Nixon’s Favorite Tiki Drink and Other Presidential Cocktail Trivia
The White House can be a fishbowl. From inauguration forth, every detail of the presidential life (holiday decorations, pets’ names) falls under scrutiny.
And the public, particularly the drinking public, assigns an even greater significance to what the commander in chief drinks.
Some presidents, mindful of the world’s gaze, sip carefully or abstain completely. Others toss caution to the wind in favor of drinks that project their personalities (and lessen the stresses of running a country).
Below are a few of the latter.
George Washington: whiskey
Some rumors about George Washington are patently false. For instance, he never wore wooden dentures (they were actually made from human teeth and hippopotamus ivory). One legend is true, however: Washington did operate the nation’s largest whiskey distillery in his day, producing nearly 11,000 gallons in 1799.
James Garfield: Dewar’s
When Garfield was inaugurated to his short-lived presidency in 1881, industrialist Andrew Carnegie shipped him a congratulatory case of Dewar’s scotch.
Harry S. Truman: Old Grand-Dad bourbon
Truman wasn’t exactly known for overindulging in drink, but he did have one unusual habit: taking down a shot of bourbon following his morning walk before breakfast.
John F. Kennedy: daiquiris
The thought of JFK slurping a daiquiri may surprise you, but rest assured: the sugary, candy-colored daiquiris of today are a far cry from the tart libation he helped popularize.
Richard Nixon: tiki drinks
Before Nixon ever croaked “I’m not a crook” on national TV, he served in the Navy with the South Pacific Combat Air Transport Command during World War II. The experience evidently left him with a taste for the tropical. During his presidency, he could often be spotted sipping mai tais at Trader Vic’s, the famed Polynesian-themed bar with a location just a few blocks from the White House.
Illustrations by Dav Yendler, Groupon
Halley is a Chicago writer with southern roots. When she isn't typing, she enjoys cooking without recipes and designing garments for her upcoming clothing line, Ambidestre.