A History of Presidential Drinking

It’s first contact time, with Letter 44.  The incoming president finds a traditional note on his desk from the much hated out going president.  The note informs the president that their is an alien craft just out side of jupiter, and a team of american astronauts are on their way to make contact.

We totally stole this article from Art in the Age's website.  If you want to read their version, you can find it here.  The make an awesome Root beer liquor that you should really check out.




The United States has a rich history in the production of alcoholic beverages, a practice which dates back to the earliest days of our nation. The pilgrims that landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts actually carried more beer with them than water, since beer spoiled less easily, and would last throughout their long voyage across the Atlantic.

Some of our country’s most influential leaders have either produced or enjoyed their fair share of spirits, including many U.S. Presidents. Below we’ve listed a few of the preferred beverages of some of our most notable commanders in chief.

George Washington (1789-1797) was regarded as the most successful whiskey producer in the country after his tenure of President was over. His Mount Vernon distillery produced 11,000 gallons of Rye Whiskey per year, but within a decade of his death, it fell into disrepair. Washington was also known to have dined and drank whiskey at Charleston, South Carolina’s famous McCrady’s Tavern in 1791, during his Southern Tour.

Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) is regarded today as one of the healthiest early American presidents, and also the foremost wine connoisseur to have ever held office. According to a letter to an inquiring doctor in 1819, he would drink 3 to 4 glasses of wine at dinner, but never a drop otherwise. Jefferson wrote that he did not drink ardent wines or spirits, and he would also water down his wine so as to weaken its effect on him.

Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865) was born into a bourbon family; His father was a distillery hand at the site that Knob Creek bourbon is named after today (in a distillery that was owned by one of Daniel Boone‘s relatives!). As an adult, Lincoln applied for and received a license to sell alcohol in Illinois, and went on to operate numerous taverns. Despite his taverns and a grocery store that sold primarily whiskey, his personal stance on alcohol was one of educated, responsible drinking in moderation. As for his personal tastes, it’s hard to determine as he spent a good portion of his political career appeasing the Temperance group, which eventually evolved into the Prohibition group.

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945) was the president to end Prohibition, and also an amateur bartender. When entertaining at the White House, Roosevelt would often personally mix drinks for his guests. His cocktail of choice was a Plymouth gin martini with an olive and a twist.

John F. Kennedy (1961-1963) practically created a culture himself, when he put his presidential stamp of approval on the famed Cuban daiquiri. After it became known that the daiquiri was JFK’s favorite beverage, the drink’s popularity grew to rival that of the martini. Accentuating his ironic tastes, JFK was also a smoker of Cuban cigars.

Richard Nixon (1969-1974) followed in JFK’s footsteps and opted for a drink that could possibly be considered controversial by some conservative elements at the time, the Cuba Libre, better known in the United States as the rum and coke.

Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) is hailed by many as the greatest conservative president of the 20th century, and is credited with being partially responsible for the fall of the Soviet Union. Reagan wasn’t a big drinker, but his cocktail of choice was a weakened Orange Blossom (2 parts gin, 1 part orange juice, 1tsp fine sugar, garnished with an orange slice).

Bill Clinton (1993-2001) has had the misfortune of being photographed at parties drinking light beer. However, according to several reports, Clinton’s drink of choice is a Snakebite. The original Snakebite recipe called for a shot of tequila with a shot of Tabasco hot sauce. However, it is believed that the president preferred a different version, made up of stout beer and hard apple cider. The basis of this theory is that Clinton adopted this cocktail in England, where he spent a good deal of time as a student.

Barack Obama (2009-present) is often seen as a beer drinker, but favors the margarita as his cocktail of choice. This drink seemed to be Obama’s standard order at one of his favorite Chicago restaurants, Topolobampo, where he frequently dined at as a Senator.

It’s very interesting to see the evolution of popular spirits in America, beginning with rye whiskey, progressing to wine and bourbon, all the way through the widespread popularization of the specialty cocktail.