So I’m planning my election night victory party, and the first question, of course, is what to drink. The first thing I’m doing is to abandon the whole red state/blue state thing–there are far too many fine red cocktails, and practically no good blue ones–and besides, if Wikipedia is to be believed, the current red/blue distinction has no basis in history prior to the 2000 election. So let’s scrap that and look for cocktails with election night-themed names instead.
If you’re planning to cheer your guy on to victory, you’ll definitely want to make an El Presidente. The standard recipe calls for rum, grenadine, orange curacao, and dry vermouth. I like this one because pomegranates are in season, so you can actually make fresh grenadine–and that is so very worthwhile. Also, I’m planning to swap out the orange curacao for some fresh orange and pineapple juice.
There’s also a drink called The Victory, which would be excellent if you would promise to use only fresh and fresh-squeezed ingredients. (If you’re not accustomed to vermouth cocktails, you’re in for a treat. Get Dolin dry or blanc vermouth for the dry stuff, or, if you can find it, try Imbue or Quady. Just don’t use old, cheap stuff that was opened ages ago. Get a fresh bottle. For the sweet vermouth, look for any of the above, or try one of the two substitutions I suggest for this next drink.)
I’m also liking a drink called The Liberal, which comes from Ted Haigh’s excellent Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails. It’s equal parts whiskey and Italian vermouth (that’s sweet vermouth–try Carpano Antica or Punt e Mes or Dolin’s sweet vermouth), along with a few dashes of Torani Amer, an Italian amaro, along with a generous dash of orange bitters. If you don’t have Torani Amer, I don’t know what to tell you to use as a substitute. I might just splash some Angostura in there and call it done.
The always-delightful Savoy Cocktail Book offers a drink called the Chicago Cocktail, which could work if you’re planning to celebrate the victor’s Chicago roots. It’s an easy one to make: 1.5 oz brandy, a dash of Angostura and one of curacao, topped with Champagne.
Since both candidates are millionaires, the Savoy’s Millionaire Cocktail will work in either case. Combine the juice of one lime with a dash of grenadine and equal parts (maybe 1 oz each) sloe gin, apricot brandy, and rum. And here’s one called The Billionaire, in case your guy happens to be one of those.
If you’re guy’s going to lose, you might want to be prepared to mix a Suffering Bastard, which you can find in Dale DeGroff’s fine book The Craft of the Cocktail. It’s 1.5 oz rum plus an ounce of overproof rum like Bacardi 151 (or just use 2.5 oz of rum and be done with it), shaken with 3/4 oz curacao, .5 oz orgeat, 1 oz lime juice, 2 oz. orange juice, garnished with a slice of fruit. It’s a surprisingly festive drink for someone whose candidate just lost, but there you go.
The disappointed among you could also try a Meloncholy Baby, from the same book, which consists of 1.5 oz Absolut Citron (or another citrus vodka), 3/4 oz lemon juice, 2 oz simple syrup, 1/2 chopped melon, 3 oz water, blended with crushed ice and served in a tall glass. (I might skip the blending and just muddle it all well, shake, and strain.)
There’s also a drink called The Consolation, which consists of gin, creme de menthe, Angostura bitters, and lemon juice.
Finally: if you absolutely insist on going the red/blue route, and you want something fizzy, use a dollop blue curacao or Rotham & Winter Violet Liqueur, which I have found to be the bluest of the violet liqueurs, in a glass of Champagne. Better yet, float blueberries in the glass or float a blue pansy on top and skip the blue-tinted additives. Red liqueurs that you can add to Champagne include raspberry, cranberry, or strawberry liqueur, or grenadine. Just use liqueurs made with real fruit, for crying out loud, and don’t drink cheap Champagne. Whether you’re celebrating or mourning, this is no time to skimp.