The Boozy Beverage Young John Adams Drank For Breakfast

When one thinks of the stately collective known as the Founding Fathers, one imagines a stuffy, perfectly sober group of white men. But it's time to rethink that "sober" designation.  

In colonial times, according to Smithsonian Magazine, Americans drank hard alcohol three times as much as we currently do. Keep in mind that this kind of drinking wasn't done for the buzz, but for a safe alternative to the often contaminated water on hand. Yes, even children drank the hard stuff, including a molasses and hard cider cocktail known as "ciderkin." Unsurprisingly, our Founding Fathers were no exception, enjoying boozy tipples in the name of personal health. Each man had his own preference. Benjamin Franklin preferred creamy cocktails like milk punch, while Thomas Jefferson was a renowned oenophile, importing bottle upon bottle of Portuguese Madeira to his Monticello estate. 

John Adams too had a love for adult beverages, with one refreshing brew in particular reserved for breakfast. No simple cup of tea or coffee would do for this president — Adams preferred something a bit stronger for his morning routine. 

A cider a day keeps the doctor away

For Adams, the best part of waking up was cider in his cup. Described as an "eye-opener," a 3- to 4-ounce shot of hard cider was expected to help combat colds and other troublesome illnesses. It was a habit Adams picked up at 16 while attending Harvard University, where other young gentlemen scholars began their morning with a medicinal dose of hard cider. He would later reminisce that he would "never forget how refreshing and salubrious [healthy-giving]" this morning tipple was, per Insider.

Adams carried this cider habit into his adulthood, beginning his mornings punctually at 8 a.m. with the apple-forward brew. Only while in Philadelphia did Adams abstain from morning cider, opting for the local beers instead. When moving into the White House, First Lady Abigail Adams made sure that a number of her husband's favorite things were stocked in the kitchen, including his cider of choice. As for his nighttime drinking habits, our second president shared Jefferson's penchant for Madeira wine. Adams would pass this love of the Portuguese wine on to his son, John Quincy Adams, who was rumored to have been able to identify 11 out of 14 brands of Madeira in a blind taste test. 

With this intoxicated history in mind, consider toasting the late great John Adams at breakfast — er, better make that brunch — with his favorite form of juice: hard apple cider.