Presidential Cocktails: History of the White House Wet Bar

Life at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue must be a sundry of events. Running the free world, dinners with Prime Ministers, meetings with the Department of Defense and blowjobs in the oval office, of course. These are only a few of the events that take place in the eighteen acres of property perfectly situated in the nation’s capital. Being president of the free world has got to be one of the most maddening jobs ever. The job is so stressful, some Presidents were driven to the brink of alcoholism just to keep his sanity. Check out this list of the 11 top Presidents who really enjoy boozing it up!

George Washington (1789 – 1797)

George Washington

Although Washington didn’t have the honors of living in The White House, it really didn’t matter. He was quite busy brewing English-style porter beer at his Mt. Vernon residence. And it was quite profitable too. It was noted that during his time in office, he had many a supplier of his ales, and made sure to perfect his very own beer concoction. Maybe the next time you hand over a George Washington on dollar beer night you’ll look at it in a whole new light!

John Adams (1797 – 1801)

John Adams

John Adams love of beer didn’t come from being the Vice President during the term of George Washington. In reality, it was during his early morning breakfast meals that he would drink beer with some bread before heading off to school. Harvard must have been a hoot, getting up and getting sloshed before classes even began!

Martin Van Buren (1837 – 1841)

Martin Van Buren

If the nickname “Blue Whiskey Van” doesn’t make you believe that this President was a major drinker, then I don’t know what else will. He was popular for being able to drink like a fish and hide it from others. However, the gout he developed and his obesity problem probably gave him away in the long run. Even the corset he supposedly wore couldn’t hide his growing belly from view, nor his rounded rosy cheeks either.

Franklin Pierce (1853 – 1857)

Franklin Pierce

This was one President who was undoubtedly known by all to be what one would call a “straight up alcoholic”. His drinking began supposedly from post-traumatic stress before his reign in office began. I guess being in a train wreck will do that to you. When asked what he would be doing after his time in the White House was over, his reply was “There is nothing left…than to get drunk”. Funny thing is, I’m pretty sure that’s how most people feel on an every day basis.

James Buchanan (1857 – 1861)

James Buchanan

Buchanan was known to enjoy many a merry drink in his day. Not sticking to just one kind, he enjoyed champagne, whiskey and cognac, just to name a few. Like his peer Van Buren, Buchanan was known to hold his liquor quite well and preferred his alcohol served in bigger bottles. It was noted that he would become quite upset if his suppliers would bring his liquor in small containers. They probably should have hid all of those gallon bottles and just kept a keg op tap. It’s quite unfortunate that, although he showed no effects on the outside, his insides were probably another story. Whoever thought having gout and dysentery is fun must be a total whack job!

Chester A. Arthur (1881 – 1885)

Chester A. Arthur

Now here’s a President that enjoyed his Saturday nights spent in the company of friends drinking the night away. Undoubtedly, Sunday mornings were a day to be reckoned with. Needing a carriage to bring him to church, considering it wasn’t even a block away, must have caused quite a few sickening reactions. Known to be an excessive drinker, Arthur lived a lavish lifestyle filled with fine wines and after-dinner liqueurs. It must have been great being his cohort while he held such a great seat of power. Talk about having friends in high places.

Grover Cleveland (1885 – 1889 and 1893 – 1897)

Grover Cleveland

Cleveland was known to like his beer. In fact, he liked it so much that he even made a concession with his district attorney competitor Boller, to limit their intake to 4 glasses a day. Apparently, this was not enough for either of them. They conceded their agreement when they both brought giant cases of beer to a saloon after their campaign, which they drank in each other’s company. Why drink alone when you can drink in the presence of your political foes?

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933 – 1945)

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Unlike the other “alcoholics” on this list, Roosevelt was known to enjoy just a couple of drinks here and there. But being President during the time of the Great Depression, while dealing with Hitler to boot, who wouldn’t need a few alcoholic beverages on the side? Good thing that the prohibition was reversed during his time in office and he was able to enjoy his favorite scotch and brandy drinks. The fact that they could simply be poured from a bottle was in his favor and didn’t require any Tom Cruise form of Cocktails mixing. According to his grandson, he was a horrible martini maker. A great president – yes. A bartender – not so much.

Richard Nixon (1969 – 1974)

Richard Nixon

Where Roosevelt wasn’t any good at his martini making skills, Nixon, on the other hand, prided himself in this exact skill. Naming his extra dry martinis “Silver Bullets”, Nixon reportedly could only handle one himself due to a low alcohol tolerance. I guess that’s why when Security Adviser Henry Kissinger intercepted a call from then British Prime Minister Edward Heath, he was quoted telling the operator “When I talked to the President, he was loaded.” He obviously wasn’t talking about Watergate.

George W. Bush (2000 – 2009)

George W. Bush

George W. Bush, better known to many as “W” (pronounced Dubya). What a delight it was to watch him flounder through his presidency like a fish out of water. Although it was reported that he wasn’t too much of a drinker during his time in office, his days before that sure show things differently. Along with other unmentionables he was known to consume. Though there’s no real proof, it is said that he’s been an on and off alcoholic for most of his adult life. Ah, the life of a US President!

Barrack Obama (2009 – Present)

Barrack Obama

Reports on the non-alcoholic nature of Barrack Obama are highly suspect. Some reports say that he was told by his doctors that he needed to stop both his excessive drinking and smoking. He dutifully promised Michelle he would quit smoking cigarettes before his presidential run. But it’s quite possible that he still enjoys a toke or two of the whacky tobacky every once in awhile. To many American’s glee, it has been throughout his Presidency that there has been legalization of marijuana in quite a few states. No wonder so many voted him back into the Oval office for a second run. He’s also been known to host cocktail parties in the White House in hopes of coming to agreements with the opposing side. As political consultant John Dickerson wrote: “Sobering times do not necessarily require everyone to be sober.” Aye, Aye, Mr. President!

So drink up America! If the leaders of this great nation have proved anything, it’s that alcohol makes the world a much more enjoyable place. Even Napoleon and Churchill liked to kick up their heels and down a few jiggers every once in awhile. Just like in the wise words of Quentin Reynolds, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Cheers!

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