Monday, February 9, 2015

Mint Juleps With Teddy Roosevelt: The Complete History of Presidential Drinking by Mark Will-Weber | Book Review

Mint Juleps with Teddy Roosevelt: The Complete History of Presidential Drinking

I found Mint Juleps With Teddy Roosevelt to be rather "meh," but that could be my own fault.  I think I had some preconceived notions as to what I wanted this book to be, more than what it was.

What this book is:
  • A mostly complete history of Presidential drinking.
  • Very well-researched.
  • Very fair.
  • A bit redundant in places.
  • Very dry.  (Like I like my martinis.)
What this book isn't:
  • A cocktail "cookbook" of Presidential favorite libations.
  • Very thorough.
Mint Juleps With Teddy Roosevelt is divided chapter-by-chapter by President, in chronological order.  Each President gets nearly exactly the same number of pages. This is great for those two fans of William Henry Harrison; not so great for fans of G. Washington.  Because each President only gets a handful of pages, there's no room for backstory or setting, so I was sometimes a little confused.  I also found it odd that the author so often set rather insignificant events as backdrops for drinking, rather than big, obvious things.  For instance, the Lincoln chapter barely mentioned the Civil War, but it went into some discussion of his campaign for election.

I had absolutely no reason to expect this, so it's all my fault and not the author's or the publisher's, but for some reason I thought there'd be a cocktail recipe for each President.  There were 4 or 5 libation instructions, but not nearly as many as I'd hoped for.  One thing that may be of interest to some folks is George Washington's homebrew beer instructions.  In case you want to make a smallbatch of the first (and in my opinion, greatest) President's beer!

This was a  lengthy and text-heavy book, liberally sprinkled with some fun facts about the Presidents' drinking habits.  I don't regret reading it, but I'm not going around recommending it willy nilly.

*I checked out my copy of Mint Juleps With Teddy Roosevelt from my local library.

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