A History Lesson With Booze ®

The Dem Donkey & The Jackass Neck

This week in 1870, staunch Republican Thomas Nast lashed out at certain Democrat-owned newspapers... portraying them as a crazed jackass. Later, he drew his own party as a frightened elephant on the edge of a precipice. Hear how both parties came to embrace Nast’s animal familiars... then throttle a cocktail, based on an equine classic.

The History Lesson

The beloved symbol of the Democratic party… was created by a fierce Republican.

His name was Thomas Nast, and he was the most powerful political cartoonist ever. Abraham Lincoln said Nast’s cartoons helped him win re-election. Lincoln, of course, was a Republican. Nast wouldn’t help Democrats win anything.

Why? Well, among other things, Nast supported Lincoln’s Civil War — but lots of Democrats opposed it. In fact, when Lincoln’s war secretary Edwin Stanton died, some Dem-owned newspapers disrespected him in their obituaries.

Outraged, Nast fired off his most infamous cartoon. It portrayed Stanton as a proud, dead lion, and the anti-war Democrats as a crazed jackass, kicking the corpse. Dems weren’t super-pleased with the insult. But Nast — and then others — kept trotting out the Dem donkey in cartoons. And over the years, the party embraced it as their symbol.

Meanwhile, in 1874, the donkey got a companion. When Nast first portrayed the Republican party as an elephant. He drew it fleeing from a jackass… straight off the edge of a cliff.

The Booze

The Jackass Neck

Photo credit: Elana Lepkowski, stirandstrain.com

Drawn up by Alex Bookless, bar manager of The Passenger in Washington DC.


  • ¾ ounce Grande Classico
  • 1 ½ ounce Old Weller 107 bourbon (or any high-proof — for a donkey kick)
  • Equal parts Ginger ale and soda water
  • Orange Peel


Peel the orange in a long spiral (this is the “neck” — a variant of the lemon peel from the classic “Horse’s Neck” drink). Line the inside of a Tom Collins glass with the peel, and add ice. Pour in the remaining ingredients. Share with friends across the aisle — er, bar — and place liquoring over bickering.