There’s no better way to patch over political rifts between friends or soothe the edgy nerves fired up by divisive campaign combat than stuffing your face with food — the one subject all parties tend to agree on.
Restaurants know this, but they also know political folks are always up to show their electoral spirit, even beyond the polls. For those who can’t wait until November to make their vote known, these places have cooked and mixed up a range of playfully partisan election-themed drinks and dishes.
Chef David Guas of Arlington, Va.’s Bayou Bakery devised the "Mitt-chicgan Dog," a Michigan-style steamed hot dog topped with "Michigan Sauce," chopped onions, and mustard, in honor of the Republican candidate’s home state, while the "POTUS Dog" is served Chicago-style, with an all-beef dog topped with minced onion, mustard, dill pickle spears, tomato slices, pickled sport peppers, sweet pickle relish, and a ash of celery salt (whew!) in honor of Obama’s old stomping grounds.
Another D.C.-area eatery, Burger, Tap & Shake, goes even further back to pay homage to the candidates’ birthplaces: for Obama there’s the Hawaiian Pineapple Shake, and Romney gets the Michigan Cherry Shake.
The Capital Hotel in Little Rock, Ark., has whipped up clever cocktails for those who consider themselves liberal when it comes to alcohol. Even Romney supporters can’t say the "Trickle Down" with London Dry Gin, tonic, and a splash of Dolin Sweet Vermouth and olive juice is "conservative" by any means. Lefties can show their allegiance with "The Bitter Jackass," made of Fernet Branca with Barritt’s ginger beer and lime juice.
Passion Food Hospitality restaurants are also serving candidate cocktails, with Obama’s "South Side" combining gin, simple syrup, lime juice, soda, mint sprigs, and lime slices, and a Romney-themed "'Mitt’ Julep." The Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group lets you show your true hues with their "Campaign Champagne," colored with your choice of house-made raspberry or blueberry essence.
The Clifton Inn in Charlottesville, Va., harkens back to a simpler political era with the "Founding Fathers Cocktail Flight," featuring concoctions such as "The Washington," with whiskey, molasses, bitters, and cherry liquor; "The Jefferson" with brandy, lime juice, apple liquor, and hard apple cider; and "The Quincy," with spiced rum, nutmeg- and cinnamon-infused syrup, and champagne.
Lubricate the debates at The Jefferson, DC, who will be serving "The Presidential," a mix of Jefferson bourbon, Applejack brandy, lemon juice, whiskey barrel bitters, a dash of cinnamon, and an apple chip, on the debate evenings of Oct. 3, 11, 16, and 22.