One of the more fun-filled presidential facts I remember reading years ago had to do with what our forefathers drank while composing the Constitution of the United States of America and all those endless late-night meetings they attended.
They drank Madeira, and lots of it. Why is that you may be wondering? During the Revolutionary War it was the only wine available from Europe. The British being the rulers of the Seven Seas back then forbade other European countries from shipping goods to the Colonies.
But Madeira happened to be outside the boundaries of the ban being out in the middle of the north Atlantic Ocean and was unaffected by this decree.
There was plenty of homemade beer in the Colonies. In his early teens John Adams started his day drinking beer for breakfast, and by the time he began his days at Harvard at age 15, it was a daily regimen.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate was completely self-sufficient. There were vegetable gardens, farms, orchards, smokehouses, root cellars and brew houses where beer, cider and wine were fermented. Washington would drink home-made beverages and Madeira wine with the abundance of the land: game, fowl, pork, beef, plantation grown fruits and vegetables, fish from local rivers and a little port with the puddings or cream trifles served up at a state dinner.
President Thomas Jefferson was America’s first wine connoisseur with a studied preference for Bordeaux and Burgundy and Champagne. He brought back cuttings from his European travels and had them planted on his estate in Virginia. The first vinifera vines planted on the east coast.
President James Madison was small and slender and not much is said about what his preferences were, however, his wife, Dolly, was quite the entertainer at White House dinners. This remarkable woman was raised Quaker and yet entertained royally with beer and wine.
Springfield, Illinois was the stomping grounds for President Abraham Lincoln when he began as a circuit lawyer and then senator. It’s where his family home, tomb and presidential library are located. But few know his boyhood Kentucky farm was named Knob Creek Farm. Knob Creek Bourbon was named to honor Honest Abe and his Kentucky roots. Probably would have been tasty in the hot black coffee that was his drink of choice.