Cocktail of the Week: Yes,We Canton!

This year’s inaugural season will be one of the quietest in years. The Obama-Biden inaugural committee has announced that it is cutting back on the number of inaugural balls. There will be just two official parties plus a concert honoring military families. The cutback on festivities is meant to reduce government spending and the amount of security and law-enforcement personnel needed. This will be the lowest number of balls in the past 60 years.

If you aren’t one of the lucky elite that will be spending the evening of Jan. 21, dancing and toasting with the first family, there will be dozens of unofficial balls and parties and no shortage of restaurants and nightclubs looking to cash in on the influx of celebratory visitors.

Several D.C. hot spots have led the way with inauguration-themed drinks. Just steps from the White House, the Hamilton is offering two potables to honor our nation’s 44th President. The “Perfect 44,” a variation on a classic Manhattan, features FEW Bourbon from Chicago. If you’re Donald Trump, you may want to order the Executive Punch, made with rum from Obama’s birthplace of Hawaii, along with a slice of humble pie.

Penn Quarter’s Brasserie Beck is serving an Obama-tini cocktail with a Democratic blue hue. This festive drink is forged from Ketel One vodka, Hypnotiq liqueur, and a float of blue Curacao. Nearby at D.C. Coast, the drink-du-jour is the Sparkling Second Term made with Averell damson plum gin, Leopold Brothers New York apple whiskey, lemon bitters and a splash of bubbly cava wine. This refined sparkler is served in a cinnamon-and-sugar-rimmed Champagne flute.

If these cocktails sound a bit too stuffy for you, swing by Hill Country Barbecue where they will be offering $1 POTUS-pop Jell-O shots all day Jan. 21.

Many folks, going with the subdued nature of this year’s festivities, will choose to host soirees in their homes. In additional to the décor and menu, one of the most important elements of any Obama-themed fiesta will be the choice of cocktails. Toasting the Commander-In-Chief with a sparkling wine or Champagne is a given, but a signature tipple is a special added touch that will make your party memorable.

One of the most obvious choices to serve is the classic El Presidente cocktail. While technically a Cuban creation, this full-flavored rum cocktail includes Curacao, vermouth and grenadine. Another clever choice is the retro Blue Hawaii tiki drink. This concoction made with blue Curacao, pineapple juice, sour mix and either rum or vodka, pays both homage to the Democrats with its color and Obama’s Hawaiian roots.

My choice for a private party would be the “Yes, We Canton,” an opulent sparkling sipper created for Obama’s first inauguration by D.C. celebrity mixtress Gina Chersevani. It was the star cocktail at the Peace Ball in 2009. I was first introduced to this dignified drink at a presidential drink seminar, sponsored by the Museum of the American Cocktail. The stellar ingredient in this cocktail is Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur. Forged from baby Vietnamese ginger, Cognac. Tahitian vanilla, Provencal honey, and Tunisian ginseng, Domain de Canton adds an exotic and a dash of winter warmth and spice to this mixture of pineapple juice and sparkling wine. Elegant and easy, this recipe can be multiplied and served as a punch, freeing up time for the busy host or hostess.

No matter what your plans may be for the inauguration or political affiliation, on Jan. 21 let’s all raise a glass to what we hope will be four years of peace and prosperity.

Yes, We Canton!
½ oz pineapple juice
½ oz Domaine de Canton
2-3 oz. brut sparkling wine or Champagne.
Serve in flute. Can also be made as a punch.

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