Drinking holes with political connotations are everywhere in London — from The Gladstone Arms to Peckham Liberal Club to The Speaker — but what about the drinks themselves; which Westminster-themed liquids are available to take the edge off the onerous stretch of electioneering that lies ahead? Here's what we've found so far. If you know of any others, cast your vote in the comments.
Between now and 10 May The Met Bar on Old Park Lane is whipping up three partisan cocktails (£13.50 a pop), sporting the colours of the Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems. It seems that Cleggites get the most palatable quaffable; a sunny concoction of fresh passion fruit and lemongrass shaken with agave, lemon juice and tequila. Whichever one you go for though, resist the temptation to mix your drinks; if you combine the blue and the yellow, it leaves a nasty taste in the mouth for five years.
Along a similar colour-coded theme — but duly noting the election is no longer a three-horse race — the Corinthia's Bassoon bar is going with a 'Cast Your Cocktail' theme; select from a Call Me Dave, Red Ed, Compliant Clegg, Gordon Bennett and a Naughty Nigel (the latter is a purple potion infused with violet liqueur and bubblegum syrup, which the real-life Nige would probably try to deport). Cocktails are £15 each, and available from 23 April-7 May.
Elsewhere, we recommend cocktail lovers get their chops round a Big Society or Diplomatic Immunity (PDF) at Scarfes Bar in Holborn, a Churchill Martini at Browns Hotel (only serious drinkers need apply), an Iron Lady at the Ritz's Rivoli Bar (The Ritz is, after all, where the former PM rusted away), or a Coalition at Old Street's Nightjar — a deceptively drinkable work of art, served up in an icy hip flask.
Ale drinkers needn't feel marginalised; one microbrewery in particular is doing sterling work on the political beerscape, namely Islington Brewhouse & Kitchen, who serve a Disraeli American wheat beer, a Suffragette Ninja milk stout, and, our favourite, Granita Pact — an India white ale marking the alleged gentlemen's agreement in a north London restaurant between Blair and Brown. Different beers are on tap at different times, but the latter was available when we visited recently. Alternatively, why not sup your way through a selection of London's finest 'coalition' beers.
Political wines are harder to come by, unless you get your hands on some official Houses of Parliament plonk. Alternatively, plump for a red (Labour), Blue Nun (Conservatives), Wolf Blass Yellow Label (Lib Dems), green ginger wine (Greens) or anything so long as it's white (UKIP).
Booze like a politician
If none of the above sound up your (Downing) street, why not try boozing like you're an actual politician. What's Westminster's tipple of choice? According to the Daily Record, in 2014 the Houses of Parliament quaffed its way through 8,670 bottles of champagne, 522 bottles of Gordon's Gin and 257 bottles of Pimm's No. 1. Questionable lager, meanwhile, did a roaring trade: 10,800 bottles of Peroni and 10,248 bottles of Beck's were necked last year. 408 bottles of alcohol-free Beck's was also sold, which, as you'll know, is 408 bottles too many. Or you can always seek out a pint of Top Totty, the fruity ale swiftly withdrawn from a House of Commons bar back in 2012.
Otherwise, why not re-enact a notorious booze-fuelled episode from London's political history. You could down a few bottles of port a day, like William Pitt the Younger (he also once vomited behind the Speaker's chair), get squiffy in the manner of former premier Herbert Asquith (who was known for swaying during his Commons speeches, and had a music hall ditty written in honour of his alcoholism), make like Ken Livingstone and drink 47% ABV whisky while at work, have a corrupt glug of Krug à la Jeffrey Archer, gulp a scotch before lunch like Margaret Thatcher (she once said “you must have whisky to give you energy”), be Blair by bolting half a bottle of wine with a whisky chaser, pull a Churchill by sampling a bit of everything, get "muzzy" at a wine tasting before toking a huge Havana and riling one of your peers, like Alan Clark once did, chug 14 pints of real ale as William Hague claims he used to do, or — god forbid — replicate Ed Miliband by sipping on a Five Points Red Ale as if it might be laced with cyanide.
Actually, not that last one. You don't want to lose all sense of dignity.
Read more of Londonist's election coverage.