Bookstores recently got a new guide to executive boozing in the form of Mint Juleps with Teddy Roosevelt: The Complete History of Presidential Drinking. We decided to check out Mark Will-Weber's book ourselves for some of the headiest, most interesting tales of commander-in-chief cocktail parties, and we were not disappointed. These eight stories were our favorites, but if you're dying to hear the dirt on all 43 presidents (Millard Fillmore's temperance pledge is a doozy), make sure to get a copy yourself. In the meantime, here's all the presidential bathtub gin that's fit to print:
Monroe was into a a truly lethal punch
While he was visiting Savannah in 1819, James Monroe apparently tried Chatham Artillery Punch, which he described at the time as "suave and deceitful". If by "deceitful", he meant "secretly housing enough liquor to knock out an ogre", well, he was right. The recipe calls for 1.5 gallons of scuppernong wine, a 1/2 gallon of rum, 1.5 quarts of rye whiskey, 1 quart of brandy, 1 quart of gin, a 1/2 pint of Bénédictine liqueur, and a case of Champagne. (Plus some tea and fruit.) Clearly, that Chatham Artillery knew how to party.
Jackson's inauguration party was a real rager
When the people's president Andrew Jackson was sworn into office, an estimated crowd of 10,000 to 30,000 swarmed his carriage on the way to the White House (or, as it was called then, the Executive Mansion). And they were not exactly Washington aristocrats. Scruffy and "vulgar" supporters invaded the place, messing up fancy chairs, breaking china, and dipping generously into the spiked punch bowl. In fact, the president's staff had to place buckets of punch and wine outside to get them to go home -- people were soon climbing out of windows to get to that hard stuff, stumbling and screaming, "Huzzah!" all the way out.