Liz Roach: Post Election Pick Me Up

Liz RoachNow that the ballots have been counted and the concession speeches have been delivered, it’s time to rest those campaign-weary feet and kick back for that age-old tradition: the post-election martini.  Whether your candidates of choice emerged triumphant or disappointed, we can all breathe a sigh of relief at the end of another grueling election cycle.  There were highs and lows, from inspiring policy ideas to soul-depleting ads. Nonetheless, it is always an affirming sight to see friends and neighbors lining up to put their thoughts into action on Election Day.

You should take this opportunity to have a bit of a breather.  Before the next flurry of debates, ads, and fundraisers begins (probably much sooner than we’d all like), take a little time to sit, reflect, and enjoy a rejuvenating treat.  For that, may I suggest the Moonshine Martini, a bracing refreshment.  Whether you’re taking a victory lap or need a nip of comfort, this taste of Appalachia combines rural and urban elements as a reminder of the enduring power of both constituencies.

If your style of imbibing lies along the sweeter lines, I have something for you as well.  In the spirit of fall, try this ginger cake. The fragrant spices will soothe the senses, and the ginger will settle your stomach from the nausea-inducing spin.  So kick back and give a “cheers” to surviving another political season; you’ve earned it.

Moonshine Martini 


3 ounces (1/4 cup) clear corn whiskey

1 teaspoon dry Madeira, dry sherry, or dry vermouth

1 pinch of kosher salt

3 boiled peanuts or 1 pickled onion for garnish (optional)


  1. a)    Combine the whiskey, Madeira, and salt in a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes, and shake vigorously for 10 seconds.
  2. b)   Strain the cocktail into a chilled martini glass and garnish with the peanuts, if using.

(Source: The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen by Matt Lee and Ted Lee)

Ginger Cake


1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus a little extra for the pan

2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon of ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt

1 tablespoon of baking powder

1 1/2 cups of boiling water

1 cup unsulfured light molasses

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 packed cup of dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1/4 cup finely grated fresh ginger

Special Equipment:

A stand or handheld electric mixer

an 8-inch springform pan about 3 inches deep

an 8-inch circle of parchment paper


  1. a)    Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and position a rack in the middle. Grease the springform pan very well with butter.  Line the bottom of the pan with the parchment paper circle, and put the pan on a baking sheet.
  2. b)   Sift the flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and baking powder into a medium bowl and stir well.  In a small pot, stir together the boiling water, molasses, and baking soda until the molasses has completely dissolved.
  3. c) Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (Alternatively, you can use a handheld electric mixer.) Mix on high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Occasionally, scrape down the butter and sugar that clings to the sides.  Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low, add the egg, and mix until incorporated.  Then add the grated ginger and mix some more.
  4. d) Add about one-third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until well combined.  Do the same with about one-third of the molasses mixture, and repeat the process until you’ve used up both mixtures.  Stop the mixer from time to time to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  5. e) Pour the batter into the springform pan and place the baking sheet (pan and all) into the oven. Bake just until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out almost clean and no longer wet, about 1 hour. Before you remove the ring of the springform, let it cool a bit.

(Source: A Girl and Her Pig by April Bloomfield)


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