Whether you’re celebrating an important event or just want to relax and unwind at the end of the day, a drink can hit the spot. And our nation’s leaders would agree.
In fact, from “Fish House Punch” to Cutty Sark and soda, American presidents have enjoyed the best (and perhaps the worse, depending on one’s opinion!) beverages in the world.
Their habits – from taste to amount of consumption – has greatly varied, but let’s drink to our forefathers on this President’s Day with a few fun facts on how they imbibed.
- Thomas Jefferson: Rumor has it that in 1818, Jefferson said, “In nothing have the habits of the palate more decisive influence than in our relish of wines.” A well-known wine merchant who developed a taste for finer wines while traveling in France, Jefferson built two of his own vineyards and reportedly purchased so much wine that that it brought him to the brink of financial ruin. (While that might sound like a great way to spend your money, we don’t recommend it!)
- James Monroe: Like Jefferson, Monroe was a big fan of French wine. He raised eyebrows while serving as Minister to France when he ordered 1,200 bottles of Burgundy and Champagne from France with funds that had been earmarked by Congress for furniture. (Definitely don’t try this at home!)
- John Quincy Adams: It has been claimed that Adams once conducted a blind taste test of 14 different kinds of Madeira, one of his favorite types of wines, and correctly identified 11 of them. He was such an aficionado that he is reported to be the owner of the largest known collection of Madeira, which was discovered in recent years at the Liberty Hall Museum on the campus of Kean University in New Jersey. The wine dates back to 1796 and is said to have been shipped from Portugal to celebrate Adams’ presidency.
- Herbert Hoover: President Hoover was a well-known martini fan and wine collector, but his precious collection was lost when his wife allegedly dumped it down the drain at the beginning of Prohibition, which he publicly supported. (Or did she keep it? We will never know!). However, Hoover did what any enterprising drinker would choose to do during Prohibition if they could, which was stop by the Belgian Embassy – considered foreign soil – to join friends and sip his favorite drinks at happy hour.
- Richard Nixon: Hailing from California, Nixon was one of the first presidents to introduce West Coast wines to the White House. However, he lived up to his nickname “Tricky Dick” in more ways than one. Because while he preferred to drink Château Margaux, which cost hundreds of dollars, he instructed his staff to serve his guests the cheaper wine, with towels covering the bottle’s label. Fortunately, that would not be the case with today’s delicious California wines!
Why not take a cue from our forefathers this President’s Day and serve one of your favorite bottles?