Strengthening Democracy 2021: Your essential cocktail list

Host your own virtual happy hour on April 29 during our online Strengthening Democracy 2021 celebration. Here are six (OK, five) cocktails from which to choose, concocted by resident mixologist Westin Miller.

On April 29, Civic Nebraska hosts a virtual celebration, Strengthening Democracy 2021. Our special guest is Eric Liu, the co-founder of Citizen University, an acclaimed author, and a national thought leader on building powerful, active citizens. Strengthening Democracy 2021 is free and open to the public – RSVP to be entered into a drawing to win exclusive Civic Nebraska swag
If we were meeting in person, we’d start with mixed drinks and appetizers before the main event. Because we can’t offer a full bar this year, we’ve brought the ingredients to you. Westin Miller, Civic Nebraska’s director of public policy and resident mixologist, offers these voting-themed cocktails for you to whip up at home for the event if you so choose. 
Enjoy – and we’ll see you at 5 pm April 29


Not original, just an easy variation of a Tito’s recipe. A refreshing drink with the right letters (Vote By Mail … get it?) to make it a good pun. 
1 ½ oz vodka
1 ½ oz soda water
¾ oz lime juice
2 tsp sugar
6-10 mint leaves
5 blackberries
Gently muddle mint leaves and blackberries in a shaker. Add vodka, sugar, lime juice, and several ice cubes. Shake well and pour (including ice) into rocks or highball glass. Top with soda water. Garnish with mint and lime slice. 

The Paper Ballot

Westin’s variation on an Old Fashioned. The smart choice. Bipartisan support, impossible to hack. 
2 oz bourbon
¼ oz Fernet Branca
½ oz simple syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 dash orange bitters
Orange twist 
In a rocks glass, add bourbon and simple syrup. Stir gently. Add both bitters and Fernet. Fill with ice. Garnish with orange peel. Watch Westin’s how-to video here

My Polling Place is a Church

A slight variation of a Presbyterian. A classic, but not for everyone. 
2 oz scotch
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Ginger Ale
Pinch of salt 
Fill a highball glass with ice cubes. Pour in scotch and bitters. Top with ginger ale. Add a pinch of salt.

The Colorado Model

A sweeter version of the Gold Rush. Colorado’s voting system is the gold standard in Vote By Mail election administration. Thanks for paving the way. 
2 oz bourbon
1 oz ginger liquor
¾ oz lemon juice
¾ oz honey syrup
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass/shaker, add ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a coup glass and garnish with lemon, luxardo cherry, or both. 

Voting in a Pandemic

Chaotic and a little intimidating, someday you’ll look back and say “Wow, I’m glad I did that.” Created by Alex Worth. 
3 oz black tea
2 oz silver tequila
1 oz rosemary syrup
½ oz lime juice
Fresh rosemary 
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass/shaker, add ice, and shake until chilled. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass and garnish with fresh rosemary.

The Voter ID Law

Origins unclear, but widely attributed to ALEC bartenders Karl Rove and Kris Kobach.
Using your own breath, fill a red solo cup with hot air. Place at least one $20 bill into cup. Using a lighter or match, light the money on fire. Drive to the DMV and await further instructions.

Related Articles

Strengthening Democracy Awards: What a night!

On June 27, nearly 300 friends and supporters of Civic Nebraska gathered at the Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts for the 2024 Strengthening Democracy Awards. Here’s full video of the event.

Strengthening Democracy: Brad Christian-Sallis

The 2024 Defender of Democracy has led initiative campaigns across the state and nation that advocate for voting rights, racial justice, and many other causes that ensure a more just and equitable society.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


After School Programs

  • Sherman Elementary School

    5618 N 14th Ave.
    Omaha, NE 68110

  • Lewis and Clark Middle School

    6901 Burt St.
    Omaha, NE 68132

  • Lothrop Magnet Elementary

    3300 N. 22nd St.
    Omaha, NE 68110

  • Campbell Elementary School

    2200 Dodge St.
    Lincoln, NE 68521

  • Lincoln High School

    2229 J St.
    Lincoln, NE 68510

  • Lincoln Northeast High School

    2635 N. 63rd St.
    Lincoln, NE 68507