Lincoln Chafee — “O’Doul’s Premium Non-Alcoholic Beer”
Who is this strange tall man who is running for president? No, it’s not Joe Biden, but his understudy Lincoln Chafee, governor of Rhode Island! O’Doul’s is a perfect match because it’s a beer with less than one percent, for a candidate with less than one percent in the polls.
Hillary Clinton — “White Wine”
Which white wine? The white one. Can I get more specific? Not at this time.
Lawrence Lessig — “Caramel Apple Cosmo”
Lessig’s micro-candidacy, more crowdfunded political activism than a genuine run, pairs beautifully with the Caramel Apple Cosmo because of how both sit nicely within their categories, but possess just a pinch of speciality. This cocktail has the pedigree of a cosmopolitan with enough added season flair to set it apart from the pack. Lessig, a Harvard Law professor, is pretty much a standard, articulate small-time candidate but with just enough kick on campaign finance reform to make you pay attention. Can’t go wrong with either, even though both are rare and specific finds.
Martin O’Malley — “Fisherman’s Son”
Crab Juice and Sloop Betty Vodka, served warm with an Old Bay seasoning on the rim of the glass. Why? Because he’s an everyman from Maryland and thus has no appeal to anyone who isn’t an everyman from Maryland.
Bernie Sanders — “Tom Collins”
Gin, lemon juice, club soda, and superfine sugar. Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and socialism go back a long way. Since the 1970’s, Bernie has been the curmudgeonly voice of the people. In the 1990’s, after almost a decade as mayor of Burlington, he ascended to national office, culminating in a senate run in 2006. Bernie and a Tom Collins are perfect fit because they are both presently in vogue and also over a century old.
Jim Webb — “B-52”
Equal parts Irish cream, coffee liquor and Grand Marinier. No garnish. Reagan’s formal Secretary of the Navy is sweet and simple.
Jeb Bush — “Screwdriver”
Mix Vodka with Orange Juice. Jeb, once considered the rising star of the small and peaceful Bush clan, had to hide in the shadow while another relative took slightly higher office than his humble Florida governorship. Now the cat’s away and the mice will play as he eyes 1600 Penn for his own. Once considered the obvious frontrunner, his road to coronation is now filled with potholes. Not experienced driving on bumpy roads (Florida’s are as smooth as an asphalt baby’s bottom) he’s had some trouble lately. But with a little Vitamin C from his state’s signature fruit and the liquid courage to stand up to Donald Trump, maybe Jeb could ride all the way to the White House.
Ben Carson — “Scalpel”
An aluminum medical tool used for precise, surgical incisions. Not a drink? No. Does it still deserve to be on this list? Let the voters decide.
Chris Christie — “Laird’s Applejack”
Pour into glass, over ice if you wish. Governor Chris Christie is so New Jersey that only the signature drink of the state could suit him. In colonial times, road construction crews were paid with casks of the stuff. The roads (and bridges) in New Jersey have come a long way since then. Will Christie be able to take Jersey to DC? Maybe, but as we say in Newark, it depends on the traffic.
Ted Cruz — “Foolproof Fall”
Pour a shot of Fireball Whiskey into a glass of Angry Orchard hard cider and rim the glass with sugar. Senator Cruz has had an interesting and distinguished career in his mere 42 years. Once a Supreme Court clerk and now a fiery senator from Texas, Cruz became a legend on the Hill for his fire-and-brimstone rhetorical style. Mixing Fireball, hard cider and a title that would make any candidate want to order it, the Foolproof Fall is an easy pick. With a good burn and the perfect balance of sweet and tart, Cruz and a Foolproof Fall go nicely together. Will Cruz have a foolproof fall? We’ll see soon enough.
Carly Fiorina — “Don Julio Kaffir Margarita”
Hollow out and freeze a Kaffir lime then pour lime and mint infused tequila inside and pair with another hollowed-out lime filled with chemically produced salt snow. After drinking, throw both lime rinds off the bow of your Phillipe Starck designed super-yacht and repeat. Former CEO Carly Fiorina conquered the private sector in the 1990’s and in 2010 sought to unseat Senator Barbara Boxer in a Silicon Valley-style hostile takeover. But the Cali senator prevailed, leaving the hyper-achieving CEO the opportunity to fail up in 2015. The Kaffir Margarita is a technological wonder, not unlike Fiorina’s career or the companies she headed, but despite being a complex concoction, it’s a margarita and thus still very popular.
Jim Gilmore — “Jägerbomb”
One shot of Jägermeister dropped into a glass of any beer, but in this case, let’s make it Sam Adams. The good governor was not just Virginia’s attorney general, an NRA board member and chairman of the RNC; he was also an Army counter-intelligence officer in West Germany in the 1970’s and speaks fluent German. I’d drink to that.
Lindsey Graham — “Old Fashioned”
Sugar cube, soda, bitters and any whiskey, but for such a connoisseur, let’s make it Lewis Redmond Carolina whiskey. Why? Some kids steal liquor from their parents’ cabinets, but Senator Graham’s parents owned a liquor store. History hasn’t unveiled whether or not he had carte blanche or if he was prevented from skimming the merchandise. But what we do know is this foreign policy hawk never flew too far from his home state. A classic drink for a long-serving (and possibly over-served) senator seems just right, even if it doesn’t explain what really happened in Benghazi.
Mike Huckabee — “Black Sunday”
Pour Wild Turkey Bourbon and Everclear into a cocktail glass and baptize them both in IBC Black Cherry cola. Mike Huckabee has some potent views, as showcased in 2008 and every year since through his various appearances on TV and at conservative rallies. His taste might not be for everybody, but those who believe in him are drunk in love. Only by mixing 190 proof neutral grain alcohol with 101 proof Bourbon could you equal the strength of this man’s convictions.
Bobby Jindal — “Sazerac”
Bitters, whiskey, absinthe, a sugar cube and a lemon peel garnish. Jindal, Governor of Louisiana, has been relegated to the undercard debates and shows no signs of moving up the ladder. It seems that both Jindal and the Sazerac (Louisiana’s State Cocktail) are popular, famous and beloved in Louisiana, but largely unknown everywhere else.
John Kasich — “Ohio Trail”
Mix bourbon, amaretto, black walnut bitters and a teaspoon of strawberry jam. Kasich, billing himself as the non-angry conservative, has been around the block in the Buckeye state after eighteen years as a Congressman and two terms as Governor. The Ohio Trail proudly displays the Ohio State University color (scarlet) as well as taking on a slight but not profound nutty flavor. Kasich and the Ohio Trail have much state pride, a fact that might carry him to the convention on either side of the ticket due to Ohio’s strategic importance.
George Pataki — “Captain Lawrence Brown Bird Ale”
One could say that Governor Pataki was brewed, barreled and bottled right here in New York State. The straight-talking, centrist Republican made his bones in the Empire State and has proven after three terms in Albany that he doesn’t need to be fancy to be a hit. He got his start as governor the same year as Captain Lawrence brewery was starting up near his hometown. Together, the craft-brewery and the boutique candidate have been quietly pleasing small groups of patrons. He’s the candidate you could have a beer with, though it probably won’t be in a bar in Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina.
Rand Paul — “Woodford Reserve Straight Malt Whiskey”
Pay hundreds of dollars, pour into glass. Paul’s career as a kind of political Scrappy Doo began on the eve of the Tea Party movement of 2010. Originally, we was a practicing ophthalmologist but, in his eyes, after seeing the country ruined by Obama and company, he took a stand and started saying some stuff. After winning election in 2010 after reciting the gospel of “Constitutional Conservatism”, he put the White House in his sights. What makes him a great match with the Woodford Reserve is that they are both from Kentucky and expensive to buy.
Marco Rubio — “Cuba Libre”
Mix light or dark rum and Coca-Cola, then squeeze a lime in it. Rubio often inspires Republican primary voters with tales of growing up American in a Cuban dissident family. What better way to describe a man so culturally divided than mixing the signature drink of two nations, calling it freedom and selling it en masse? Rubio knows exactly what side he’s on, but isn’t shy about his roots. But if we were a tall glasses of fun like him, why wouldn’t we be?
Rick Santorum — “Chianti”
To some, Chianti is just another red wine noted for its high acidity. To other, it’s literally the blood of Christ. Whichever camp you’re in pretty much determines how you feel about him. But no matter how you vote, the cork’s not going back in any time soon, so we might as well pour a glass or two.
Donald Trump — “Anything”
Find anything. Anything. Vodka? Sure. Rum? Throw it in. Wine, beer, tequila, battery acid? Great, the more the merrier. When Trump talks, people listen, even and sometimes especially when he’s saying nothing at all. So in fact, it doesn’t matter what drink to pair him with. The real question is: how drunk is he right now?
Jill Stein – “Green Bee”
Organic Wheat Vodka, Agave nectar, organic mint leaves and a lemon zest garnish. Everything that a sensible, sustainable candidate should embody. Will you ever have one in your life? Probably not, but it’s nice to dream.