June 24, 2003


In today’s CapitalR blog, Alan RM Jones writes that the author of the celebrated “Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy!” line was “an Iraqi everyman's Rousseau, extolling a Jeffersonian declaration for the divine Rights of Man, a veritable Tom Paine. All right, already. I'll cut the crap. He was just saying 'Let the good times roll!' But it turns out Mr al-Jefferson party animal was close to the mark”:

As America's first president and one of its canniest early entrepreneurs, Washington liked a sip of cinnamon whiskey -- and he distilled his own. More than that, he started a thriving business selling a raw, clear liquor made from rye and corn.

"Two hundred gallons of Whiskey will be ready this day for your call, and the sooner it is taken the better, as the demand for this article (in these parts) is brisk," Washington wrote in a letter to his nephew in October 1799.

Posted by Tim Blair at June 24, 2003 06:37 PM

The reason washington turned to making whiskey was because he was opposed to slavery, wouldn't sell a slave, break up a black family and was supportiung 300 slaves by the time he died, when all were granted manumission in his will.

He would have been fabulously wealthy had he tapped the capital those lives represented. But he didn't. Not quite the picture of the whip-handed oppressor of the black man that modern education depicts.

Posted by: James Madison at June 24, 2003 at 06:43 PM

Washington has to be the most mis-understood president we've ever had. He was in fact and a somewhat baudy man, quick of temper and able to "swear like an angel" at need. He was a womanizer - this was perfectly acceptable in that day and age. But the thing he is most known for, both contemporaneously and now, was his honesty and integrity. No, he didn't cut down any cherry trees, but his reputation for probriety (sp?) was one of the things that kept the Constitutional Congress in Philly that hot summer. Of all the delegates, GW was the only one who was know to have no other ax to grind but the good of the nation. It is a shame that we've lost sight of the real, effective Geroge Washington.

Posted by: rabidfox at June 25, 2003 at 01:06 AM

I think you mean "probity." Yep -- you do. Just checked Dictionary.com. ("Complete and confirmed integrity; uprightness.")

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 25, 2003 at 03:36 AM

As for the Convention. Delegates stayed in "taverns" which we would now call motels with dining facilities, maybe. They got together in groups to eat and drink after the stifling meetings. (The windows were nailed shut to keep the deliberations secret, and it was the hottest summer in Philly on record.) We still have the bill for one of these dinners (there's a book about it somewhere), and, as I recall, at this dinner 12 men consumed 65 bottles of wine (or so). Say 5.5 bottles each.

Our Founders may have been conscientious (I believe so), dedicated (for sure), good practical politicians, and excellent at making things work, but they sure weren't sober types. ;->=

P.S. Washington was also known for his dancing ability and the joy he took in it. Not too shabby for a first Pres.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at June 25, 2003 at 12:41 PM

I have a recipe book with some of the punch concoctions they'd drink in Colonial times. They are all like: whisky, a little more rum, some more whiskey, brandy, sugar, and some lemon juice (optional).

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 25, 2003 at 12:53 PM

Never trust a man who doesn't drink at least a bottle of scotch a day: which is why the dribblers in Spring St are the nasty viscious dicators they are, an M.P can measured by the volume of the good oil they drink.
The communards in Spring St are worth bugger all.

Posted by: d at June 25, 2003 at 04:08 PM