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What should you drink on election night?

Sometimes it feels like 2020 has been building up to this moment. The pinnacle of political stress and existential anxiety: the US elections. Even if you are not an American, or living in the US, the election is likely to dominate the news cycle. And whether you are trying to follow it closely, or forget all about it, you might need a drink. But which one? In peak electoral analysis I have opted to drink wine during the election night coverage, and here is why.

Who are the candidates (i.e. what do you have in your cupboard or fridge)

While we can all imagine picking out the perfect cocktail for our election night, our options at the poll (or the pour), are not always ideal. Instead we have to make do with what we have on hand. Realism over idealism is the name of the electoral game.

Let’s consider the options most of us have readily available: a pack of beer, a half-empty liquor cabinet, and an unopened bottle of wine or two. If you are going shopping in preparation: stop, stay home, and don’t catch COVID-19. Or at least imagine these as your basic choices. If you already have a comprehensive drink list ready for every eventuality, then this article is not for you!

Let’s take a closer look at the election beverage candidates options for election night

Each of our basic choices offers an interesting approach—lets study the profiles of these drinks before picking one for the election. After all, we don’t want to be voting blind.

Beer – whether it is a dark ale or light IPA, almost everyone has access to a few. And while favorites differ, the brews give a (hopefully) chilled, full flavor that quickly fills up your stomach, but still leaves you wanting more.

Wine – Perhaps given as a gift, or the last of the crate you’ve been saving, everyone has a bottle somewhere. If you are like me, it might be half-open in the fridge! Whether it is a memento of your travel or gift from a friend, the red or white fruit of the vine offers a lingering flavor that you can sip for hours.

Hard Liquor – scotch, vodka, or maybe something more exotic, there are usually a few options hanging about. Each one is different in flavor but offers the same promise: a punchy alternative to dull the senses and help you get far away from the chaotic news cycles.

Unlike in the election, where most voters have already decided who they are voting for (or have already voted), you might still be wondering what to pair your night with: beer, wine or liquor.

A belly full of empty promises with a pack of beer?

Beer would normally be a good candidate. Light and cheerful, it is good for raising spirits and livening up the party. It can give a game-day festivity to the horse-race of the election, and it is a cheap, convenient, and easy drink to share when hosting a viewing party with friends, family or neighbours.

Unfortunately, this is not a normal year. You will likely be watching the election alone, or perhaps with a few family members—COVID has us all on social isolation duty. It will also be a riveting one, with state results coming in every half-hour and many states too close to call before full counting of mail-in-ballots. Not a night when you want to get up to go to the bathroom too often. Finally beer has a tendency to give us energy, but this election night what we will need is calm. Tempers are already rising enough as it is without a frothy brew adding to the mix.

Whitling the election night hours away with a white or red wine?

Wine is beer’s polar opposite, and choosing between red or white wine provides a mundane binary choice to mirror the night’s impactful electoral one. It offers a chance for nuance. It offers something to talk about besides the election results, and it is naturally drunk slowly. By the time the last electoral college votes are assigned, you might have enough left for a toast or a conciliatory final glass.

Wine can also be picked to suit the mood. A hearty Napa Valley Cabernet-Sauvignon might be a melancholy choice for the pessimists, while a breezy white Chardonnay could add a touch of dry humor for perspective. And in this year, heavens know we each need something different. It is flexible, can be adapted to your taste, and most importantly it will chill you out not rile you up.

Sadly you might not have the perfect bottle to fit your mood if you haven’t been using Palate Club, so you might just have to settle for what you have around the house. A reasonable choice then, but is it enough to get you through the night?

Drinking liquor will take you to places you don’t want to go on election night

Hard liquor is a tempting choice. Anesthetize yourself for the evening, and wake up on Wednesday to find out who won. Quick, efficient and powerful it offers a strong chance of taking your mind off the election for a little while. While the former candidates can give you an election night buzz, this one will get you drunk if you let it, but you shouldn’t, especially this year.

Though tempting, it’s probably best to steer clear of heavy drinking on election night. There are high chances that, even if it helps you sleep, you’ll be waking up to uncertain results, and one headache is enough without adding a hangover. While dulling some senses sounds promising, locking them all down might mean missing out on big news. But even if all of this sounds like it would be worth it for the chance to skip out on the most stressful night of the year…just remember that Wednesday we all have to be back at work regardless of who wins.

Wine may not be perfect, but it’s what I will be drinking on election night

Election can’t come soon enough, and yet it seems like years away. So many things are outside our control, it feels right to sit down and make a decision on some we can control. Election night is likely to be stressful enough, and my personal choice of drink to help me through the evening is wine. So I recommend eyeing up that bottle you’ve saved, or had lying around, and uncorking it tonight, who knows, the results may surprise you.

If you happen not to enjoy the bottle you had however, don’t blame it on the results, or me. It’s probably because it wasn’t well suited to your palate. Just like politicians, until it is too late (they are in office, or the bottle has been uncorked) it is impossible to know for sure whether they will be to your liking. Luckily with wine, there are tools to help you master your palate, and services which will deliver wine well suited to your taste.

So whether you need a case of Merlot to drown your sorrows, or a fine crate of Champagne to celebrate, the wine world has what you need before, during and most importantly after the election.