Wine & Spirits: Political Potables

by WL Author

Exercise your right to imbibe with one of these election-themed elixirs available at D.C. bars.

By Kelly A. Magyarics

"The Colorado Orchard" is one of the swing state-themed sips Art & Soul is offering during election season. (Photo courtesy Art & Soul)

Yes, political-inspired cocktails are ubiquitous during election season in Washington, as bars flaunt drinks based on the presidential candidates, parties or key states. Though this is admittedly not an exhaustive list (After all, who can keep track? New ones pop up every day), here are some super sippers to seek out now through the election — or in some cases, the inauguration.

Renaissance Mayflower
Proclaimed by President Truman to be Washington, D.C.’s “Second Best Address” after the White House, the Mayflower Renaissance D.C. Hotel is featuring an entire menu of libations to enjoy regardless of your political views. Available at participating Renaissance Hotels across the U.S., so-called Political Harmony beverages like “Interns and Scandals” or “Balanced Budget” can be enjoyed by Democrats and Republicans alike. The hotel invites you to reach out to your friends across the aisle and have a drink, or invite them over for sips and a spirited conversation while watching the debates.

The Renaissance Mayflower's "Across the Aisle" is a bipartisan beverage. (Photo courtesy Renaissance Hotels)

‘Across the Aisle
Recipe courtesy of Renaissance Mayflower Hotels

2 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
¼ oz. HUM Spirit
1 Sugar cube soaked with Angostura Bitters
1 Lemon peel
1 Splash club soda
Champagne for float
Orange slice, for garnish
Luxardo Maraschino Cherry, for garnish

Place the bitters-soaked sugar cube at the bottom of a rocks glass with the lemon peel, and muddle with a splash of club soda to release lemon oils and dissolve sugar. Add HUM Spirit and Bourbon, fill glass with ice, stir well and serve with a float of Champagne. Garnish with an orange slice and a Luxardo Maraschino cherry.

Poste Moderne Brasserie
Lead bartender Jason Wiles’ three election-themed cocktails were created to appeal to Democrats, Tea Partiers and Independents, and are priced $12 to $14. On Election Day, the restaurant is set to offer an all-day happy hour, with bar menu service until 1 a.m. The winning party’s cocktail will stay on the menu until Inauguration Day.

‘The Bi-Partisan Martini’ (‘equal parts of everything’)
Recipe courtesy of Poste Modern Brasserie, Washington, D.C.

1 ½ oz. Plymouth Gin
1 ½ oz. Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1 Dash orange bitters
1 Dash lemon bitters

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice,  stir until chilled and strain into a chilled martini glass.

‘The Tea Partier’
Recipe courtesy of Poste Moderne Brasserie, Washington, D.C.

Poste's "The Tea Partier" mixes Sailor Jerry Rum with a chamomile/citrus tea. (Photo courtesy Poste Moderne Brasserie)

1 ½ oz. Sailor Jerry Rum
¾ oz. Chamomile and citrus tea
¼ oz. Lemon juice
¼ oz. Lime juice
¼ oz. Agave nectar
2 Dashes grapefruit bitters

Combine ingredients in a shaker tin. Add ice, shake and strain over fresh ice in a chilled rocks glass.

‘A Blue State of Mind’
Recipe courtesy of Poste Moderne Brasserie, Washington, D.C.

1 ½ oz. Bluecoat gin
½ oz. St. Germain
¼ oz. Lime juice
2 in. Sprig of rosemary
Vieux Carre absinthe

Combine ingredients in a shaker tin. Add ice, shake and double strain into a chilled martini glass that has been rinsed with absinthe.

As the countdown to the election winds down, Policy is running a race of its own, with two specialty cocktails inspired by the presidential candidates. The Basil “Barack” Berry is made with Blueberry Stoli, orange blossom-infused syrup, muddled basil and lime, soda and blue Curacao. The Pomegra “Mitt” Mojito combines Pomegranik Stoli, cranberry juice, mint lime and soda. Each is $5, and Policy will keep a running tally on the main dining room’s large chalkboard. Then, starting Wednesday, November 7th, the day after the election, Policy will offer the winning candidate’s cocktail for free to all guests during happy hour, from 5 p.m.-8 p.m.

"Obama's Home Sweet Home" and "The Romney Float," Topaz Bar's candidate concoctions. (Photo by Moshe-Zusman)

Topaz Bar
Topaz debuted its political campaign cocktails way back at a Super Tuesday watch party in February, and has kept them on the menu during the election season. “The Romney Float” is a rich, non-alcoholic sipper featuring Old Dominion Root Beer, finished with whipped heavy cream and a house-made “Salted Lake” caramel drizzle ($9). Non-teetotalers can add a shot of Root Organic Liqueur for an additional $6. “Obama’s Home Sweet Home” appeals to the D.C. address our current POTUS wants to keep for another four years. What better drink to represent that than the Rickey, D.C.’s native cocktail? This sweet twist on the classic incorporates Bulleit Bourbon, lime juice, club soda and a hint of pineapple juice ($9). Management keeps a tally of how many have been ordered, and so far, Obama’s libation has been in the lead (not surprising, since it comes by default with a dose of the hard stuff.)

Art & Soul
On November 6, Art & Soul is holding an election results party, where guests can watch results roll in while enjoying happy hour prices from 4 p.m. until a new president is named. When the results are announced for one of the swing states, that state’s cocktail will be available for half-off for 15 minutes following the announcement (regular price is $13). Swing-state cocktails available until January 31, 2013 include “The Colorado Orchard,” with Cap Rock Gin, St. Germain, lime, Thai basil and sparkling wine; “The Meat and Potato” (Iowa), with house-oaked vodka and candied bacon; and “The Cheese Head” (Wisconsin), with Deaths Door Vodka, lemon, Shiraz float and a cheddar cheese cube.

Kelly Magyarics is a wine and spirits writer, and wine educator, in the Washington, D.C. area. She can be reached through her website,, or on

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