Thanks to a tweet from Mixellany.com (@Mixellany) I read this fun article from Vanity Fair by Alex Beggs on favorite cocktails of our Founding Fathers. It listed some of the preferred alcoholic drinks of past Presidents of the United States from George Washington up to Gerald Ford and also presented an encapsulated view of the history of American happy hour tastes.
Mixed up by Leo Robitschek, these libations bounce from Colonial punches to spritzers to nogs to straight up whiskey, a tale of cocktails as varied as our tales of P.O.T.U.S. Surprisingly, several of these sounded pretty darn good to me, not always the case with many of the vintage drink concoctions of our forefathers. In particular, I really liked the choices of Grant and F.D.R. (probably because I've been on an egg cocktail binge) so I decided to shake them up - with a few Martini Diva tweaks:
AN INTERESTING ASIDE: Beggs mentions in the first sentence that Benjamin Franklin was in the habit of having a hard cider with his breakfast. Today this would be a sign of a drinking problem, however this was not an unusual habit to have back in colonial America where beers, ales and ciders were simply a part of their daily menus. Keep in mind that the early settlers of America believed, like their European counterparts, that alcohol was medicinal. Additionally, drinking water could be dangerous because, even though there was an abundance of water sources, there was no way to tell what was safe and what was polluted and people often sickened or died from tainted water. Add this to the fact that even untainted water, extracted from natural sources, was often full of sediments and mud and required settling or filtering before it was drinkable and it makes sense that Franklin would grab a quick cider instead!
If you like trying out early American cocktails, you might also enjoy my RATTLED SKULL, a modern day version of the popular colonial cocktail, the Rattle Skull.