about hitting up all your favorite New Haven pizza places in one short weekend? Think again. According to my thorough and highly scientific research, high-protein foods like cheese soak up the alcohol fastest.

And what about those cozy tailgate classics, like hot chocolate and cider? The many wikiHow guides to Not Getting Drunk suggest alternating booze with nonalcoholic beverages or caloric foods. I guess neither hot chocolate nor cider will get you very far — unless you add some spirits.

To help you avoid making mistakes like these, here’s a comprehensive guide:


// Friday Night //

8:00 p.m. – Eat a hearty dinner filled with complex carbohydrates to give you stamina for the marathon ahead. Pasta or a brown rice Chipotle burrito will fuel you until brunch tomorrow and soften your Saturday morning hangover.

(Calories: 1200 — who knew?)

10:00 p.m. – Meeting up with Harvard friends for dessert? Don’t waste the opportunity to begin your big night out. Classic Yale spots like Yorkside and Ashley’s give you a chance to experience decadence on a Cheesecake Factory level: the spiked milkshake. Bring some rum or chocolate liqueur in your nifty Game flask and start your night off in the most glorious way.

(Calories: 1300; Alcohol: 2–3 shots)

For a seasonal alternative, impress your friends with apple pie shots, a liquor treating fall favorite I dream of incorporating into my daily life. Mix vodka or rum with apple cider and garnish with cinnamon. Serve hot after placing a dollop of whipped cream in the recipient’s mouth.

(Calories: 100 per shot; Alcohol: ½ shot)

12:00 a.m. – PSA: Assuming you will be out till 2 or 3 a.m., this is the point in the night when you need to stop mixing your drinks. Otherwise, beware a nasty game day hangover, according to crowdsourcing from a few GroupMes I’m on.


// Saturday Morning //

7:00 a.m. – Rise and shine! Tailgating starts at 8:30 this year, and you need to cure your hangover fast. Because no Mexican restaurants in this city are open that early, success means planning ahead.

While the classic solution to a hangover is the mimosa, which combines a light touch of alcohol with the restorative properties of Vitamin C, I suggest filling your sugary drink quota with something a little more potent. Consider instead the significantly more aggressive “Corpse Reviver,” equal parts gin, lemon juice, an orange-based liqueur like Cointreau or Grand Marnier and Lillet. Add a dash of absinthe if feeling edgy. Bartender Harry Craddock, who invented the cocktail, famously said that four Corpse Revivers can un-revive your corpse again. With the second day of Harvard-Yale coming up, this sounds like citrus calories well spent.

(Calories: 210 per glass; Alcohol: 2–3 shots)

7:30 a.m. – It’s hard to survive a cold New Haven day without a good breakfast. Start the day off right with The Deconstructed All-American Breakfast, aka spiked eggnog. Does your ideal fall brunch consist of a few eggs, sugary sweet baked goods and a glass of milk? Then turn to this breakfast option, which combines the most delicious and caloric parts — egg yolks, sugar, spice and milk (whole, of course) — with some early-morning rum. Not only is the dairy delicious, it will also line your stomach to prevent you from feeling sick as you drink more.

(Calories: 290 per cup; Alcohol: 1–2 shots)

8:00 a.m. – It’s time for a pick-me-up with a crisp autumn stroll down Chapel Street to the Yale Bowl. Bring along a toasty beverage to prevent yourself from freezing or, more importantly, from walking off your morning boozy bliss. Buy a box of hot chocolate (yes, you will want a whole box) from the Dunkin’ Donuts at Park Street and grab a few takeout cups. Stop every few blocks to pour and garnish with a flavored liqueur of your choosing — perhaps Peppermint Schnapps, or, for a little more kick, Fireball, tequila or brandy. The truly adventurous will choose some combination of the three. You’ll have finished the box before you reach the tailgating area.

(Calories: 400 per cup; Alcohol: 1–2 shots)

8:30 a.m. – This year, no hard alcohol will be allowed at the tailgating village. While beer may appear to be the more obvious accompaniment to football, opt for white wine (or sweet, cheap red wine) instead. Watery beer will come as a sudden shock to your system, but tailgate wine will warm you up and refresh your body with its strong resemblance to fruit juice.

(Calories: 100 per glass)

Wine will also leave you more room to enjoy those yummy tailgate foods. The best of them — cornbread, mac and cheese — are the starchiest and thus the biggest enemy to your drunken stamina. But if, like me, you can’t imagine passing on these foods, just make sure to keep pace with your wine or take some pieces of cornbread to go.

(Cornbread calories: 175 per piece; Mac and Cheese calories: 200 per serving)

12:00 p.m. – Game time! Whenever you’re ready to leave, cap off the weekend with brunch at one of the delicious Westville cafes, Bella’s or Lena’s, on the other side of Edgewood Park. With the game over, it’s finally time to give into all your cravings for carby indulgences like Cannoli French Toast with chocolate chips and ricotta cheese or bagels galore. Just in time for that Saturday afternoon nap …

(Calories: 500++; Alcohol: optional)