Which Founding Father Drank Booze For Breakfast?

 signing of the constitution

Independence Day is coming up and, as our Founding Fathers would attest, nothing says America!” quite like an ice cold adult beverage. This July 4th be sure to raise your flag flask proudly and honor their achievements, most notably, being able to write and sign our Declaration of Independence while in an ostensible state of inebriation.

Here’s a rundown of some our patriotic papas’ favorite poisons:

  • Known at the time for his bountiful wine, rum, and brandy consumption, George Washington loved booze so much that he operated his own distillery, where he famously brewed rye whiskey. As owner of the largest distillery in America at the time, Washington produced 11,000 gallons of whiskey in 1799 before his death. You can actually buy and drink Washington’s original whiskey recipe if you can make your way to his reconstructed Mount Vernon distillery and snag one of the 600 limited-edition bottles.
  • A renowned viticulturist, Thomas Jefferson spent much time corresponding with French, German, and Spanish winemakers in search of new recipes to experiment with in his Monticello vineyards. In his time as president, Jefferson would host plenty of booze-filled dinner parties where he served guests $11,000 worth of wine in his eight years in office. Allegedly, Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence while sipping on spirits at his favorite Philadelphia pub.
  • Another wine fiend, Benjamin Franklin (along with Jefferson and the rest of the fathers, not to mention most of colonial America) was quite partial to Madeira wine. The Portuguese wine was touted as “healthy” at the time, and Franklin drank it regularly leading him to famously write the oft misquoted: “Wine: a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.” As a testament to the ferocious drinking of the time, Franklin is credited with penning The Drinker’s Dictionary, where he invented 200 phrases to describe ‘drunkenness.’
  • Admitted to Harvard at age 15, John Adams is also the founding father of college binge drinking. Known to regularly drink beer for breakfast (and spend most days at breweries and nights buying rounds for locals at taverns), Adams showed no signs of easing up on the alcohol as he ascended in politics. Observed to drink a tankard of hard cider nearly every morning, Adams famously wrote to his wife following the blockage of his favorite beverage: “I would give three guineas for a barrel of your cider.”

Bonus Fact: With all their rampant boozing (here’s the actual bar tab from George Washington’s farewell party, hosted for 55 men, just days before the constitution was signed), America’s patriarchs solidified quite a reputation for themselves as boozehounds. So rampant was the alcoholism of the time that lesser known founding father Benjamin Rush, a physician, was one of the first in his field to develop the concept of alcoholism as a disease and raise awareness about its affects when abused.

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