It’s always interesting to delve into the sidebars of history. With Inauguration Day and its relevant celebrations little more than a week away, Z’Scoop decided to explore what favorite cocktails or alcoholic beverages throughout our short history either frequently or infrequently went down the hatches of our past Presidents, and what to expect from our acknowledged non-imbibing President-elect Donald Trump.
Our first president, George Washington, was a whiskey drinker, as were Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, Zachary Taylor, and Andrew Johnson. According to author Mark Will-Weber, Andrew Johnson was so inebriated when he arrived at the 1865 inauguration as Abe Lincoln’s vice president that he had to be pulled off the stage.
Our third president Thomas Jefferson purchased so much wine it put him on the brink of financial ruin.
James Madison, James Monroe, John Tyler, James K. Polk, and Ulysses S. Grant were all champagne lovers. Of these, James Polk was the most modest drinker. However, a small scandal erupted under President James Monroe, when a whopping 1,200 bottles of Burgundy and Champagne from France were charged to the White House.
Franklin Pierce was one of the heaviest drinkers to fill the White House. He died of cirrhosis of the liver at the age of 64.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, President Abraham Lincoln apparently drank the least while in office. Presidents Rutherford B. Hayes, William Howard Taft, Benjamin Harrison, and Calvin Coolidge were also light drinkers.
Although ladies of the Temperance Movement tried to convince Chester A. Arthur to have a dry White House, he refused.
The McKinley’s Delight was coined for William McKinley. It was a strong drink made with whiskey, sweet vermouth, cherry brandy, and absinthe.
President Theodore Roosevelt used fresh mint from the White House garden to make his famous mint juleps, while Woodrow Wilson and Dwight D. Eisenhower enjoyed scotch. And although Warren G. Harding was president during Prohibition, that didn’t stop him from enjoying some whiskey before playing a game of golf.
President Herbert Hoover requested a dry martini while suffering from pneumonia in his 80s, and Franklin D. Roosevelt was known for loving cocktails, especially gin-based martinis.
Harry S. Truman would down a shot of bourbon every morning before starting his day. Iconic Democratic President John F. Kennedy drank various cocktails, such as daiquiris, but his favorite was the Bloody Mary.
A Texas native, Lyndon B. Johnson enjoyed sipping a cold Texas-brewed Pearl beer while driving around his ranch.
Richard M. Nixon enjoyed expensive bottles of Château Lafite Rothschild — but he’d often serve cheaper wine to his guests — even at the White House.
Georgia-raised President Jimmy Carter didn’t drink much — so when he met with Soviet leaders, instead of taking a shot of vodka, he’d arrange for a small glass of white wine.
Iconic Republican President and former Hollywood actor Ronald Regan enjoyed Orange Blossom Specials, made with orange juice, vodka, and sweet vermouth.
While President George Bush (41) dabbled in a bit of everything, from beer to vodka, his son, President George W. Bush (43) didn’t drink — at least not while in office.
And President Barack Obama is a big fan of beer. Under his administration, the White House brewed its own honey ale, using honey from beehives on the grounds.
And finally, President-elect Donald Trump is known not to drink at all, publicly citing his late elder brother Fred’s untimely death from alcoholism. However, Mr. Trump is reputedly a gracious host who serves his guests exceptional wines and spirits.
The Presidential Key
Business Insider – The Favorite Drinks of Every US President
Books available on amazon.com. Click title to order.
Mint Juleps with Teddy Roosevelt: The Complete History of Presidential Drinking
by Mark Will-Weber
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