Presidents’ Day – The Women Behind The Men

In celebration of Presidents’ Day, it only seems right to also honor the women who stood beside the great leaders of our country.  These women did not choose to run for First Lady, but each chose to use her role to address the important issues facing the government and the nation.    Although the position of First Lady has evolved over the centuries, she is neither elected nor salaried.  She is chief hostess of the White House and is largely responsible for many social and ceremonial events. By vow of marriage, she is not just a wife and homemaker, but she is our leading socialite; she sets trends and influences style. She is America’s power woman.

Whiskey is the power drink – the epic booze of America.  From dusty Old West saloons to the backdoor speakeasies of Prohibition to today’s trendiest clubs, the liquor has played a relevant part in  our history.  In fact, during Prohibition whiskey was so important that 75,000 permits were granted to politicians and businessmen for the medicinal use of the liquid.  In the spirit of today’s American holiday and in true “Whiskey Dame” fashion, I hereby dedicate four whiskey drinks to four of my favorite First Ladies.

THE SOCIALITE

Dolley Madison

17 Years younger than her husband James Madison, Dolley was one of the most well-loved first ladies.  With her enthusiasm for public life, she was regarded for her social gifts and for playing a key role in her husband’s popularity as president.  She redefined the role of First Lady by boldly assuming that the citizenry was her constituency as well as that of her husband, thus setting a standard for her successors to uphold.

DRINK – MINT JULEP

Innovative in nature, it’s tiny ice bubbles and addition of a drinking straw redefine what a whiskey cocktail could be.

THE INFLUENCER

Eleanor Roosevelt

Often seen as the most inspiring and influential first lady, Eleanor served for the longest term – twelve years, one month, one week and one day!  She also was the only First Lady to serve during two traumatic national events; The Great Depression and World War II.  But above all this, she compassionately tended to her physically challenged husband who suffered from polio.  Eleanor also worked tirelessly on New Deal proposals, stood up for civil rights and often stepped in for her husband.  Causing a huge scene among the press, this true women’s rights advocate instituted an open ban on male reporters resulting in the elevation of women into the ranks of professional journalism.

DRINK – OLD FASHIONED

A strong concoction complemented with sweet tastes of cherry and orange.  The first cocktail ever created, it inspired the birth of the mixology generation.

THE TRENDSETTER

Jacqueline Kennedy

Jacqueline openly declared that as First Lady her priorities were her children and maintaining her family’s privacy.  She felt the White House was important not only as a home for her family but as a home to the American people. To this end, she immediately began to redecorate the family quarters and restored the public rooms with impeccable taste as well as historical accuracy. Affectionately know as Jackie, she was perhaps our most beautiful First Lady. At five foot eight with brown hair and brown eyes, she was revered internationally for her poise and dignity and her unerring fashion sense.

DRINK – MANHATTAN

A classic drink that is definitely strong, a bit sweet and absolutely fantastic.

THE POWER WOMAN

Hillary Clinton

Extremely intelligent and powerful, Hillary was the first First Lady to hold a postgraduate degree and to maintain her own professional career up to the time of entering the White House.  As First Lady, she achieved an abundance of firsts, including being the only President’s wife who occupied her own office in the West Wing in addition to the usual First Lady offices in the East Wing.  Hillary played a central role in influencing public policy as well.  Bill Clinton often boasted that each time he was elected, the country was getting “two for the price of one”.

DRINK – WHISKEY NEAT

A powerful drink, straight up with no frills and a backbone.

What whiskey cocktail defines you?

Happy Presidents’ (and First Ladys’) Day!

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