The countdown to the Nov. 3 election is on. As there’s no question that the days ahead will be filled with stress as the nation votes and awaits the outcome, VinePair is turning its attention toward the less serious but still pressing decision of what to drink on election night.
To find out what the pros have chosen to help take the edge off, VinePair asked bartenders and distillers around the country what they will be pouring and shaking up for this momentous event. From historic punches and classic cocktails, to American whiskey and an aptly named natural wine, keep reading below for some expert suggestions on picking the right election night tipple.
The Best Drinks for Election Night Recommended by Spirits Pros:
- Westland’s Peated American Single Malt Whiskey
- WhistlePig 10 Year
- Grey Goose La Poire
- Dark ‘n Stormy
- Green Spot Irish Whiskey
- 2019 Strange Days by Lightwell Survey
- Old Grand-Dad 114
- Daiquiri with Cañada Cloud Forest Rum
- Krug Champagne
- Spring44 Vodka
- Luna Bay Booch’s Ginger Lemon Hard Kombucha
- Ward Eight Cocktail
- 2006 Clos Cazals Grand Cru Oger Blanc de Blanc
- Masterson’s Rye Whiskey
- Fords Gin Officers’ Reserve
Keep reading for details about all of the recommended bottles!
“On election day/night, I’m going to have a Martini or two. I’m going to go to bed before the election is called, and wake up to some damn good news and a better day. (And then I’m putting Benedictine in my morning coffee.) I can’t remember the last time 2020 gave me a good morning.” — Alex Negranza, Bar Manager, MARCH and Rosie Cannonball, Houston
“To reduce my anxiety on election night, I will be drinking a dram of Westland’s Peated American Single Malt Whiskey. This Americanized Scotch has [a] great balance of peat and malt while the influence from the barrel keeps both in check. This is my favorite peated American whiskey, except for mine, of course. Hopefully, I’ll feel as even-keeled as this whiskey as the election results roll in.” — Max Pfeffer, Master Distiller, Manatawny Still Works, Pottstown, Pa.
“On election night this year, I will be drinking a WhistlePig 10 Year on the rocks. On a night like the upcoming election, anything less than 100 proof would just be unsatisfactory.” — Henry Ottrix, Bartender, Curio Bar inside Denver Central Market, Denver
“This is going to be a very long and likely stressful night, especially for those of us in the LGBTQ+ community. I’ll want something strong, classy, and comforting. I’m planning on grabbing my bottle of Grey Goose La Poire for a strong and complex Martinez riff. I like a 50/50 ratio with Martini & Rossi Rubino sweet vermouth, with just a splash of Maraschino and classic Angostura bitters, stirred nice and cold and finished off with an orange twist studded with a clove. Better yet, I can make a whole pitcher of them ahead of time and keep them in the fridge to top off my partner and roommates’ glasses every time another state is declared. So go vote right now, and then hit the liquor store.” — Ash Haussermann, Bartender, Clover Club, Brooklyn
“I will be having a Dark ‘n Stormy to summon the rain gods in hopes of good rainfall to bring us back to life. It’s all figurative, of course, but that doesn’t negate the fact that our food chains are suffering, our labor force is weakened, and our economy is in need of massive repair.” — Alba Huerta, Owner, Julep, Houston
“For election night, I’ll be drinking something a little stronger. One of my favorite whiskies is Green Spot Irish Whiskey. I like it neat, and I’ll add rocks later on to exaggerate any changes the ice brings. I like that Green Spot is light, has slow legs, a round mouthfeel, and is sweet and balanced. I always use filtered water for the ice cubes and drink from a rocks glass.” — Chris Hanson, Distiller and Winemaker, Hanson of Sonoma, Sonoma, Calif.
“Without a doubt, I will be opening a tantalizing bottle of 2019 Strange Days natural wine by Lightwell Survey, which I recently purchased at Domestique Wine. I associate natural wines with rectitude and realness. I hope this year’s election is untainted by immorality, and every voice is counted. I hope this year’s election is carried out with the same integrity natural winemakers dedicate to the production of their wines. The American people need to hear the unadulterated truth about our candidates to make an informed vote. With that being said, this bottle represents an interesting, and definitely unique, untainted presidential election. No hidden documents, no sugar-coated lies. This year we taste the truth, not Kool-Aid wine.” — Chad Henry, Bar Manager, Bammy’s, Washington, D.C.
“Old Grand-Dad 114, because it’s got a lot of flavor for a good price in case I need a second bottle that night…” — Kyle Shelgren, Bartender, Roger’s Liquid Oasis, Edgewater, Colo.
“This election night, I’ll be drinking classic Daiquiris made with Cañada Cloud Forest rum from Mexico. The Daiquiri is sharp and fresh, and I think we’ll all need something light and bright on what promises to be a long night. This JFK favorite is on the low-alcohol side, but will do well with an extra shot when the Florida returns come in. And if the numbers aren’t looking so rosy late in the evening, the Cloud Forest rum is the perfect bottle to sip on while I plan my escape to Mexico.” — James Simpson, Manager, Espita Mezcaleria, Washington, D.C.
“If it’s a win, Krug Champagne to toast, and if it’s a loss, at least it was enjoyed while watching the results, and the loss won’t be too hard to take. I think it’s the most underrated Champagne out there and probably still my favorite over even the biggest name brands.” — Piero Procida, Food & Beverage Director, The London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Calif.
“Inspired by election night, I came up with this cocktail: ‘The Orange Russian,’ with Spring44 Vodka, Midnight Espresso Liqueur, a splash of milk, and topped with a Clementine Izze.” — Eric Vanderveen, Bartender, The Empire Lounge & Restaurant, Louisville, Colo.
“On election night, I’ll be drinking Luna Bay Booch’s Ginger Lemon hard kombucha. With 6 percent ABV, it has the boozy bite I’ll need to calm my nerves. I love that Luna Bay uses real herbs, fruits, and Yerba Mate tea, so while I’m nervously drinking, I’ll feel better about what I’m putting into my body than many of the alternatives.” — Gareth Moore, Managing Partner and Bartender, Home & Away, San Diego
“On election night, I’ve gotta reach for the Ward Eight cocktail! Not only [is it] delicious, but the history is so much fun! It is said to have been created for a politician in the 1890s to celebrate Massachusetts’ Eighth Ward delivering him the election. It’s pretty simple to make — just rye whiskey, OJ, lemon juice, and grenadine. Historically [and] politically relevant, and enough kick to get you through watching the election results!” — Jenn Tosatto, Bar Manager, Mission Taco Joint, Kansas City, Mo.
“It depends on how the night goes. I’ll almost certainly start the evening with a bottle of Champagne to celebrate the work that has gone into the campaign by myself, my friends, and thousands of other people across the country. I’ve actually got a beautiful bottle of 2006 Clos Cazals Grand Cru Oger Blanc de Blancs that is really spectacular, and I can’t wait to enjoy [it]! With any luck, I’ll be drinking Champagne for the rest of the evening. Depending on how things go, I may end up with whiskey. Neat. Specifically some of my favorite Canadian rye — Masterson’s Rye Whiskey. It’s spicy, balanced, and just a delicious spirit that’s great for most occasions.” — Gavin Humes, Director of Food and Beverage, Scratch | Restaurants Group, Los Angeles
“As an expat, I’m not eligible to vote. Usually, I’m traveling and exploring cocktail bars around the world during election season. This year, I’m staying put in Nashville with my family as to keep those around me (and myself) safe and healthy. At home, I’ll be taking inspiration from the tropical cocktail movement and make my home a vacation paradise with drinks that will take my mind to far-flung places. Given my natural affinity towards gin (surprised?), I’ll begin with a Saturn and then the Quarterdeck from Shannon Mustipher’s TIKI with Fords Gin Officers’ Reserve. But, it won’t stop there. … Depending on the result, I think I will start with a punch, such as a Spiced Apple Gin Warmer, and then move on to the Fish House Punch (gin, brandy, peach brandy, Maraschino liqueur, green tea, lemon juice, simple syrup, and Champagne!) … Lastly, just days ahead of the election, I will make the forgotten classic cocktail from Patrick Gavin Duffy’s “Official Mixer’s Manual” (1934) that he named ‘Have a Heart Cocktail’ in the hopes that people vote with their hearts.”— Simon Ford, Founder, Fords Gin, London