FDR the Mixologist

by Will on September 21, 2010

Eleanor Roosevelt has the dirt:

If truth be known, Franklin used to make the most terrible Martinis. I don’t drink Martinis, but everyone always said they were perfectly awful. However, people drank them with zest because he had made them.

My guess is that FDR may have followed Churchill’s habit of making martinis with no vermouth: serving, in other words, a cup of cold gin. This is what most bartenders do these days, and it’s most regrettable. Technically speaking, it’s not even a cocktail. My best guess about how Churchill came to this strange recipe, meanwhile, is that it was because vermouth is French, and gin English, and that was all Churchill needed to know. But it’s quite possible he just had a bad experience with vermouth. Like most wine, it goes bad if you don’t keep it cold.

I have a bartending gig this Saturday (I think!) and I’m dreading the prospect of having to make vodka martinis for some misguided souls, a true exercise in pointlessness. When guests ask for these at the apartment I refuse to make them: gin martini, or no martini! But being didactical and being pleasantly obsequious are ends rather at odds with one another.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Elliott Terman September 9, 2012 at 6:01 pm

I read, in one of the better known biographies of FDR, that most of the drinks served at his “children’s hour” went to watering the plants that were near the outer walls of the “party” room.


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