It’s barely been a day since we learned that California Senator Kamala Harris will be the Democratic candidate for Vice President in the national election on November 3rd. But the bartending world has already crafted the historic nominee her own set of cocktails. With bars still shuttered in many parts of the country, including Harris’ home state, mixologists have been quick to share such recipes online, allowing politically-minded tipplers to toast the news if they so choose. Here are a couple of standouts that can easily be re-created at home.
This one comes to us by way of Janice Bailon and Simone Mims, a pair of drinks-industry professionals based out of the San Francisco Bay Area. Bailon has bartended at Bourbon and Branch and is currently working at Cask in the city’s North Beach neighborhood. Mims sits on the Board of Directors for the Northern California chapter of the United States Bartender's Guild and is currently beverage manager at Port Kitchens Marketplace and Bar in Oakland.
As women of color they felt personally inspired by this week’s announcement; Kamala Harris, a Bay Area native, is now the first Black woman—and the first person of Indian descent—to be nominated for national office by one of the two major parties. She’s only the fourth woman in US history to appear on the presidential ticket as either a Democrat or Republican.
They designed a drink built around bourbon. “We wanted to use a spirit well-rounded with experience,” Mims explains of the decision. “Something that had heritage and pride which we found in the family behind Wild Turkey. Approachable and respectful of tradition, but open to change and willing to innovate.”
They also knew they needed to give it a local spin, and for that they turned to one of Northern California’s most esteemed craft producers. “We tapped St. George liqueurs based in Alameda for some Bay Area pride,” says Bailon. “This cocktail serves as an old fashion with a new twist. Bittersweet with the past and moving towards a steadied, balanced future.”
- 2 oz Russell's Reserve Bourbon
- ½ oz St. George Spiced Pear
- ¼ oz St. George Coffee Liqueur
- Pinch of brown sugar to your preferred sweetness
- Combine all ingredients.
- Stir in glass without ice until sugar is dissolved.
- Add Ice and gently stir.
- Pour into a chocolate salt* rimmed glass with ice.
For the chocolate salt: combine equal parts chocolate powder or grated chocolate shavings and salt.
The Kamala Harris
Here’s a viable alternative for those preferring something a little bit lighter in alcohol. Estelle Bossy just conceived this sweet-sipping summertime sparkler as an eponymous homage to Harris. Based in New York, Bossy has run bar programs for Michelin-starred restaurants and was most recently the beverage director for Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group. The arrangement also involves a touch more work, as you’ll have to make your own lemon cordial. But she feels as though the juice is worth the squeeze.
- 1 oz Pomp & Whimsy Gin Liqueur
- ½ oz Dry Vermouth
- ¾ oz Lemon Cordial*
- 5 Cucumber coins
- 3 oz Champagne or sparkling wine
- Combine Pomp & Whimsy, vermouth, lemon cordial and two cucumber coins in a cocktail shaker.
- Fill with ice and shake vigorously.
- Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
- Top with champagne.
- Garnish with remaining cucumber coins, and a large lump of ice.
*Lemon Cordial (makes enough for 4 cocktails)
- Peel from 2 lemons
- 60g (1/4 c) Superfine or white sugar
- 60ml (2 oz) Freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 12 saffron threads
- Generous pinch of sea salt
- Remove the zest from both lemons using a Y-peeler or vegetable peeler.
- Place the lemon peel in your smallest saucepan and add the sugar, making sure to thoroughly coat each piece of peel.
- Let the mixture sit covered, at room temperature, for a minimum of 2 hours, allowing the sugar to draw the essential oils from the peel.
- Add the lemon juice, saffron and sea salt to the saucepan.
- Stir over low heat until sugar has just dissolved.
- Let cool 20 minutes, strain and refrigerate.