updated 10/16/2012 AT 5:00 PM ET
•originally published 10/22/2012 AT 5:00 PM ET
Siding with the Democratic Party? Rooting for the Grand Old Party? In the interest of keeping our coverage nonpartisan, here’s a nomination for a less-polarizing political affiliation altogether: the Cocktail Party.
As President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney prepare to face off in the final presidential debate Monday night, agree to disagree … over which kind of beverage makes the perfect fuel for one last game of political ping-pong.
In the spirit of democracy, several choices await the politically active drinker: In the heart of Washington, D.C., Topaz Bar serves up two commander-in-chief-worthy concoctions less than a mile away from the White House itself. “As for inspiration, each drink was concocted as a fun and irreverent twist on each of their personalities and backgrounds,” general manager Donte Johnson tells PEOPLE. (Fun fact: President Theodore Roosevelt once lived where the hotel bar now stands.)
Concerned about the economy? Renaissance Hotels across the nation have come up with their own patriotic concoction that puts a sweet spin on budget woes called the Balanced Budget.
Stir these up for the debate, and then you decide: Which one is best? (And we’re talking about the cocktails, not those dudes in the suits.)
Obama’s Home Sweet Home
A twist on The Rickey, the District’s signature beverage plays off of Obama’s Hawaiian roots
1.5 oz. bourbon (recipe calls for Bulleit Bourbon)
0.75 oz. lime juice
0.75 oz. pineapple juice
In a highball glass, combine the bourbon, lime juice and pineapple juice. Add ice and stir. Fill with soda. Garnish with a lime wedge.
A non-alcoholic treat in homage to Romney’s Mormon faith
6.5 oz. root beer (recipes recommends Old Dominion root beer)
fresh whipped cream
homemade caramel drizzle (recipe below)
coarse kosher salt
1.25 oz. organic root liquor (optional)
Pour the root beer over ice in a highball glass. Combine with the liquor and stir (optional). Top with a dollop of freshly whipped heavy cream. Drizzle the homemade caramel on top. Sprinkle coarse salt over the caramel drizzle.
2 cups sugar
½ cup water
¾ cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. butter
In a saucepan, add sugar and water. Cook on medium-high heat until amber-brown color. Remove from heat. Stir with a wooden spoon, pouring in ½-cup of warm heavy cream and pats of butter. Stir until the sugar dissolves and add ¼-cup of the warm heavy cream until smooth. Let it stand in a heat-proof jar and cool for one hour before use.
It’s berry tough stuff
1 oz. berry vodka (recipe recommends Ciroc Vodka Red Berry)
1 oz. blue curacao (recipe recommends DeKuyper Blue Curacao)
¼ oz. cherry liqueur (recipe recommends Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur)
1 oz. soft-whipped creamed flavored with strawberry or pomegranate puree (directions below)
In a mixing glass filled with ice, stir the first three ingredients, and then strain into a flute glass. Use the bowl of a bar spoon to pour the lightly whipped berry-flavored cream. Garnish with half strawberry on the rim.
Strawberry or Pomegranate Whipped Cream (one cup)
Shake 4 oz. of heavy-whipping cream with 4 oz. of puree. Shake without ice. Pay attention not to whip the cream too much (it has to be fluffy and runny). Store the flavored cream in the shaker in the refrigerator.