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Every U.S President's Favorite Drink, From Bermuda Swizzles To "Hot Clear Soup"

Today, I bring you a story that prompted Takeout editor Kevin Pang to say this on Slack:

So here you go, here's every U.S. president's favorite drink, courtesy of the Hanford Sentinel and Mark Will-Weber's book Mint Juleps with Teddy Roosevelt: The Complete History of Presidential Drinking. The most popular libation: whiskey.

Some other highlights, before we run down the list: John Adams, like Harry Truman, started drinking bright and fuckin' early by downing a hard cider almost every morning. He also enjoyed "porter beer, rum and copious amounts of Madeira." James Monroe caused a scandal "when 1,200 bottles of Burgundy and Champagne from France were charged to an account that Congress had earmarked for furniture." And, according to Will-Weber, when an aide told Zachary Taylor that the Whig party wanted him to be their nominee, he allegedly replied "Stop your nonsense and drink your whiskey!"

And here's the best one:

Franklin Pierce earned Will-Weber's nod as the drunkest president in American history. According to the writer, Pierce "drank a lot of everything" and once said after leaving office, "What can an ex-president of the United States do except get drunk?"

He died of cirrhosis of the liver at age 65.

We bow deeply to the folks at the Hanford Sentinel for doing the leg-work, and we encourage Takeout readers to give 'em a click or three. But we also thought it was a public service to organize this list of Presidential Drinkery by drink, which is exactly what we've done here:


  • Madeira: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Millard Fillmore, James Buchanan
  • Sherry: James Buchanan, James K. Polk
  • Champagne: James Madison, John Tyler, James K. Polk, Ulysses S. Grant, William Howard Taft
  • Wine, specific: Jimmy Carter (white), Calvin Coolidge (Tokay), James Monroe (red), Richard Nixon (red and expensive)
  • Wine, just wine: Ronald Reagan, Thomas Jefferson, Chester A. Arthur, Herbert Hoover, James K. Polk

Spirits and cocktails

  • Whiskey, general: Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, Zachary Taylor, Andrew Johnson, Warren G. Harding
  • Whiskey, specific: Woodrow Wilson, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Dwight D. Eisenhower (scotch); Franklin D. Roosevelt (Manhattan); Harry Truman (bourbon, Old Fashioneds); William McKinley (rye, had a cocktail named for him)
  • Mint Julep: Teddy Roosevelt
  • Bloody Mary: John F. Kennedy (also liked daiquiris and Heineken)
  • Orange Blossom Special: Ronald Reagan (with vodka)
  • Martini: Herbert Hoover (dry), F.D.R. (gin), George H.W. Bush (vodka), Gerald Ford (lunch)
  • Rum: John Adams, F.D.R. (Bermuda rum swizzles)
  • After-dinner liqueurs: Chester A. Arthur

Beer, cider, and beer-cider

  • Hard cider: William Henry Harrison, John Adams
  • Beer: James Garfield, George H.W. Bush, Barack Obama, Chester A. Arthur (ale specifically), Grover Cleveland (once vowed to drink only four beers per day)
  • "Dark porter beer": George Washington, John Adams
  • Snakebite: Bill Clinton (equal parts cider and lager)


  • Everything: Franklin Pierce

Teetotaler (or almostotaler) contingent

  • Non-alcoholic stuff: Rutherford B. Hayes, who added rum flavoring instead of rum to a White House punch
  • Tea: Benjamin Harrison (also "hot clear soup")
  • Water: Abraham Lincoln
  • Diet Cola: George W. Bush
  • Diet Cola brought to him by a butler after he pushes the little bullshit button he had installed on his damn desk: Donald Trump