View Full Version : White House bourbons

11-07-2000, 15:00
I read somewhere that 12-yr-old Very Special Old Fitzgerald was *the bourbon* of choice served by many former Presidents in the White House. Can our historians verify this? Certainly Eagle Rare, with its patriotic bird and stars label deserves some shelf space at 1600 Penn. Ave. Just wondering if there are other favorites served to dignitaries asking for a taste of America's spirit.

Then again, maybe they just get Jack and Coke on the rocks.


11-07-2000, 17:56
Don't know about the White House (after all, those folks are only transients) but I've heard that Virginia Gentleman has long been a favorite among the more long-term folks inside the belt. Then again, these are professional politicians... it really depends on who's buying :-))


11-08-2000, 14:11
In his book, Whiskey, An American Pictorial History, Oscar Getz reproduced a cartoon from a 1964 edition of Esquire Magazine that purported to indicate the drinking preferences of all the US presidents to that date. In the book, the Oscar Getz Museum had updated it through Carter. Here are the ones that mention bourbon or whiskey.

Carter-"A little bourbon in his tea."
Andrew Johnson-"Tennessee Whiskey"
Harding-"Whiskey or wine"
Lyndon Johnson-"Scotch"
Wilson-"Scotch and Soda"
Franklin Roosevelt-"An Old Fashioned"
Truman-"Bourbon and branch"
Tyler-"Mint Julep...bourbon"

From other sources, we know Grant preferred the bourbon made by Dr. James C. Crow.

If there is any evidence that Old Fitz 12 is a White House staple, Sally Campbell probably would have mentioned it in her book and I didn't notice anything there.

That said, they could do worse.

--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)

11-08-2000, 14:27
In "A History of the American People," Paul Johnson reports that Truman "...invariably rose at 5 AM, shaved, dressed, then took a vigorous walk... Then back to the White House for a shot of bourbon, a rubdown, and breakfast. He was at his desk by 7 AM..."

11-09-2000, 09:24
Starting the day with a shot of whiskey was a very common practice on the US frontier, but I would not have imagined it was still being practiced by the President of the United States in the late 1940s. Very interesting.

--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)

Andy Traxel
11-09-2000, 20:56
Harry Truman was supposed to be a throwback in a number of ways. There's a story in Merle Miller's bio of Truman about a woman's group seeing Bess at the White House. Amongst other topics, they asked her if she could try to get the President to stop saying "crap" in public. Bess replied that it had taken her 25 years to get him to say "crap".

Can't picture either George or Al uttering such a thing in public.