Join us on Thurs, May 16, 2019, for a 1/2 price off on specialty cocktails + 1 flight. Our theme is what alcohol the Presidents were most fond. Founding Father or one-term Presidents, or Democrat or Republican, almost every American President has shared something in common. They all drank. In his new book, “Mint Juleps with Teddy Roosevelt: The Complete History of Presidential Drink,” journalist Mark Will-Weber reveals the history of Presidency through booze. A few examples-
George Washington in 1799 established one of the first distilleries in newly formed Washington and produced nearly 11,000 gallons, making it one of the largest whiskey distilleries in America at the time.
Andrew Jackson, one of the most polarizing presidents in history, made, sold and, of course, drank whiskey.
James Monroe was a big fan of French wine, like Jefferson. Monroe preferred red wine and champagne, a thirst that got him into some trouble, per Will-Weber: “A small scandal occurred during Monroe’s stint 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.” But hasn’t everyone all spent their furniture budget on booze before? An honest mistake.
Zachary Taylor, according to Will-Weber, “During the Mexican War, a political aide reportedly visited to inform Taylor that the Whig Party wished to nominate him for president. Taylor allegedly replied: ‘Stop your nonsense and drink your whiskey!’”Taylor is a man who had his priorities in order.
Franklin Pierce had a preference for all things alcohol. Will-Weber hints that he was the drunkest president in American history. According to Will-Weber, Pierce “drank a lot of everything” and 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.
William McKinley – In addition to having an Alaskan mountain named after him (a polarizing topic when President Barack Obama re-named the mountain “Denali” to honor Native-American culture) William McKinley also had alcoholic drinks named after him. One such drink (popular at the time of his election) was called McKinley’s Delight and consisted of cherry brandy, rye whiskey, sweet vermouth and absinthe.
Theodore Roosevelt, the man for which Will-Weber’s book is named, loved Mint Juleps. He even “used them to entice his cabinet to come play tennis with him at the White House” and partake. He used mint from the White House garden to make the drink that used 10 to 12 fresh mint leaves, brandy, rye whiskey and sugar cube(s).
Warren G. Harding, again according to Will-Weber, “habitually stashed a bottle of whiskey in his golf bag and thought nothing of taking a hit before he teed up.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt loved assorted cocktails. As the president who signed the Cullen-Harrison Act, bringing about a repeal to prohibition in the United States, perhaps it’s no surprise that he enjoyed a good drink from time to time. Will-Weber felt that FDR was “most associated with cocktails” and connects him to martinis, Manhattans as well as Bermuda rum swizzles.
Harry S Truman, who, unlike many of his predecessors who were more interested in drinking wine and beer, was a huge fan of the hard stuff. “Truman loved bourbon and quite often knocked down a shot of it in the morning,” Will-Weber wrote of the wartime president. “He also liked a very strong Old Fashioned and would complain if his staff made it too weak.”
John F. Kennedy enjoyed drinking a Bloody Marys which can be delicious or terrible with little in-between. It’s safe to assume he was served the best of the best.Will-Weber also notes that Kennedy drank a lot of different alcoholic beverages, including daiquiris and Heineken beer (which, he notes, was “considered at the time a big deal because it was imported”).
Lyndon B. Johnson has a number of unique drinking stories attached to his legacy. As history.com wrote, “while Senate majority leader, [Johnson] instructed staff to make his scotch and soda significantly weaker than his guest’s so that he could keep a clearer head.” Reports are that he threw massive, lavish barbeques for dignitaries at his Texas ranch, where he’d drive around with “his Styrofoam cup of Cutty Sark” as his “constant companion.”
Gerald R. Ford enjoyed drinking martinis so much that he sometimes had multiple at lunch, per Will-Weber. But when Ford was thrown into the presidency following the Watergate scandal and Nixon’s resignation from office, Ford’s staffers advised he cut back on the drinks.
George H. W. Bush, former President George H. W. Bush, father to former President George W. Bush and 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush, drank a bit of everything. Per Will-Weber, he often went for martinis and beer.