The Martini ... a favourite of Winston Churchill, with or without the Vermouth.
Alcohol has had a long and association with politics. From the alcohol industry's infancy to the current day, excise tax is an important source of revenue for governments globally. Policies on alcohol taxation and restriction have made parties rise and others fall, victories have been toasted with barrels of rum punch and voters bought with potent potables.
The earliest definition of the word 'cocktail' from a Boston newspaper in 1806 notes that the cocktail “is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion inasmuch as it renders the heart stout and bold, at the same time that it fuddles the head. It is said also, to be of great use to a democratic candidate: because, a person having swallowed a glass of it, is ready to swallow anything else.”
As much as I'd like to see it, I fear that even the powers of a potent potable whipped up by K-Rudd himself couldn't possibly be strong enough 'fuddle' the heads of voters sufficiently to give his party a shot at the polls. In saying that I can't help but wonder what sort of drink our Prime Minister might choose were he to give it a crack. That's why I've complied a selection of history's most famous political potions – if they don't help Labour's campaign they might well help you soldier through the political mire of the next two weeks.
Barbados Rum Punch
In 1789, having just given the British a spanking during the Revolutionary War, George Washington called for a barrel of Barbados rum with which to concoct a massive batch of rum punch to toast his inauguration.
Now the punch Washington would have been drinking is a far cry from the sort of stuff you might see mixed up in a washing tub an Aussie student shindig – though it would have been at least as potent. I'll admit to not having the original recipe – but here's a single serve mix worthy of a crack.
60ml aged Barbados rum (Mt Gay from Barbados is available domestically)
20ml lemon juice
20ml fresh blood orange juice
2 rounded teaspoons castor sugar
3 dashes of Angostura bitters
Ginger ale to top
Method: Build in a highball glass. Stir well to dissolve sugar. Fill the glass with ice and top with a splash of dry ginger ale. Garnish with a slice of blood orange and a little fresh grated nutmeg.
Legend has it that the Ward Eight cocktail was invented in 1898 in Boston for the Democratic political pundit Martin M. Lomasney. Lomasney hoped to capture a seat in the state's legislature - the General Court of Massachusetts.
Lomasney, a man who had held considerable power in the city for nearly 50 years, was successful and this drink was supposedly created to honour his election – named after the city's Ward 8 which historically delivered him a winning margin. It remains the most famous cocktail to have been invented in the city.
60ml straight rye whiskey (Jim Beam or Bulleit Rye are both readily available)
15ml lemon juice
15ml fresh orange juice
Method: Add all ingredients into a mixing glass. Shake briskly and double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of orange zest.
The Churchill and the FDR Martini
The martini you would expect to be a drink belonging more to the right – and certainly in the case Winston Churchill and the martini of his name sake this rings true. Churchill enjoyed his martinis without even a drop of vermouth in them making the beverage nothing more than a glass of cold gin with an olive floating in it. Some sources say that he would bow in the direction of France – the home of Noilly Prat vermouth – or just whisper the word 'vermouth' to his martinis.
For Franklin D. Roosevelt, a democrat, his major campaign policy was the abolition of the 18th Amendment or Prohibition. After successfully gaining power and restoring the American's right to drink he famously whipped himself up a martini.
60ml London dry gin
10ml dry vermouth
1 teaspoon olive brine
Method: Build in a chilled mixing glass or shaker. Add ice, stir and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with two skewered un-pitted green olives.
What sort or cocktail do you think our incumbent PM might whip up?