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Vote for POTUS with Sips at Lotus

The downtown lounge Lotus has a way to show your support for 2008 presidential candidates right through happy hour.

A Lotus bartender prepares a milky drink named after presidential candidate Chris Dodd.

You might be eligible to vote at 18, but at Lotus Lounge this fall you’ll have to be 21.

Looking for a fun way to involve itself in the upcoming presidential election, Lotus Lounge (1420 K St., NW; 202-289-4222; www.lotusloungedc.com) has unveiled a “Pick the POTUS at Lotus” drink menu. The idea is for customers to order drinks named after their favorite Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.

The lounge will keep a tally of all the “votes cast”—that is, drinks ordered—for each candidate. Winners will be announced before the Iowa caucus in early January. The Lounge says it plans to keep the competition going with the actual Republican and Democratic candidates’ drinks through Election Day in November 2008.

Each of the 17 drinks on the menu alludes to the personality or background of the candidate it’s named for.

For example, Rudy Giuliani’s apple martini refers to the former mayor’s tenure in the Big Apple, even though Hizzonner would likely be met with a Bronx cheer if he ever sipped such a drink. Senator Hillary Clinton’s “Hillartini” is actually a cosmopolitan—a drink that’s pink and feminine, yet strong and bold, the Lounge explains. Barack Obama’s “Obama-rama” includes Malibu rum and tropical fruit mixers, relating to the senator’s Hawaiian roots, while Fred Thompson is connected to Jack Daniels, a whiskey distilled in his home state of Tennessee.

The most creative mixture is the brandy-based “Milk Dodd”—a milky white drink that alludes to Senator Chris Dodd’s full head of white hair. Each drink costs $7, with the exception of the non-alcoholic “Romney” tailor-made for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, a Mormon who doesn’t consume alcohol.

Not affiliated with a major party? Don’t worry. Votes are only tallied from 5:30 PM —when happy hour begins—until around 10 PM, coinciding with the Asian-inspired restaurant’s transformation into a late-night hotspot.

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