Sunset Cocktail: McKinley’s Delight for President’s Day

3 oz. James E. Pepper 1776 Rye
1 oz. Dolin Rouge Vermouth
2 dashes Kirschwasser
1 dash St. George Absinthe

Stir everything with ice and strain into a chilled Old Fashioned glass.

Happy President’s Day for you all you here in the States. For all of you outside of the States, I hope our current political situation is providing you with some terrifying entertainment. This President’s Day will be much happier with a few of our 25th president, William McKinley’s favorite drinks. They are very, very strong drinks back from a time where our leaders weren’t… who am I kidding, politicians have always been asshats and politics has always been a shitshow. Drink plenty, seek truth and bite deeply.

At first I figured on using and old, old name in Rye with a few measures of Old Overholt, but the recipe I found specifically called for 100 proof Rye, so I went with the ever more patriotic 1776 Rye from James E. Pepper. The recipe also called for Cherry Brandy in which I used Kirsch and, lastly, I figured I’d use a good ole ‘Murican Absinthe for this patriotic day. I guessed a bit at the process and glass style for making this quite robust cocktail but it seemed to make sense.

I came across a fun article from the New York Post that I got this recipe from which relates the favorite drinks of all of our previous presidents from George Washington who, himself, owned a whiskey distillery (though he was known for enjoying a Port laced with Molasses more than Whiskey) to our most recent ex President Obama who had his own brewer with their own White House Honey Ale with honey from their own White House hives. It seems that very few presidents completely abstained from drinking, even Warren G. Harding sneaked a dram of whiskey while he was out golfing as president during prohibition.

Both Lincoln and Jimmy Carter rarely drank but they did so in polite social situations and good old George W did happen to quit after a unsurprisingly misspent youth. As far as I can gather, the only presidents that never drank are our 24th president, Benjamin Harrison, who “leaned more toward God than Demon Alcohol” and the 42nd, motherfucking Donald Trump. I don’t trust a person who doesn’t drink unless he’s a recovering quitter.

Some wise words from our iconic 32nd president, FDR himself, that I strive to live by… “a gentleman learns his capacity and tries not to exceed it. If he must drink to excess, he does so when he has no call to be in touch with anyone else.” … though I don’t know too many of you that would ever refer to me as a gentleman and it could explain why I’m really bad at staying in touch with anyone.

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