In honor of the historic turn for Hamilton at the Tony’s, let’s take a look at what you should be drinking to celebrate. The Founding Fathers were some pretty heavy drinkers. So let’s have another round tonight.
George Washington: Porter
Washington may have sold whiskey, but he wasn’t actually a big fan of drinking it. He actually preferred a dark porter, laced with molasses. During his time as president, he only allowed himself to drink American porter, with his favorite being from Philadelphia. He often ordered large amounts to be shipped from his favorite brewer, Robert Hare, to his residency, Federal Hall on Wall Street.
John Adams: Hard Cider
Hard cider used to be incredibly popular in the United States. It was considered to be so low in alcohol that children were allowed to partake in drinking it. This was the case especially because in some places, it was safer to drink hard cider than it was to drink the water. John Adams usually drank hard cider first thing in the morning and at least a tankard every day.
Thomas Jefferson: French Wine
Jefferson always loved wine, drinking heavy and sweet wines like ports and sherries before the Revolution. When he became the ambassador to France, he was introduced to French wines and immediately fell in love. He tried to make similar wines when he returned to Monticello but ultimately failed, leading him to decide to ship wine straight from the French vineyards to the United States. This habit was one of the causes of the growth of Jefferson’s debt toward the end of his life.
James Madison: Champagne
Madison was not actually a very heavy drinker, at least in comparison to the other Founding Fathers. He was a big fan of drinking champagne at parties, but he would never drink more than a few glasses. He was quoted as saying that champagne “was a most delightful wine when drank in moderation, but more than a few glasses always produced a headache the next day.”
James Monroe: Burgundy and Champagne
Like Jefferson, Monroe was a big fan of French wines. He was such a big fan that he caused a bit of an uproar when he charged 1,200 bottles of burgundy and champagne from France to an account that Congress had created for furniture for the Executive Mansion.
Benjamin Franklin: Madeira Wine
Franklin was quoted as saying, “In wine there is wisdom; in beer there is freedom; and in water there is bacteria.” Considering that he was often known for his wisdom, it makes sense that his drink of choice was Madeira wine, an oxidized and fortified wine made in Portugal.
Alexander Hamilton: Water
Surprise! Hamilton actually didn’t take any “shots” and he would not have been partaking in another (or any) rounds. He often wrote about the corruption of the world of tavern life, although he actually did partake in going out to taverns. According to Susan Cheever’s “Drinking in America: Our Secret History,” Hamilton, alongside John Quincy Adams and Abraham Lincoln, was one of the few American historical figures that really just did not drink.