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Favorite Alcoholic Drinks of US Presidents

Favorite Alcoholic Drinks of US Presidents

The presidents of the United States have a lot on their plate, but they usually have something in their glass to take the edge off. Over the last two-and-half centuries, 44 presidents have made their way in and out of the White House, and they brought their drinking habits along. Read on to explore the favorite alcoholic drinks of U.S. presidents.

Some chose not to partake, others drank only on special occasions, and some had a daily taste of their favorite alcoholic drinks. Enjoy the most notable drinking histories and preferred beverages of eight of these notable leaders of the U.S.


George Washington

Washington is most famous for being the 1st president of the United States (1789 – 1797). Long before he became one of the most famous political figures in the country’s history, he owned a plantation called Mount Vernon. After he retired from the presidency, he returned to Mount Vernon to tend to his crops.

Along with growing a myriad of other products, Washington grew rye, corn and malted barley. It was from these ingredients that he distilled and sold his own whiskey. However, he was a proponent of moderation. Though he certainly sampled his wares, his favorite drink was a Philadelphia porter laced with molasses.


Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton was the 42nd president of the United States (1992 – 2000). Considered by many to lead with compassion, he passed reforms for welfare and created CHIP (children’s health insurance program). In addition, he signed the blood-alcohol limit law meant to discourage drunk driving.

Of course, even Clinton enjoys a (safe) drink now and then. His preferred alcoholic beverage is rumored to be the Snakebite, which is one-part hard cider and one-part lager beer. Clinton also discovered that the Snakebite is illegal in the U.K. when he attempted to order one.


Barack Obama

Obama was the 44th president of the United States (2008 - 2016). He spent extended periods of his life living in Indonesia, Hawaii and New York. Despite living a life influenced by a multitude of cultures, his favorite drink is home-grown beer.

In fact, the 44th president enjoys beer so much that during his first term he was responsible for the White House releasing its first brew. Chefs harvested honey from beehives located around the grounds and crafted a unique homebrew. Throughout his time in office, Obama would request the beer be served for special occasions and holidays.


Martin Van Buren

Van Buren was the 8th president of the United States (1836 - 1840). He was also the first president born on U.S. soil, as opposed to being a former subject of the British empire. During childhood he helped at his father’s tavern, which may explain why he became so fond of alcohol.

In fact, Van Buren is largely considered to have the greatest affinity for alcohol out of all the presidents. He had many nicknames, including “The Fox” and “The Little Magician” but most popular was “Blue Whiskey Van.” He earned his title by drinking glass after glass of whiskey yet never appearing drunk.


John F. Kennedy

JFK was the 35th president of the United States (1961 - 1963), though his term was cut short when he was assassinated in November 1963. In the U.S., the Kennedy family is famous for their involvement in politics as well as a series of personal tragedies.

Kennedy was the youngest president to ever be elected, which might have lent itself to his two drinks of choice. First, a Bloody Mary cocktail, which was a newly invented drink growing in popularity during the 50s and 60s. He also had a taste for Heineken, which was expensive to import at the time.


Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson was the 3rd president of the United States (1801 – 1809). As author of the Declaration of Independence, he was highly regarded for his wit. His financial wisdom was also respected after he doubled the size of the United States by making the thrifty Louisiana Purchase.

However, that sense with money didn’t quite carry over to his personal life. Jefferson ran head-first into financial troubles for his love of Madeira wine. As the name implies, this wine comes only from the island of Madeira in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and carried quite the hefty price tag back in the early 1800s.


James Monroe

Monroe was the 5th president of the United States (1817 – 1825). He had an interesting life to say the least, from crafting the Monroe Doctrine to initially opposing the Declaration of Independence. He was the last founding father to hold office and the last president to not have his photo taken.

He’s also responsible for the most well-known scandal involving alcohol. During his youth, Monroe studied under Jefferson, who introduced him to the pleasure of foreign wines. Monroe ended up ordering 1,200 bottles of burgundy wine and champagne from France, which he conveniently took out of the Congressional furniture budget.


Franklin D. Roosevelt

FDR was the 32nd president of the United States (1933 – 1945). He’s the only president to serve three consecutive terms and be elected for four. FDR was known for leading the U.S during WWII, creating the New Deal and many other achievements.

Perhaps his most unrecognized contribution: successfully pushing for the repeal of Prohibition. Though the country had banned alcohol, FDR worked hard to push through the 21st Amendment, which passed in 1933, making alcohol legal once more. Afterward, FDR was able to (legally) drink his two favorite cocktails – gin martinis and Manhattans.

Everyone Needs a Drink Sometimes, Even Presidents!

Many of the presidents of the United States were known for their particular tastes regarding alcoholic drinks. It’s clearly one of those facts that we like to learn about, if only for a peek into the past and what beverages notable historical figures liked to consume.

It’s also fascinating to discover that not much has changed through the ages. George Washington liked to brew whiskey on Mount Vernon, James Monroe enjoyed champagne, and even Kennedy had a preference for Heineken. It’s a great example of the fact that people have always been people, and most of them like to drink.