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Ale To The Chief

Jack Bettridge
Posted: September 7, 2012

(continued from page 1)

Prohibition brought for presidents the opportunity to practice what many politicians are known for: hypocrisy. Warren Harding, who had voted for the 18th Amendment as a senator, had bootleggers supply alcohol for his poker parties with cronies in the White House. Calvin Coolidge, however, followed the letter of the law.  Herbert Hoover, who was said to drink Manhattans and Old Fashioneds, would imbibe in the Belgian Embassy as the building was technically not on American soil.

Franklin D. Roosevelt campaigned as a "wet" (in support of repeal of Prohibition), promising to bring back beer, and when he finally signed the 21st Amendment, FDR said: "I think this would be a good time for a beer. However the president with the prominent cigarette holder preferred stronger stuff. His drink of choice was a Martini.

His successor, Harry S. Truman, was a Bourbon drinker and enjoyed meeting with other D.C. drinkers for what were euphemistically called "Board of Education meetings." In fact, it was at one of those while he was vice president that he received the call to come to the White House as FDR had died, making him president. While president, Truman spent time at a house in Key West, where after a long day's work he would announce a "call to quorum," meaning a poker and whiskey party.

John F. Kennedy had patrician tastes for wine, but also enjoyed such preppy quaffs as Daiquiris and Gin & Tonics. The latter were served during a summit called in Bermuda with the British prime minister to discuss the Soviet nuclear threat. When one nuclear scientist punctuated his assessment of how many H-bombs it would take to destroy the U.S. with the request "I'll have another Gin & Tonic if you would be so kind," it summed up the absurdity of the whole affair.

While some presidential preferences seem fitting other are incongruous. Lyndon Johnson, for instance, liked a Cutty Sark and soda, despite being a good ol' Texas boy. Richard Nixon--the jaded "Tricky Dick"--drank the adolescent's favorite Rum & Coke. Ronald Reagan's choice--the Screw Driver, however, makes sense if you consider he governed California, a citrus producer for a drink made from vodka and orange juice.

Jimmy Carter didn't drink much, but his rabble-rousing brother made up for it, marketing his own Billy Beer. When George H.W. Bush drank it was beer and vodka Martinis and likewise Bill Clinton favored brew when he drank. All of which favors Obama's new brewing hobby.

However, if you're not a chief executive, but rather one of the voting millions, you may want to try one of the recipes from Congress Hall before you slip into the ballot booth. Here are the recipes:

The Incumbent
1 part vodka
2 parts lemon-lime soda of choice
1 part pineapple juice
splash of grenadine
whipped cream

The Elephant
1 oz. pomegranate liqueur
1 oz. black cherry rum
1 1/2 oz. pomegranate juice
1 1/2 oz. fresh sour mix (2 parts simple syrup, 2 parts lemon juice, 1 part lime juice)

The Donkey

2 oz Belvedere Vodka
3/4 oz Cointreau
3 tablespoons fresh raspberries, macerated and muddled
1 splash blue Curaçao

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Comments   2 comment(s)

Thomas Person — louisville, KY, USA,  —  September 7, 2012 5:00pm ET

Also on October 14, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed H.R. 1337, which contained an amendment sponsored by Senator Alan Cranston creating an exemption from taxation for beer brewed at home for personal or family use. This exemption went into effect in February 1979 and home brewers have been quite happy ever since.

JACK BETTRIDGE — NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES,  —  September 8, 2012 9:31am ET

Excellent point! Wish I'd remembered to include iy.

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