Political Spirit: The Maker's Mark Cocktail Party

What's one thing all Americans can agree on? Whiskey

Whiskey and politics, a natural combination.

James Carville and Mary Matalin are perhaps the most famous odd couple in politics. He is a prominent strategist for the Democratic Party, and she’s a longtime Republican consultant. How they make their marriage work — it has lasted since 1993 — has always been somewhat of a mystery, but an ad campaign sheds some light: they both enjoy drinking good bourbon.

Or at least they are both shilling for the Cocktail Party. Maker’s Mark jumped on the coattails of the biggest news story of the year (the 2012 presidential election) with their current ad campaign. The Cocktail Party is a faux political organization with a tagline that says, "It’s time to mix things up!"

When you visit Maker’s Mark on the Web, you can find instructions for how to change your Facebook party affiliation to the Cocktail Party, how to add the Cocktail party badge to your Twitter profile pic, and other ways to make your political symbol a red, white, and blue liquor bottle, instead of a blue donkey or red elephant.

There is a list of cocktail recipes for the party, which is filled with clever names like The Hanging Chad and The Baby Kisser, and there were Maker's Mark-sponsored Cocktail Party gatherings in several cities — all have already taken place except the Nov. 3 event planned for the Maker's Mark distillery in Loretto, Ky.

Even if you’re slightly put off by the plea for brand attention, the concept does make some sense. Drinking with others can loosen tensions and let those who disagree find some common ground. Divisive, political attack ads can be discouraging. As one of the several videos produced for the campaign says, "Instead of another candidate who will drag us apart, we need something that will bring us together."

If what you choose to use for that coming together is Maker’s Mark, we wouldn’t argue. The brand is still building the "party platform," and you can submit your pithy addition online; if it’s good enough it will be featured on the website in a slideshow. For example, the current party platform goes as follows:

It's time for action!
— Bill Samuels, Jr., Chairman Emeritus

It’s time to come together!
— Rob Samuels, COO

It’s time for a cocktail!
— Greg Davis, Master Distiller

Some drinker-submitted winners:

Life, liberty, and a clean rocks glass.
— Drew Hough

Life is too short to serve or drink cheap liquor.
— Bruce Finkel Stein

It's all in the proof.
— Kathleen Stallard

What’s your contribution to the Cocktail Party ethos?

— Danya Henninger, The Drink Nation

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