Today was the day President McKinley was shot…
What does this have to do with whiskey, you ask?
William McKinley had a cocktail named after him while he was running for president in 1896. Of course, so did his opponent, William Jennings Bryan…(Bryan’s was the Free Silver Fizz)
Handing out booze was common practice when running for office. Even George Washington knew that handing out free liquor was the best way to secure votes. In fact, the first reference we have to the term “cocktail” comes from 1806, in a newspaper article describing how a Federalist defeated a Democratic-Republican candidate in New York’s Hudson River Valley despite the latter’s attempt to secure votes by handing out almost 300 mixed drinks.
Originally, his drink was probably made with gin, but after WWII, it was altered and changed to a bourbon/rye recipe. The recipe was also known as the “Remember the Maine.” No one said politically inspired cocktail origins aren’t mysterious…I’ll keep calling it the McKinley. He just lost a mountain, after all.
A drink popular during his election campaign was called McKinley’s Delight:
3 oz. rye whiskey (shoot for at least 100 proof)
1 oz. sweet vermouth
2 dashes of cherry brandy
1 dash absinthe