Presidential Drinking Habits

Obama gives a thumbs-up as he celebrates St. Patrick's Day in Washington
The New York Post has just published a nifty little piece of scholarship by Mark Will-Weber entitled “A Complete List of Every President’s Favorite Drink”. I was just going to link it in the SideBlog, but there is enough stuff here to share some highlights without stealing so much you won’t read the original. Some of this I already knew, but most I did not. It is a fun and quick read.

It is an illuminating historical fact that of America’s Founding Fathers, only Washington died wealthy. In fact, virtually all the rest died broke. Perhaps some of the reason for this is because, while Washington was the continent’s biggest liquor producer, he never drank it, preferring the odd porter instead. In contrast, Jefferson bankrupted himself on expensive wine, and James Monroe spent the White House furniture budget on 100 cases of French wine and Champagne.

Martin Van Buren was a heavy drinker, who liked a New York-made Genever variant called Scheidam. Anyone ever heard of this stuff?

We had some bad presidents in the lead-up to the Civil War, and their drinking habits are in keeping with that. Millard Fillmore was a near teetotaler, and with a name like that to tote around, a sane man would need an occasional belt. He was followed by Franklin Pierce, who died of cirrhosis, and James Buchanan, who drank Iberia dry.

The Rutherford B. Hayes White House staff would resort to spiking the punch because his wife was a Prohibitionist, but she caught on and substituted their rum with artificial flavoring behind their backs. If you merged a period costume film with Porky’s, you get a Hayes state dinner, I guess.

Read the entry for Grover Cleveland. No really, read it. I can’t steal it.

William McKinley had an official campaign cocktail. An Official. Campaign. Cocktail.

Harry Truman started most days with a shot of bourbon and a massage. The only man to ever nuke anyone didn’t play around.

Finally, if LBJ had been president when MADD was founded… they would not have gotten along. For why, and plenty of other good stuff, click the link.


  1. Jen

    20 October

    “Stop your nonsense and drink your whiskey!” That was a very fun read, thanks for sharing it!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

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