Here's a pineapple concoction for Obama and a Romney-inspired swill even Big Bird can sip

By Alison Schwartz
Updated October 22, 2012 05:00 PM
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Credit: Courtesy Moshe Zusman

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
  • soda water
  • lime wedge
  • In a highball glass, combine the bourbon, lime juice and pineapple juice. Add ice and stir. Fill with soda. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Romney Float
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.

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.

Balanced Budget

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.