Five Spirited drinks to get you through the election
Whether you're celebrating, drowning your sorrows or just trying to stay sober, there's a great drink in Spirited for you
Drinking and voting have a long history in the United States. George Washington's campaign managers handed out free drinks when he was campaigning for his place in the Virginia legislature back in 1758.
Many states went on to ban alcohol sales on polling day, and, while those laws have since been repealed, you might not feel safe heading into a bar right now. Don't fear, our new book, Spirited, is a major global celebration of classic and cutting-edge cocktail recipes that define the way we drink, wherever we are. Author Adrienne Stillman not only includes clear, accurate, step-by-step recipes for each drink, but also details its history and cultural significance.
If you find the political climate is getting to you, you might want to mix yourself a Prescription Julep . "in 1857—shortly before the American Civil War broke out—Harper’s Monthly magazine published a satirical account of a doctor who prescribed this cocktail to a gentleman suffering from severe indigestion brought on by the toxic political climate," explains Stillman. "Cocktail historian Dave Wondrich calls this 'the tastiest Mint Julep recipe I know'."
For this you'll need 8–10 mint leaves; 1/2 oz (15 ml) Demerara Syrup; 1 1/2 oz (45 ml) Cognac; 1/2 oz (15 ml) rye; and 2–3 mint sprigs, to garnish. In a julep cup or rocks glass, gently muddle the mint and Demerara Syrup. Add the remaining ingredients and fill halfway with crushed or pebble ice. Stir with a barspoon or swizzle stick, then top with more pebble ice to form a crown above the rim. Garnish with mint sprigs. Serve with a sustainable straw.
If you'd like to liven up your election night, you can reach back into American political history, with a calming celebratory, communal drink: American Orange Punch . As Stillman explains, this cocktail is "an early American punch infamously served at President Andrew Jackson’s inauguration in 1829, which resulted in mayhem in the White House. Finally, the pails of punch were carried out to the lawn to draw the mob outside.
To make 20 servings you'll need: 4 oranges; 1 3/4 cups (350 g); raw sugar 1 1/2 cups; (375 ml) aged rum; 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) Cognac or aged brandy; 1 cup (250 ml) porter-style beer; 1 oz (30 ml) curaçao (optional); 1 1/2 quarts; and (1.5 liters) water; as well as orange wheels, lemon wheels, and freshly grated nutmeg, to garnish.
Prepare an oleo saccharum using the peel of two oranges and the sugar. Peel them, avoiding the bitter white pith. Combine the peels in a bowl with the sugar and muddle to release the oils. Let rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour in a warm, dry place until the oil from the peels has been absorbed by the sugar. It should look like wet sand. Meanwhile, juice all the lemons. You should have about 3/4 cup (180 ml) juice. Chill until ready to use.
Juice all the oranges. You should have 1 cup (250 ml) juice. When the oleo saccharum is ready, add the juice and stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Remove the orange peels and discard. When ready to serve, combine the sweetened orange juice with the rum, brandy, porter, curaçao, and water in a punch bowl with ice cubes or a large block of ice. Add additional sugar or water to taste. Garnish with orange and lemon wheels and freshly grated nutmeg. Serve in punch cups over fresh ice.
If you'd like to toast this President with a different drink, you could also try Old Hickory, which was both President Jackson's nickname, and, reportedly, his favorite cocktail while stationed in New Orleans in 1814, back when he was a colonel in the Tennessee Militia.
To mix this you'll need 1 1/2 oz (45 ml) sweet vermouth; 1 1/2 oz (45 ml) dry vermouth; 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters; 2 dashes orange bitters; and a lemon twist, to garnish. Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass filled with ice and stir for 25–30 seconds, or until well chilled. Strain into a coupe or a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.
If you feel like celebrating, you could try a different take on a champagne cocktail: Black Velvet. Take 3 oz (90 ml) stout beer; and 3 oz (90 ml) brut-style Champagne or dry sparkling wine. Pour the beer into a flute and gently top with brut-style Champagne or dry sparkling wine.
Then again, the results of this election might be contested for some time yet, so you may wish to remain level-headed. In this case, perhaps prepare yourself a non-alcoholic cocktail, such as a__ Carrot Spritz__ , "a non-alcoholic spritz from the Savannah outpost of The Fat Radish restaurant, which combines the sweet earthiness of fresh-from-the-ground carrots with spicy ginger," writes Stillman
Take 3 oz (90 ml) fresh carrot juice; 1 oz (30 ml); Ginger Syrup; 3/4 oz (22 ml) fresh lemon juice; 1 drop vanilla extract; 1 1/2 oz (45 ml) ginger beer; and carrot curls and parsley sprig, to garnish. Combine the first four ingredients in a cocktail shaker without ice and dry shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice. Top with ginger beer and garnish with carrot curls and a parsley sprig.
Check the ice - it's going to be a long night. For more on all these drinks and much more besides, get a copy of Spirited here.