How to Drink Like a President
February 4, 2015
Beer: George Washington, John Adams, and Grover Cleveland
All three of these commanders in chief were said to have been hopheads. Washington favored English-style porter (apparently it was brewed quite frequently at Mount Vernon), but the honor of biggest presidential beer geek goes to John Adams, whose wife made a mean hard cider and who allegedly started regularly drinking beer for breakfast at age 15. (Don’t worry, folks, the drink had a much lower alcohol percentage back then.)
Wine: Thomas Jefferson, Chester A. Arthur
Chester A. Arthur was said to be a big fan of wine, and was known to drink it nightly. In fact, supposedly his Saturday nights were so intense he would need a carriage to take him to church Sunday morning… a block away. Of course, no conversation about presidents and wine would be complete without mention of Thomas Jefferson. The former president had a lifelong fascination with the art of producing wine, and was known as the first distinguished viticulturist in the United States. He set up his own vineyards at Monticello and spent his life studying the production of wine, among his many other hobbies.
Whiskey: Martin Van Buren, James Buchanan, Harry Truman
There appears to be an impressive collection of whiskey-drinking presidents. Van Buren allegedly earned the nickname Blue Whiskey Van for his impressive ability to hold his liquor — a skill apparently also shared by Buchanan, who was said to have partaken in a gallon of whiskey a week. Truman, for his part, was said to be a fan of that all-American spirit, bourbon. Rumor has it that when vacationing in Key West, he would wake up with a shot of Wild Turkey each day.
Brandy: Ulysses S. Grant
Its pretty well-known that Ulysses S. Grant was a prolific drinker. Even back during his time in the Civil War people knew him as a drinker, but when President Lincoln was told that Grant had been drinking whiskey on the war front, Lincoln was quoted as saying, "Then find out what brand he drinks, and send my other generals a case!"
Martini: Herbert Hoover
While the tale that Hoover created the first Gibson (that’s a martini with a cocktail onion instead of an olive as a garnish) seems to be more rumor than reality, it is true that the former president was a fan of the classic martini.
Brandy, Scotch, Martini: Franklin D. Roosevelt
It should come as no surprise that FDR, the president responsible for the repeal of Prohibition, was a fan of many spirits and spirited concoctions, including (but most likely not limited to) brandy, scotch, and the ever-classic martini.
Daiquiri: John F. Kennedy
Wikimedia Commons/Mike Fleming
There is some debate about the origin of the Daiquiri, but some scholars say that it originated in Cuba, making it an interesting choice for the Cold War-era president.
Scotch and Soda: Lyndon B. Johnson
LBJ was well known for his affinity for Cutty Sark and soda. His special assistant famously recalled a story from Johnson’s Texas ranch where the president was driving around drinking scotch and soda from a foam cup, and would occasionally stop and hold his drink out the window, cueing a Secret Service agent to run up and refill his drink.
Rum and Coke: Richard Nixon
Here’s a fun little tidbit to chew on: If Nixon ever added a little lime juice to his favorite cocktail, he would have been drinking what is known as a Cuba Libre. Ironic, no? (Apparently he was also a fan of, and quite skilled at mixing, dry martinis.)
Gin and Tonic: Gerald Ford
The one-time president (like Queen Elizabeth II, apparently) was a big fan of the classic gin and tonic.
Snakebite: Bill Clinton
According to reports, the former president is a fan of the Snakebite, a beer cocktail made of equal parts lager and hard cider.