For Every President, a Drink: A Cocktail Tour of American History

President Kennedy has been matched with a Beefeater martini.

There are a lot of ways to examine the complex legacies left behind by each American president: through legislation signed, scandals endured or wars fought. But have you thought about how each leader of the free world affected the drinking scene of his day?

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Jim Hewes, a recreational historian and the bartender at the historic Round Robin, the bar at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC, certainly has. And he’s created a 44 drink menu to show it off, with a drink specially selected for each president, based on their personal taste and attitude towards imbibing.

For the tee-totaling residents of the White House, Hewes has included Diet Coke with lemon for George W. Bush and a cranberry juice and soda for Calvin Coolidge. Rutherford B. Hayes didn’t drink either, but has been assigned the Orange Blossum- the drink Washington pressmen created when they spiked the punch at his inauguration. For the rest, the selections are a bit more tantalizing. Here are some highlights from the menu:

44. Barack Obama – Obama shake, flavored Vodka, fresh fruit and cream, steady and smooth, served tall and cool. 42. William J. Clinton – TANQUERAY Gin and Tonic a standard on the Washington cocktail circuit 35. John F. Kennedy – BEEFEATER MARTINI, up with olives served regally in the White House to those in the good graces of America’s “Camelot”. 30. Herbert Hoover – LONG ISLAND ICED TEA.  Prohibition conscious imbibers relished this enticing tall drink, which contained everything on the bar except “the kitchen sink”. 24. Grover Cleveland – SAZARAC COCKTAIL, New Orleans sensation, which swept the nation in the 1880’s. 6. John Quincy Adams – HOT BUTTERED RUM, a New England toddy with the spiced flavor of the West Indies. 1. George Washington – MADEIRA WINE, Our first chief executive favored Malmsey, a fortified wine from this Mediterranean Isle. He was also partial to fruit brandies and Rye Whiskey, which he distilled at Mount Vernon.

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Now the question is, how to you start going through the menu? By political persuasion, chronologically, or by whatever sounds best? Another historical question that only time can answer.

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Photos: Wikimedia Commons (left); Rachelmnop / CC (right)

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