Strengthening Democracy 2020: Your essential cocktail list

We're hosting virtual happy hour May 14 for our online Strengthening Democracy 2020 celebration. Here are six (OK, five) cocktails from which to choose, concocted by resident mixologist Westin Miller.

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On May 14, Civic Nebraska hosts a virtual celebration, Strengthening Democracy 2020. In “normal” years, our annual gathering honors Nebraskans who build and strengthen our civil society; this year, with COVID-19 forcing events online, we’ll be conducting a live, interactive Q&A. Our special guest is Amber McReynolds, CEO of the National Vote at Home Institute and Coalition, who will discuss the Nebraska Primary and vote-by-mail’s impact on it. Strengthening Democracy 2020 is free and open to the public; RSVP to be entered into a drawing to win exclusive Civic Nebraska swag
For some, Strengthening Democracy events 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 resident mixologist, offers these voting-themed cocktails for you to whip up at home for the event you so choose. Enjoy – and we’ll see you at 5 pm May 14
Printable drink recipes here


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.

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 redux: Bonus Q&A

Our May 14 interactive live stream with Amber McReynolds was such a hit that we ran out of time to answer all of your questions. We’re addressing that today with this wrap-up Q&A.

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