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Are you a Presidential trivia buff or do you barely recognize the guys on their respective bills? Whether past presidents inspire you or remain virtually unknown, we’re getting into President’s Day this year with some very important biographic info — the favorite beverages of our nation’s leaders.

Theodore Roosevelt:

Mint Julip

Celebrated naturalist and lifelong pursuer of “The Strenuous Life,” Teddy also very much knew how to have a good time. Whether he was on horseback, practicing jiu-jitsu, or skinny-dipping in the Potomac, his sporty cowboy ways were a notable inspiration to those around him. And while he famously denied ever drinking to excess, he would sometimes employ a frosty pitcher of Mint Julips to entice his cabinet members to join him in a game of tennis. To whip up your own batch of Teddy’s Julips:

  • Muddle 1 bunch mint with water and 4 sugar cubes
  • Add 8 oz Spirit Works Rye
  • 1oz Brandy
  • Juice of 1/2 lime

Stir pitcher well with lots of ice and serve. Top off with a splash of soda water and garnish with a mint sprig.

Ronald Reagan

Cali Wine

Contrary to many presidents’ famous penchants for Champagne or red Burgundy, President Reagan had a thing for California wines while in office. As a former governor of California, he had obvious ties to the California wine industry and poured his favorites often at presidential dinners, excluding wines from anywhere else during his tenure. He even established a rather covert While House wine cellar.

We would likely find plenty of Cabernet and Chardonnay in Ronald’s cellar, but he was also notably fond of California Pinot Noir. One of our favorite quintessentially California Pinots is the 90+ Cellars Russian River Pinot Noir, with its ripe and boisterous red cherry fruit and a poised counter note of fresh rhubarb acid and light herbaciousness. Cheers to the Chief!

Franklin D. Roosevelt:

Gin Martini

We can’t leave out our main man, FDR — repealer of Prohibition and all-around lover of cocktail hour, he was known especially to enjoy a quality Gin Martini. He had very particular opinions on recipes and would often jump behind the bar at events to mix them himself. From records of these recipes, it appears he would not skimp on powerful flavors, but always opted for quality ingredients. For our FDR-tini, we went with Spirit Works Gin, a California-made grain-to-glass gin that has beautiful purity and a classically-minded balance of botanicals. Here is President Roosevelt’s personal Martini recipe:

  • 2 oz Spirit Works Gin
  • 1 oz Dry Vermouth
  • 1 bar spoon olive brine

Stir with ice until very cold, strain into a chilled coup, and garnish with two olives and a lemon twist.

-Aimee Hutchinson | Wine Manager Top Ten Liquors

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