It’s election night. What that means, other than the fate of our fair nation being decided, is that you probably need a drink. (In fact, given the complete insanity of this campaign, you absolutely, positively need a drink.) But as the votes are counted and the TV coverage continues, what you drink really depends on how you feel. The ebullient and cheerful among us certainly want a different wine than the appalled and horrified, right? Here’s what to pour according to your mood.

By Ray Isle
Updated May 24, 2017
© Tyler Spangler

Totally and Utterly Relaxed

There is some argument that you might be an alien cyborg, because no other person in the entire United States feels this way. Nevertheless: You’re calm, you’re cool, and poll results don’t faze you one little bit.

Wine: Forget wine, what you need is a shot of caffeine-infused V2 Vodka ($25). Wake the heck up, ok?

Slightly on Edge, but Basically Hopeful

OK, yes, election night is worrisome, but this is America! Things always turn out for the best—right?

Wine: You’re obviously a Chardonnay drinker, happily passing the days in a haze of buttery white wine and optimism. Open a bottle of the 2014 Butternut Chardonnay ($15).

Growing Sense of Unease

As the pundits weigh in, you can’t escape the same nagging worry you’ve been having for the past six months—that weird feeling that millions of your fellow citizens simply do not see the world the way you do. And they’re going to vote. All of them.

Wine: These people—the people on the other side, whichever side that is—have obviously been sold a bill of goods. In fact…wait a minute…maybe the whole country has. Control your paranoia with a bottle of the 2012 Peterson Zero Manipulation Red Blend ($20)


If you could bring yourself to switch channels, you’d turn on “The Walking Dead” because at this point seeing undead zombies rip peoples’ faces off might actually calm you down. The pressure has hit your brain valves, the steam is building, you’re now in that HOW CAN PEOPLE VOTE FOR THAT IDIOT!?! zone that presages a total flip-out. You need help.

Wine: Honestly, Bourbon might be better. Like, really high-proof Bourbon. And make it a double. Right now, while there’s a commercial on. Try the Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve ($45), which in addition to being potent enough to knock out an elephant (or a donkey) is actually extremely good.

Sullen Acceptance

It doesn’t look good. Sure, there are absentee ballots to be counted, or maybe a stray meteor will hit the opposition candidate during the acceptance speech, but…sigh. It’s over. Not entirely over—polls are still open in American Samoa, right?—but, you know.

Wine: 2013 If You See Kay Red ($18). Right?

Giddy Exultation

Fling the ticker tape! Dance around like a happy loon! The system works after all (well, maybe). Your candidate won. Hoorah! And in four years we get to do this all over again! Argh!!!!

Wine: Champagne. As Winston Churchill said, “In victory I deserve it, in defeat I need it.” Winston is right: You deserve those bubbles. Try some Pol Roger—it was the British Bulldog’s favorite: NV Pol Roger Brut Reserve ($45)

Argh, I can’t bear it, life is over, I’m moving to Mars!

The last polls are closed, the last votes are counted, and this country has obviously gone to the dogs. Defeat is a bitter fruit. Before you renounce your citizenship, though, open a last bottle of wine from the U.S.A. In fact, how about something truly Presidential.

Wine: So what if George Washington preferred whiskey. Open a bottle with our first President’s face on the label: the 2014 The Federalist Zinfandel ($22). It’s tasty, it’s kind of dignified, and at 14.9% alcohol, it’ll definitely help kill the pain.