Drinking Habits of U.S. Presidents

Being the most powerful man in the world has its pros and cons. On the cons side, you’re very much the target of criticisms of every American dissatisfied with the state of the economy. But on the flipside, you can have any drink you want, and throw any party at any given time.

The truth is that almost all U.S. presidents drank. Only a handful like George W. Bush, William Howard Taft and Abraham Lincoln didn’t drink a lot while they were in the White House. Bush retired from drinking even before he was elected as president due to health reasons, although his father was known to drink everything. Lincoln was known to have resisted drinking liquor while Taft was an occasional champagne drinker.

Have you ever wondered what U.S. presidents, past and present, drank? Here’s a list of some of the more prominent U.S. leaders and their drinking habits.

George Washington

Washington was a distiller, having established a distillery near Mount Vernon. However, he rarely drank it. If his writings are to be believed, then it can be assumed that he was a moderate drinker. He preferred dark porter laced with molasses, one which was concocted in Philly.

James Madison

The fourth U.S. president and the father of the U.S. Constitution, Madison loved drinking champagne. He used to advise his guests to drink wine in moderation, as drinking more than a few glasses almost always produced a headache the following morning.

Thomas Jefferson

The man who wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence and the third U.S. president, Jefferson corresponded with wine makers in Germany and France because he was so interested on viniculture. In fact, when he left the White House, he brought with him a wine tab of $11,000, or around $200,000 today.

Andrew Jackson

The seventh U.S. president, Jackson loved whiskey. He was known to offer and drink whiskey when guests visited him at the White House.

Ulysses Grant

The 18th president of the U.S., Grant did drink but had low tolerance for alcohol. But it did not hinder him from throwing parties at the White House. In one instance, he hosted a party that had brought in bottles of champagne worth $1,800.

Chester Arthur

The administration of Arthur was often rocked with controversy, like his excessive drinking. It was said that the president drank a lot as a way to cope with the loss of his wife. It was also during his time when the Temperance movement in the United States was gaining ground. He reportedly shut down a proposal to impose a no-liquor policy in the White House by telling a representative of the Temperance Movement that his private life is his own damned business.

Warren Harding

He was the president during the Prohibition period, when it was illegal to transport liquor. Despite that, the president was known to habitually bring a bottle of whiskey in his golf bag. It was said that Harding was so into whiskey that he would take a pop of the liquor every three holes.

William Henry Harrison

The ninth U.S. president held office for only 32 days in 1841 as he succumbed to pneumonia. But he was a huge fan of hard cider, the popular drink among the working classes. In fact, this association with the beverage helped him win the elections against Martin Van Buren as the masses were able to relate with him.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

He’s always been associated with cocktails, and he is known to enjoy mixing gin-based martinis. He was also fond of drinking the Bermuda Rum Sizzle while sailing, the said concoction a combination of dark rum, lime juice, orange juice, and a sweet syrup called Falernum.

John F. Kennedy

The popular U.S. president drank all sorts of booze, so it is hard to pinpoint a favorite beverage. He is believed to prefer trendy drinks of the elite, however, like daiquiris, Heineken beer (which was imported at that time), and Bloody Marys.

Richard Nixon

Nixon loved expensive drinks, including Chateu Lafite Rothschild which cost hundreds of dollars. But he was also notorious for scrimping on his guests, as he would serve mediocre red wine to White House visitors.

Gerald Ford

Ford liked drinking martinis even during lunchtime. He had become fond of that habit while he was a lawmaker. But when he became the president, White House staff suggested he cut back on his drinking habits.

Ronald Reagan

The well-liked president preferred California wines and Orange Blossom special mixed with vodka. These were served in a barroom glass filled with ice.

Bill Clinton

Even before he was elected president he was known to love Snakebite which is a combination of hard cider and lager beer.

Barrack Obama

The current U.S. president loves beer. The White House also serves Honey Ale for special guests.

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