Welcome to Buy You a Drink, where GOOD's resident mixologist offers a free libation to one thirsty newsmaker each week. This week: allegedly grope-y Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain.
Apparently Herman Cain is still running for president. I tried ignoring him until he went away, like a high school crush or post-viral pityriasis, but it didn’t work. Developments that have so far failed to oust Herman Cain from the race: His own ignorance of basic foreign policy facts; his baffling and contradictory statements on abortion; a deluge of sexual harassment allegations stemming from his time as head of the National Restaurant Association. Are there confused Republicans out there who support Cain purely because they heard that he was once “president of the NRA”?
But now it's November, that rainy month when we remember what Axl Rose taught us
: Nothing lasts forever. The new month brought with it Sharon Bialek, who faced the media to detail just what Cain expects
in exchange for a “palatial suite” upgrade at the Capitol Hilton. Bialek's testimony is just the latest indication
that the Cain campaign may be well past its Appetite for Destruction
phase and careening rapidly toward Chinese Democracy
. Disclaimer: The candidate would prefer that you not ask him any questions about China, or about democracy.
I think it’s time to buy Herman Cain a drink.
The Call: "The 9-9-9 Cocktail"
Only a drink based on a catchphrase will suffice for a candidate so vaguely unsettling and unsettlingly vague that he appeals primarily to voters otherwise inclined toward the negative space on the ballot. Named after Mr. Cain’s much-trumpeted 9-9-9 Plan to revolutionize American taxation, the "9-9-9 Cocktail" is sweet and bubbly enough for those moments when you’re feeling like a frontrunner, yet boozy and bitter enough to fortify you for the letdown that surely lies ahead.
Like Cain, my 9-9-9 Cocktail hails from a border state. He was born in Memphis; I began with a recipe for the venerable Seelbach Cocktail, which hails from Louisville, Kentucky. The Seelbach was created at a hotel of the same name in 1917 and served there until Prohibition, whereupon it disappeared for roughly 75 years. Thankfully, the Seelbach has made it back into the canon, where it is stands alone in its call for massive amounts of aromatic bitters, just as Cain stands alone in his call for a national tax on consumption. These novel positions may be the best thing about both the cocktail and the candidate.
For the 9-9-9, I began with nine dashes each of Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters, to represent the 9 percent sales and business transactions tax that conservatives find the most bitter in Cain’s plan. Then, I flattened nine raspberries, for that flat 9 percent income tax that sweetens the deal for supply-siders. I combined the bitters and the flattened berries with the Cointreau and bourbon from the original recipe, but I upgraded to barrel-strength bourbon, lest the whiskey flavor get lost among all those nines. You may wish to warn your guests that you expect no particular quid pro quo for breaking out the more palatial bourbon—particularly if you tend bar at the Capitol Hilton.
The 9-9-9 Cocktail
1 oz. barrel-strength bourbon (I used Four Roses OBSQ Recipe, 110.2 proof)
½ oz. Cointreau
9 dashes Angostura bitters
9 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
4.5 oz. patriotic American sparkling wine
Muddle raspberries in a cocktail shaker. Add bourbon, bitters, and Cointreau, with a few pieces of cracked ice. Stir. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a Champagne flute. Slowly top with sparkling wine.
The successful 9-9-9 Cocktail is a luminous red with a slight cloud of foam on its crown. Think of it as an alcoholic mnemonic for drinkers who have a hard time remembering which red-flagged nations have mushroom-cloud-producing weapons.
Road-testing the 9-9-9, I found it elegant and fruity, yet stiff enough to bolster my courage for a date with the GOP frontrunner’s recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
I needed that extra-strong whiskey as I watched Cain discuss his readiness to weather the rest of November—“I will talk about any and all future firestorms!”—and leer over the host’s pizza preferences—“Maybe you need to think thicker and bigger.” By the end of the interview, I was convinced someone had already slipped Herman Cain a few 9-9-9s.
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* Offer of free cocktail only applicable to Herman Cain.