Presidential Election Cocktails

Six Places to Hit the Polls with Presidential Election Cocktails

It’s one thing to “vote early and vote often” when you’re trying to game the system for your mobbed up buddies, but it’s another thing entirely when cocktails are the name of the game. Now, all a trip to the polls requires is another round of drinks at one of these DC bars. So pound the pavement and make your voice heard on the important issue of presidential election-themed cocktails.

The Pantsuit vs.  The Side Sweep
Ottoman Taverna is pulling no punches by taking on the signature look of each candidate. Beverage director Yani Salguero came up with The Pantsuit, made with vodka, lime juice and house-made peppermint shrub, topped with sparkling wine, and The Side Sweep, with gin, muddled basil, strawberry, raspberry, lime-honey water and Raki. Each is offered at $14. Ottoman Taverna: 425 I St. NW, DC;

The Apprentice vs. Madam President
Espita Mezcaleria Beverage Director Megan Barnes has crafted The Apprentice and The Madam Presidenta, each priced at $11. Trump’s orange-hued reality show entrant offers mezcal, Campari, orange juice and soda, served on the rocks, while Hillary’s libation is showcased with mezcal, blue Curaçao, El Dorado eight-year-old rum, lime juice and orgeat syrup, served up. Espita Mezcaleria: 1250 9th St. NW, DC;

Political Punch Off at the Renaissance Dupont Circle
Visit the Renaissance Dupont Circle’s hotel living room every Tuesday to Friday at 5:30 p.m., where two complimentary punches will be served. The recipes will change daily, highlighting local spirits producers. Whichever punch is finished first is the night’s winner, with the overall winner decreed by tallying up the nightly results. They’ll also be hosting Debate Watch Bingo for each debate, with happy hour specials, and winners will receive one of two additional election cocktails – your choice of the Email Me, or The Comb-over. Renaissance Dupont Circle: 1143 New Hampshire Ave. NW, DC;

A Battle for The Oval Room
With Clinton and Trump both vying for a seat in the Oval Office, it’s only right that the Oval Room is hosting its own battle. Choose between the Build That Wall, with Muscat grape purée, spiced honey syrup and champagne vinegar, topped with soda, and the Madam President, with Cynar, lemon juice, Giffard Abricot, Angostura rum and sparkling wine. Both are priced at $12. The Oval Room: 800 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC;

Historic Presidential Tag-Team Battle Royale
Bourbon Steak’s head bartender, Torrence Swain, created a stacked team of historical presidential cocktail representatives, with two Democrats and two Republicans. Team Dem showcases 15th President James Buchanan’s sherry cobbler, and 33rd President Harry Truman’s Give ‘Em Hell Harry, with bourbon, Lustau cream sherry and a house-spiced tincture. The duo is up against the GOP’s 31st President Herbert Hoover’s The Chief, a dirty martini with white truffles and a truffle pecorino olive, and 34th President Dwight Eisenhower’s Wizbanger, with Scotch, grenadine, absinthe, dry vermouth and orange bitters. Their mock election lasts for a month, starting on October 8. Cast your vote at the bar, and you’ll be entered to win a free night in the Four Seasons’ epic presidential suite, along with a dinner for two at Bourbon Steak. Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons Hotel: 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC;

Political Partners Square Off
At Off the Record, both the presidential candidates and their VP picks are squaring off. Check out the tandem of Hillary’s Last Word, with Bombay Sapphire, lime juice, green chartreuse, Luxardo Maraschino and grenadine, and the Kainehattan, with Plantation Rum, Carpano Antica vermouth and Angostura bitters. They’re up against the Trumpy Sour, with Knob Creek, barrel-aged bitters, lemon and honey, garnished with thyme and dehydrated lemon, and the Pence’s Tea Party, with Laphroaig 10 and Oban 14 Scotch, Disaronno, Bénédictine, orange juice, ginger syrup and vanilla extract, garnished with a slice of crispy bacon. All cocktails are priced at $16, and don’t forget to gawk at the caricatures on the coasters. Off The Record at The Hay-Adams: 800 16th St. NW, DC;

Still thirsty for more? You must really love being involved in the political process! At least another half dozen joints are offering election-themed drinks, including 701 Restaurant, The Grill Room, The Fairmont, Lincoln Restaurant, Teddy & The Bully Bar, ENO Wine Bar and Old Town Alexandria’s Blackwall Hitch.


Jake Emen

Jake Emen is a freelance writer focused on food and drink, as well as travel and lifestyle. Currently based outside of Washington, D.C., he has been published in a wide range of print and online outlets, including Whisky Advocate, Eater, Vice Munchies,, Tales of the Cocktail, Washington Post Express, Distiller, Roads & Kingdoms, Time Out, Tasting Table, Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, and a range of others. He also runs his own site,, and can be followed on Twitter, @ManTalkFood.