| Presidential Drinking
by Andrew Hedges
Hello Bob - Since we just had a new President sworn in I thought it
might be fun to look up what kinds of drinks past Presidents favored.
I found some good information in a book by Mark Will-Weber and did
a little online research. I know it's a bit different than the usual kind
of article you select but nonetheless hope you enjoy it enough to put
it in your column, which is one of my must reads each month.
Oh, in case you didn't know, our new President doesn't drink at all
so obviously he's not included in this. I also only selected those
Presidents that to me had the most interesting relationship with
George Washington sold whiskey (made near Mount Vernon), but
he probably rarely, if ever, drank it. Rather than the hard stuff, the
first president of the United States loved dark porter beer, which he
would lace with molasses. Actually that doesn't sound bad at all.
John Adams preferred to indulge inHard Cider. By all accounts, the
second president of the U.S. loved his alcohol. In fact, he started
"almost every morning with a hard cider," according to Mr. Will-
Weber. He also was known to drink "porter beer, rum and copious
amounts of Madeira." I like this guy.
James Monroe was a big fan of French wine as was Thomas
Jefferson. Monroe preferred red wine and champagne, a thirst that
got him into some trouble. A small scandal occurred during his time
in the Executive Mansion when 1,200 bottles of Burgundy and
Champagne from France were charged to an account that Congress
had earmarked for furniture. At least the money wasn't wasted.
John Quincy Adams not only enjoyed drinking Madeira (a style of
strong Portuguese wine produced in the Madeira Islands) also held
was known to have a vast knowledge of all kinds of wine. It's
believed his knowledge came from much hands on research.
Franklin Pierce, according to what I found preferred to drink just
about everything. Several sources called him the drunkest president
in American history.Pierce once said after leaving office, "What can
an ex-president of the United States do except get drunk?" He died
of cirrhosis of the liver at age 65.
Finally we get to a President who would enjoy BeerNexus - James
Garfield 's drink of choice was beer! Unlike other presidents, he was
always a beer man long before seeking political office. One of
Garfield's closest friends,Thomas Donaldson, once noted in his
diary that: 'Garfield ... liked beer and drank but little else.'"
President Grover Cleveland also liked beer above other alcoholic
drinks although he was never known to turn anything down if a beer
of his choice was not available. . According to writer Will-Weber,
"[Cleveland] and a fellow politician once took a vow to hold
themselves to four beers a day." He's my kind of guy.
Theodore Roosevelt however was not enamored of beer. His drink
of choice was a Mint Julep. He loved them and served them to all
his guests at the White House. Roosevelt used mint from the White
House garden to make the drink. Interestingly we have his
personal recipe. You might give it a try though it's too sweet for me.
10 to 12 fresh mint leaves muddled with a splash of water and a
2 or 3 oz. of rye whiskey
1/4 oz. of brandy
Sprig or two of fresh mint to garnish
President Ronald Reagan developed a taste for California wines and
an occasional Orange Blossom Special made with vodka. As a beer
person I didn't know what that was but was able to find the exact
recipe used by Mr. Regan. Here it is:
1 oz. vodka
1 oz. grenadine or sweet vermouth
2 oz. (fresh) orange juice
It probably tastes a lot better than it sounds.
Here are just a few others -
George W. Bush — didn't drink alcohol in the White House. His
beverage was Diet Coca-Cola with a slice of lemon.
President Bill Clinton enjoyed a Tanqueray Gin and tonic. Jimmy
Carter always order alcohol free white wine, John Kennedy opted for
Beefeater martini, up with olives, and President Eisenhower went
with Johnnie Walker Black on the rocks.
There you have my little report. To all the Presidents, drinkers and
teetotalers alike, I lift my glass and say Cheers!!
Many thanks Andrew for sending me your article. It was really
interesting to learn about our President's drinking preferences. Also
thanks for the drink recipes. I'm going to try them out - for historical
purposes of course.
I'd like to invite everyone to send me their own columns about
anything related to beer in any way just as Larry did. I select
the best and publish them here. So join in and get writing.
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