Ever Wonder What Every President’s Favorite Drink Was/Is?

Most of the Presidents of the United States indulged in alcohol, some more-so than others, in fact George Washington distilled and sold whiskey!

Have you ever wondered what the favorite drinks of the commander-in-chiefs were?

The New York Post recently published an article outlining what the presidents drank and here is the list:

  • George Washington – Even though George Washington distilled and sold whiskey, his favorite drink was a dark porter laced with molasses that was made in Philadelphia.
  • John Adams – Apparently Adams was a heavy drinker, starting every morning with hard cider, moving onto porter beer, and then continuing onto rum and Madeira.
  • Thomas Jefferson – Jefferson apparently drank a copious amount of wine.
  • James Madison – President Madison’s favorite was champagne.
  • James Monroe – “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.”
  • John Quincy Adams – President John Quincy Adams had a good tongue it seems, there are claims that he blind tested 14 different kinds of Madeira and was able to correctly identify 11 of the 14.
  • Andrew Jackson – President Jackson was a huge fan of whiskey.
  • Martin Van Buren – Also known as “Blue Whiskey Van”, loved, well, you guessed it, whiskey. He also enjoyed something called Schiedam which is a gin-like Dutch specialty unique to New York’s Hudson River Valley.
  • William Henry Harrison – “‘Old Tipp’ rode to the White House on the strength of the ‘Long Cabin and Hard Cider’ campaign in 1840.”
  • John Tyler – President Tyler like James Madison was very fond of champagne.
  • James K. Polk – Polk drank very modest amounts of wine, Champagne, and brandy.
  • Zachary Taylor – “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!'”
  • Millard Fillmore – President Fillmore rarely drank wine or served it to others, although he did once admit to drink enough old Madeira that he was “slightly fuddled”.
  • Franklin Pierce – President Pierce was apparently an alcohol aficionado and drank a lot of everything, so much so that he died of liver cirrhosis at the age of 65.
  • James Buchanan – Buchanan liked Madeira and sherry.
  • Abraham Lincoln – President Lincoln rarely if ever drank.
  • Andrew Johnson – Apparently President Andrew Johnson showed up to his vice president inauguration drunk in 1865 by trying to treat a cold with whiskey.
  • Ulysses S. Grant – Grant reportedly suffered from low alcohol tolerance, although while in office one of his entertaining bills included $1,800 for Champagne alone.
  • Rutherford B. Hayes – Apparently Hayes’ wife pushed for a no booze White House, but staffers tried to spike drinks being sympathetic to visitors that may have wanted some alcohol.
  • James Garfield – was a fan of beer.
  • Chester A. Arthur – A representative apparently tried to pressure President Arthur into a no-liquor policy in the White House to which he replied: “Madam, I may be the president of the United States, but what I do with my private life is my own damned business!”
  • Grover Cleveland – was also a fan of beer, and drank lots of it, he and fellow politicians tried to limit themselves to four beers a day, which when it became too tough, they just went for bigger beer steins.
  • Benjamin Harrison – “Leaned more toward God than Demon Alcohol”
  • William McKinley – “A drink popular during his election campaign was called McKinley’s Delight:
    • 3 oz. rye whiskey (shoot for at least 100 proof)
    • 1 oz. sweet vermouth
    • 2 dashes of cherry brandy
    • 1 dash absinthe”
  • Teddy Roosevelt – Teddy was a fan of Mint Juleps and used them to entice his cabinet to play tennis with him at the White House. The recipe was:
    • 10 to 12 fresh mint leaves “muddled” with a splash of water and a sugar cube
    • 2 or 3 oz. of rye whiskey
    • ¼ oz. of brandy
    • Sprig or two of fresh mint as a garnish
  • William Howard Taft – President Taft was a large man so people may assume that he drank a lot, but apparently he stayed away from alcohol and was trying to lose weight, he did however celebrate with the occasional glass of champagne.
  • Woodrow Wilson – Wilson enjoyed Scotch. His campaign song – “Wilson! That’s All!” came from a brand of whiskey that was popular in the early 20th century.
  • Warren G. Harding – Harding was president during the prohibition, but that didn’t stop him from consuming alcohol, he is said to have stashed a bottle of whiskey in his golf bag and took sips before he teed up.
  • Calvin Coolidge – Coolidge drank very little, but he liked Tokay wine. The Coolidge Cooler was concocted by Vermont Spirits in honor of Calvin on his birthday:
    • 1.5 oz. of Vermont White vodka
    • ½ oz. of American whiskey
    • 2 oz. of orange juice
    • Club soda
  • Herbert Hoover – supposedly had a fantastic wine collection, but his wife poured it down the drain when Prohibition hit.

Presidential Picnic

Herbert Hoover pours a jug and smokes a cigar in 1935. (Photo: Getty Images)

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt – FDR is associated with cocktails, enjoying mixing gin-based martinis (and occasionally whiskey-based Manhattans). His favorite drink while sailing was the Bermuda Rum Swizzle:
    • 2 oz. dark rum
    • 1 oz. lime juice
    • 1 oz. orange juice
    • 1 generous dash of Falernum (a sweet syrup)
  • Harry Truman – Harry Truman loved bourbon and quite often took a shot of it in the morning. He also enjoyed a strong Old Fashioned and would complain if it was too weak.
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower – Eisenhower had to take it easy on his drinking because of several heart attacks, but he did choose Scotch when he drank.
  • John F. Kennedy – JFK drank a lot of different items, including Heineken beer (which at the time was a big deal because it was imported).
  • Lyndon B. Johnson – LBJ loved Scotch and enjoyed driving at high speeds around his Texas ranch drinking it out of a plastic cup.
  • Richard Nixon – Nixon would drink expensive bottles of Chateau Lafite Rothschild (costing hundreds of dollars), but he would instruct his staff to serve mediocre wine to his guests with towels wrapped around the bottle’s label so the guests would not know what they were getting.


Richard M. NixonPresident Nixon toasts. (Photo: Getty Images)

  • Gerald Ford – Ford liked having martinis, sometimes even at lunch.
  • Jimmy Carter – Carter didn’t drink much, while at an arms summit with Soviet leaders, he arranged to have a small glass of white wine for toasts so he could avoid drinking the stronger Russian vodka.
  • Ronald Reagan – Reagan enjoyed California wines and an occasional Orange Blossom Special made with vodka:
    • 1 oz. (or slightly less in Reagan’s case) vodka.
    • 1 oz. of either grenadine or sweet vermouth
    • 2 oz. fresh orange juice
    • All brought together in a barroom glass filled with ice.
  • George H.W. Bush – The older President Bush drank a little bit of everything, including beer and vodka martinis.
  • William Clinton – As a scholar at Oxford, Clinton reportedly indulged in the Snakebite:
    • 8 oz. hard cider
    • 8 oz. lager beer
    • (Add ¼ oz. black currant liqueur for a Snakebite variation the Brits
      call Diesel.)
  • George W. Bush – The younger President Bush “retired” from drinking years before he became President.
  • Barack Obama – The current President enjoys beer, the White House even makes a special White House Honey Ale (made with honey from the White House hives) for special guests.

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