Election-Themed Specials at Washington Restaurants and Bars

Exercise your right to consume special cocktails, cookies, and everything in between.

BGR the Burger Joint keeps it bipartisan with burgers in homage to both candidates. Photograph by Scott Suchman

It’s election season, you may have noticed, and the big day is now less than two months away. This being Washington, local restaurants and bars are using the occasion to introduce food and beverage specials and competitions. Here’s a whole mess of them.

Acadiana, Ceiba, PassionFish, and all of Passion Food Hospitality’s other joints around town will offer one specialty cocktail for each candidate this fall. In President Obama’s honor: the South Side, which combines gin, simple syrup, lime juice, soda, mint, and lime slices. For Governor Romney, there’s a Mitt Julep (see what they did there?). They’re available all day beginning October 1 for $10 each.

Meanwhile, at Burger Tap & Shake, the Passion Food folks offer two specialty milkshakes in honor of each candidate’s birthplace. For Obama, try the Blue Hawaiian, with house-made vanilla ice cream, pineapple, toasted coconut, and blueberries for color. For Romney there’s the Michigan Cherry, made with house-made vanilla ice cream and black cherries. Both are $5 and will be available starting October 1, sticking around through the election.

BLT Steak’s presidential burger ballot runs at lunchtime through October 2. Support the Obama ticket by choosing the Obama (a Kobe burger with roasted pineapple and speck for $28) or the Biden (a certified Angus beef burger, sloppy Joe, and American cheese for $23); support the Romney ticket by choosing the Romney (CAB burger, Utah-style pastrami stack, Swiss cheese, and “fry sauce” for $23) or the Ryan (CAB burger, Wisconsin cheddar, bacon, grilled apple, and beer-battered onion rings for $26). The total number of orders for each will be tallied and announced at the end of the contest.

Another burger chain getting into the election game: BGR the Burger Joint. Available beginning today are two BGR sandwiches that pay homage to the candidates. The Obama burger is topped with a Chicago “Vienna Beef” hot dog, peppers, and that city’s signature neon green relish. Mitt’s ’wich comes with lobster and hollandaise sauce. One dollar of each burger sold will go to Share Our Strength.

California Tortilla couldn’t leave on-the-go diners without choices, so it’s been selling bowls for both candidates since August. For Obama supporters, there’s the Chicken Teriyaki Luau Bowl, made with Mexican rice, grilled chicken, teriyaki sauce, stir-fried vegetables, and grilled pineapple spears. Romney fans can try the Mexican Mitt-Loaf Bowl, made with grilled Mexican meatloaf, mashed potatoes, sautéed vegetables, corn, and salsa. Both are available for $7.29 plus tax.

October 2 marks the debut of the Daily Grill’s election beer poll. When a customer orders a Chicago-made Goose Island beer, it counts as a vote for Obama. The order of a Sam Adams constitutes a vote for Romney. Drinkers receive a free sticker with their brew, and both beers are discounted to $5 through November 6.

Good Stuff Eatery has already kicked off the Great Burger Debate, focusing on a bipartisan pundit couple in place of candidates. Mary Matalin comes topped with grilled, organic portobellos, sharp goat cheese, tomato, red onions, arugula and a dollop of sassy peppadew pepper mayo. A burger named for her lefty husband, James Carville, comes topped with a roasted Creole onion slice, southern fried pickles, cheddar cheese and, of course, Ragin’ Cajun chipotle and chili barbecue sauce. Of the match, chef Spike Mendelsohn says, “Our Obama-McCain contest in 2008 caused such an uproar that we had to bring back the competition and see who wins this election—the Democrats or the Republicans.” As at BLT, Good Stuff will be tracking the number of orders for each and posting results around election time.

The Jefferson Hotel will serve up a specialty drink on each debate night next month—October 3, 11, 16, and 22. The Presidential, a mix of Jefferson bourbon, applejack brandy, lemon juice, and Whiskey Barrel bitters, comes with a dash of cinnamon and an apple chip and costs $15.

Lincoln began a cocktail voter poll on September 11, asking customers to choose between two drinks: the Elephant, made with rhubarb-infused white whiskey, strawberry liqueur, fresh lemons, and bitters; and the Donkey, made with blueberry-infused gin, Earl Grey and mint syrup, fresh lemon, and bitters. Both are available for $11, and the total number of each drink ordered will be kept on the restaurant’s blackboard, updated regularly through election day.

After eating lunch or dinner at Occidental Grill & Seafood, all guest receive two cookies and a ballot. Vote for the Michelle Obama cookie, featuring white, dark, and mint chocolate chips, or Ann Romney’s M&M cookie with peanut butter and chocolate pieces. Results can be followed on the Occidental’s Facebook and Twitter pages. The contest runs through election day.

The Park Hyatt’s lounge is offering four political cheeses each night from 5:30 to 10:30—two blue and two red-and is keeping tabs on which gets more orders. On the blue team, try Ewe’s Blue (a sheep’s milk cheese from Old Chatham Sheepherding Company in New York) or Barick Obama (a pasteurized cow’s milk cheese from Lazy Lady Farm in Vermont). For the red team, there’s Red Hawk (a cow’s milk cheese from Cowgirl Creamery in California) and Lincoln Log (a pasteurized goat’s milk cheese from Zingerman’s Creamery in Michigan). Stop by before November 6 to try the cheeses, all priced at $6 per ounce.

At 701 you’ll find a three-course “bipartisan lunch” for $25 between September 24 and January 21. Options will include porcini-and-red-wine risotto, chestnut-and-butternut-squash ravioli, house-smoked trout with shaved beets, and flourless chocolate truffle cake.

Sprinkles is asking senators and members of Congress to send cupcakes across the aisle with its Pay It Forward cupcake challenge. A Republican can send a dozen cupcakes to a Democrat, or vice versa, for free between now and election day. The challenge, which started September 20, received dozens of orders in its first day alone, according to a staffer we spoke with at Sprinkles.

Through Election Day, the 1331 Bar & Lounge is offering specials every Tuesday from 5 to 11 PM. Snacks include “left wings” (Hawaiian-glazed chicken wings with fresh pineapple spears), “right wings” (honey-glazed chicken wings with a mini pot of Boston-style baked beans), Boston cod sliders with iceberg lettuce and tartar sauce, and Hawaiian-peppered ahi tuna with ginger-soy dressing. To wash them down, try one of four specialty cocktails: the Mint Romney—Chambord, Frangelico, cream, and mint; the Barockin’ Mai Tai, with Bacardi O, pineapple juice, lemon juice, lime soda, and a blue curaçao drizzle; the Patriotic One, Two Punch, made with Basil Hayden’s bourbon, brandy, elderflower liqueur, and lemon juice; or the Campaign Champagne Cocktail, also with elderflower liqueur. Everything is priced at $11.06, though the Champagne cocktail will be discounted to $8 on debate nights.