- The Washington Times - Monday, September 26, 2016

The first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is a TV ratings bonanza, expected to draw 100 million viewers. It is also an ideal theme for inventive bars and restaurants, which treat the candidate’s bout like a major sports event, with potential for big crowds and healthy revenue.

Hundreds of eateries and watering holes around the nation are offering debate watch parties, complete with big screen TVs, Wi-Fi access and debate bingo. Clinton- and Trump-themed burgers are a favorite. Entertainment is not overlooked, with standup comedians and even local journalists recruited to offer continual commentary. The Los Angeles Times, for instance, has organized “The Debate Watch Spectacular”, featuring their own political reporters, a DJ and other performers, augmenting the debate broadcast from the stage of a vintage LA theater.

Mixologists, however, appear to be having the most fun.

Bartenders have created debate-themed cocktails for every political persuasion, bearing names such as “Third Party Candidate” and “Trump’s Wall.” The D.S. Tequila Company in Chicago will offer the “Democrazy”, consisting of tequila, lime juice, orange juice, blueberry Red Bull and blue cucacao. In Boston, Parker’s Bar offer “POTUS Punch,” featuring vodka with blackberries, lemon juice and grenadine.

Not to be outdone, the Pine Box Rock Shop, a Brooklyn bar, will feature “The Pantsuit,” which combines rum, melon-flavored liqueur and almond milk, served on the rocks; “Donkey Punch” (tequila, lime juice blue curacao), “The Elephant in The Room” (a martini pepped up with apple juice and reddened with grenadine); “Tremendous Trainwreck” (cheap vodka and ice tea topped with orange soda).

The bar will also have voter registration forms handy, and plans similar events for the other three debates to come and, of course, election night itself.

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