Imperial and Stout: Our Presidents’ Drinks of Choice

As the Commander-in-Chief of an entire nation, the office of the President involves a fair amount of stress. Ergo, it’s not surprising that the White House has a long and storied history with a wide array of hooch. From Washington’s English porter to Nixon’s own martini, here’s a quick glimpse at the history of the presidential tipple. Happy Presidents' Day indeed.

George Washington – English Porter

While his estate at Mt. Vernon grew a wide range of crops like tobacco and silk, one of Washington’s biggest sellers was his homemade English porter. The rich, syrupy beer developed quite the local following, including Washington himself—the first-ever POTUS was said to drink a pint with every evening’s supper. Curiously, one of his recipes survived in a personal diary, and was recently reproduced (with a bit of creative license) by Shmaltz Brewing Company.

Abraham Lincoln – Applejack

Before the North American advent of whiskey and rum, there was good old American Applejack. This high-proof apple brandy was one of the colony’s most popular liquors, and its popularity extended well into the 19th century. Lincoln himself was a lifelong fan, and even served the hearty beverage—for a paltry 24 cents a pint—at his Illinois tavern.

Franklin D. Roosevelt – The Highball

To the dismay of friends and family, FDR was a terrible mixologist. His martinis, in particular, were a drink that would live in infamy. However, this didn’t stop the president from enjoying the occasional cocktail: He was especially fond of Scotch, and would often mix it with soda to fashion a classic Highball, which then earned the disapproval of his outspoken wife Eleanor.

Richard Nixon – The Dry Martini

While many sources peg Nixon as a fan of Tiki cocktails, his specialty drink was undoubtedly his martini. Given the name “Silver Bullets” by the president himself, his concoctions were known to be extra dry—a fact that would have been popular with his hard-charging Russian counterparts.

Barack Obama – The Margarita

As a consummate diplomat, the current Commander-in-Chief tailors his drinks to the occasion: He’s been seen drinking dark stouts in Dublin, and sipping wine with a five-course dinner. However, rumor has it that the POTUS is partial to tequila—especially when featured in a well-mixed margarita.

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