Go to triangular compass
Left arrow

Foxed and Ossified- Founding Father's Drinks of Choice

Serotonin drop
Serotonin drop
US History
US History
July 1, 2024
Share on Twitter
Share on Facebook
Share on Linkedin
Copy Link

Stay Up to Date on American Grit

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

When you think of the Founding Fathers, you probably envision solemn portraits, quill pens, and historic documents. Not an entirely unjustified view, certainly, but that doesn’t mean these titans of history didn’t also partake in tying one on. Here's what our in-house historians think what they would have drank the most.

Bonus lesson! Here's some colonial words for being drunk: Bosky, Pottled, Foxed, Ossified, Sottish, Top-heavy, Crapulous, Befuddled, Groggy.

George Washington: The Beer Baron

George Washington, the first President of the United States, had a soft spot for beer. Not only did he enjoy drinking it as most people did at that time, but he also brewed it himself at Mount Vernon, and a bottle a day was given to the servants who worked there. Washington's favorite recipe included molasses, which he believed added a unique flavor. This was the 18th century though, so Washington’s beer was likely far less refined than today’s craft brews. Think of it as a hearty, rustic ale; perfect for a man who spent much of his life in the field.

Thomas Jefferson: The Wine Enthusiast

Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, was a renowned wine connoisseur. During his time as ambassador to France, he developed a taste for fine wines and even attempted to cultivate European grapevines at Monticello. Jefferson’s wine cellar was legendary, and he believed that a well-stocked cellar was essential for a gentleman. If he were alive today, he’d probably have a wine-tasting blog and be insufferable at parties.

Benjamin Franklin: The Rum Aficionado

Benjamin Franklin, one of the most colorful characters of the American Revolution, had a penchant for rum. Franklin’s love for the spirit was well-documented, and he often wrote about its virtues. He even coined the phrase, “In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is Freedom, in water there is bacteria.” Franklin’s affinity for rum was partly practical. During his time in the Caribbean, rum was plentiful and often safer to drink than water. Rum rations in the navies of the day weren’t about being sloshed on a sloop as much as not getting a disease from barreled standing water.

John Adams: The Cider Sipper

John Adams, the second President of the United States, had a fondness for hard cider. He reportedly started his day with a glass of the hard juice drink, believing it to be a healthy and invigorating way to kick off his morning. Adams’ cider habit was so ingrained that he continued it throughout his life. Maintaining a slight buzz would certainly help Adams maintain a diplomatic calm but might not make for the sharpest wit.

Alexander Hamilton: The Whiskey Advocate

Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury, played a crucial role in the early American economy, and as a man of intellect his drink of choice was whiskey. Hamilton even imposed the first excise tax on whiskey, which led to the infamous Whiskey Rebellion. Despite the controversy, Hamilton’s tax on whiskey was one of the first federal taxes in the United States. It’s ironic that he enjoyed the very spirit he taxed so heavily, but at least he put his money where his booze was.

James Madison: The Madeira Man

James Madison, known as the “Father of the Constitution,” preferred Madeira wine, a fortified wine from Portugal. Madison’s love for this wine was well-known, and he often served it at official functions. Madeira was a popular choice among the Founding Fathers because it was one of the few wines that could withstand the long sea voyage to America without spoiling, but Madison made it a passion.

The Founding Fathers weren’t just political revolutionaries; they were also connoisseurs of fine (and sometimes not-so-fine) alcoholic beverages. Each drink choice tells a story about the personal tastes of these historic figures. So, next time you raise a glass, remember the eclectic mix of beverages that fueled the American Revolution and consider how your drink stacks up.

send a letter to congress
Adds section
Next Up
Colonial POWs: Remembering the 8,500 Patriots That Died in Captivity

Colonial POWs: Remembering the 8,500 Patriots That Died in Captivity

July 2, 2024
Not all soldier’s battles ended on the field of combat
 How Military Families End Up With Massive Hospital Bills

How Military Families End Up With Massive Hospital Bills

November 3, 2023
Facing Tricare's limitations: From complex admin processes to gaps in mental health.