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Our Founding Fathers Loved to Tipple

It is hard to believe just how much alcohol was consumed daily by our forefathers back in the late 18th Century.  Perhaps it made them cranky and argumentative, especially with the British government.  Water was not on the menu.  OJ was not the juice for breakfast.  It was hard cider.  At least they got some apple juice, even if it was well spiked.  Or they might have started out with beer.

The day progressed with more beer and/or cider, eventually graduating to wine, Madeira (a fortified wine) and a glass or two of rum to ensure sound sleep.  Here’s a quick look at the drinking habits of our first three Presidents, which obviously had no deleterious effect on their long and productive lives.

George Washington loved his wine and was known to have three or four glasses with dinner.  He also enjoyed spirits and built a distillery at Mount Vernon that produced 11,000 gallons in 1799, the year he died.  He was 67.

John Adams drank cider for breakfast and had three glasses of Madeira at bedtime..  Did you know that Madeira was used to toast the signing of the Constitution?  John Adams lived to be 90 and died July 4, 1826 just five hours a head of Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson was something of a Francophile having spent some years there and had toured Bordeaux.  As President, he imported 20,000 bottles of French wine for his private cellar.  He died July 4, 1826 at the age of 83.

Let’s end with a quote from Benjamin Franklin, not a President but a famous and extraordinary Founder:

Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy


Happy Fourth of July!