It’s a time honoured tradition in Washington, DC. We like to drink. We like politics… so every election cycle, whether it’s the primaries or the general, local bars come up with politically-themed cocktails. If you’re like me and less than thrilled with your options this year (not that I can vote anyway), I’m sure you can use a stiff drink, or five, with a cheesy name poking fun at the candidates. I love it, especially when an awesome French restaurant gets involved.
Bastille is one of my favourite French restaurant in the city… well, technically it’s not in the city but right outside in Alexandria, VA. It’s definitely worth a metro ride to Braddock Road though, and that’s saying a lot given how bad WMATA is these days!! There’s 47 days until Americans head to the polls (and 59 until I do! That’s right, I get to vote in November too, but in the French Republican presidential primary). With election season in full swing, Bastille has designed a cocktail for each candidate, even the long shot ones like the Green Party’s Dr. Jill Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson.
My favourite of the five different cocktails offered is the “I Vote Canada.” Leave it to a French restaurant to come up with none-of-the-above option, bien sur 😉
Regardless of who wins the election, Canada always seems like a good idea to me!! Each cocktail is priced at $10 and from October 4th through November 8th, the restaurant will keep a tally, or “straw poll” if you will, based on popular demand. Will the results match those at the ballot box? I guess only time will tell!!
Of course, Bastille is hardly the only bar offering its boozy take on the presidential race. Like I said, this is a time honoured tradition in the city, and pretty much every bar is getting in on the pun-tastic action. 701 Restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue got inspired by the candidates’ slogans to create “Make America Grape Again” and the “I’m With Her” (both $12). Shaw’s Mexican eatery Espita Mezcaleria and the Oval Room are all about that wall, with “The Wall” (mezcal, Campari, orange juice and soda – $11) and the “Build That Wall” (Muscat Grape purée, spiced honey syrup, Champagne vinegar – $12) respectively. So far, I don’t think the newly open Trump International Hotel bar at BLT Prime by David Burke is doing anything, but Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons Hotel is. And for election 2016, the Georgetown establishment is not picking sides and throwing it back to past Commanders-in Chief instead. Head bartender Torrence Swain crafted four specialty presidential cocktails inspired by the drinking preferences of James Buchanan, Harry Truman, Herbert Hoover and Dwight Eisenhower. At $20, those are pricier, but $5 from the sale of each former president-inspired cocktail will go to the nonpartisan organization Nonprofit Vote, which aims to assist other organizations integrate voter engagement into their ongoing activities and services. If you’re more of a wine person like I am, the hotel’s wine bar, ENO, has something for you too! From now until election day, you can select one of two presidential candidate inspired flights, each priced at $20 and featuring wines from locations significant to each party’s nominee.
The Clinton “I’m With Her” flight features white wines from New York state, where Clinton served as senator for eight years and include:
- Element Winery Riesling, 2011 from the Finger Lakes
- Influence Wines Riesling, 2015 also from the Finger Lakes
- Bedell Cellars Chardonnay, 2014 from North Fork, Long Island
No Arkansas wine? Shocking lol. Meanwhile, Trump’s “Make America Great Again” flight features red wines from New York and Pennsylvania, where Trump attended University:
- Galen Glen Winery Gruner Veltliner, 2014 in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
- Galen Glen Winery Zweigelt, 2014 in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
- Brooklyn Oenology 2015 Social Club Red in Long Island, New York
I must say I’m a little surprise that flight doesn’t include any wine from the real estate mogul’s own winery in Virginia… Putting two Pennsylvania wines on there seems to guarantee no one is going to order it… which might be the point I guess? Both flights will be available from October 1–November 8, and the winner’s flight will be served through Inauguration Day.
Have you spotted any other fun election-themed gimmicks at bars and restaurants around the city? Or wherever you live… I know it’s corny, but I kinda love it, especially since picking a drink or wine flight is the closest I’ll get to voting in the US elections 😉