How to Party like a President

Abe, just before the Gettysburg F****ng Address

At around 6 p.m. on November 7th, we in Prague, along with the entire world, were informed that Joe Biden had beaten Donald Trump for the presidency. The world reacted with an ecstatic joy that probably matched that of VE Day. Church bells were rung in Paris, global leaders were quick to offer endorphin-packed congrats to Biden and Harris, and people danced and celebrated in the streets of cities all over the world. Now, I’ve been very clear about my dislike of Donald Trump, who I have seen since 2015 as a hypocrite, a coward, and a bully, but 95% of the civilized world celebrating your termination cannot feel good.

Trump’s response to the loss is both true to form and seemingly an agonizing farewell, meant to give about 76 million of We the People one last acrid taste of the awful daily circus that he has subjected us to for the last four years. I am no political pundit, so you’ll have to look elsewhere for analysis on what Trump’s goal is. Though it seems pretty clear to anyone with a working machine between their ears that since he’s been moaning about a rigged election with no evidence since polls suggested he might lose, maybe the pettiest and most psychologically disturbed president in the history of North America is just trying to soothe his own bruised ego.

Who knows?

What I do know is that America needs a drink. And, like, now. And if you’re going to have a drink, you might as well have one that gives a nod to history in some way. So, the question is, what to drink to celebrate Trump’s loss and to steel us against the coming weeks of what is sure to be the political equivalent of breaking up with a coked up honey badger with a leg caught in a trap? Let’s see.

Given that it’s November 8th (when I am writing this), a lot of things that have happened on this day are presidential, so let’s stick with that theme. The list of presidents who were elected on this date is not short. Abe Lincoln in 1864, Grover Cleveland in 1892, Teddy Roosevelt in 1904, FDR in 1932, JFK in 1960, and Trump himself in 2016. So, what to drink?

I suggest having a drinking regimen that celebrates a few of these great presidents. John Kennedy gave us hope for a better future, and oh my God does that apply to the results of this election. One of Kennedy’s drinks of choice was a Bloody Mary. So, start your day with one of those. A tip from an old bartender, thicken up your Mary with A1 Steak Sauce or Brown Sauce (if you’re in the UK or EU). Use Ketel One or Stoli vodka and a drop of olive juice to make your Mary a bit saltier, because tomato juice can sometimes be too sweet. Also, though you may be tempted to garnish with something sexier than boring old celery – e.g. a pickle, a Slim Jim, your neighbor’s finger – the celery is best. It’s the perfect neutral balance to a hopefully spicy Mary.

As many of the presidents were not heavy drinkers, you can then relax throughout your day and prep for the night. Have an apple juice to honor Honest Abe. Abe wasn’t a big drinker, though he probably had a few shots to cope with the fact that African Americans would have to wait for Donald Trump to match Abe’s contribution to their quality of life. He didn’t like the way booze made him feel the next day (join the club, pal). Still, Abe evidently did have a taste for corn whiskey in his younger years, so you could mix a bit of apple juice with a shot of whiskey (this is actually not bad).

But if you started early and don’t want to start hitting the whiskey just yet, you could keep apple in your drink plan and have a hard apple cider. Though this would not celebrate any of the presidents listed above, it is how John Adams preferred to start every day. Man, the 18th century would have been tough for a lot of reasons, but you have to love alcohol as an acceptable morning beverage. I guess since there was like a 40% chance of being murdered or eaten by a wolf in your kitchen, they figured “why not go through like boozed up!?”

Rally in the afternoon with a Mint Julep. This was the favored drink of Teddy Roosevelt, who had the genuine form of the bombast that Trump wishes he had. Teddy was gutsy and tough and, again unlike Trump, actually possessed a brain and integrity. Moreover, he read about a book a day, no doubt shattering Trump’s lifetime record in about a week. Teddy wasn’t a big drinker, but he did love a Mint Julep from time to time. They’re easy if you have the ingredients, which I don’t have in Prague, so you might have to make do.

In a large rocks glass, put about five fresh mint leaves in a glass with a tablespoon of sugar (or about a half ounce of simple syrup if you desire the extra step). Muddle these. One of the Mint Julep’s most pressing benefits is that you get to muddle something, thus enacting a verb that we don’t use that often. Muddle the sugar and mint leaves until the sugar is dissolved and the aroma is minty and fresh. Fill that glass with shaved ice and then add 2½ ounces of bourbon (3 ounces if you’re done working for the day). Put in a long thin spoon and stir the drink by rolling the spoon between your hands (imagine someone trying to kick start a fire with a stick). The glass should be frosty.

It should be mentioned that if you don’t feel like going through that rigmarole, you can get largely to the same place by pounding shots of bourbon and chasing them with pea-sized pods of mint toothpaste (the ER, that is. Please don’t do this and if you do, then you should rush to D.C to see if you can still get a job in Trump’s administration).  

But bring in the night for FDR. Why? Lots of reasons. First, Like Biden he beat a Republican incumbent. He also guided America through the Great Depression and World War II, and evidently did so with various boozes coursing through his system. He was a drinking buddy of Winston Churchill’s and used to call his boozing times with him “Winston Hours” and he would also need three days to recuperate. And finally, not only because he repealed prohibition, but also because when he signed the papers at 6:55 p.m. on December 5th 1933, he made a crack good enough for a movie. “I believe this would be a good time for a beer.”  

FDR was known for his love of martinis and even gave Stalin his first martini (which he didn’t like – damn commie). He was also known to enjoy an old fashioned (especially how his son made it) and a concoction he served at his Hyde Park mansion called a Haitian Libation. This Haitian treat would take absinthe, dark rum, and an egg white, so we’re going to put that one on the back burner for now. What you can drink for FDR is a classic, simple highball. Two ounces of whiskey and 4-6 ounces of ginger ale or, if you’re a sociopath, club soda.

There’s a huge symbiosis to celebrating Biden’s victory over Trump by drinking the same thing as the man who defeated Hitler, prohibition, and the Depression. So, no matter what you drink, sit back, raise a glass, and party like it’s 6:56 p.m. on December 5th, 1933.

  1. #1 by gregory j galeone on November 9, 2020 - 7:40 pm

    w I’m thirsty Damo. Great article.

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