Jim Hewes has worked at the Willard InterContinental Hotel for 27 years and in that time he's learned a lot about the hotel and the people, including presidents, who have stayed there. "I'm somewhat of a student of history," Hewes, who bartends at the hotel's Round Robin bar, told Yeas & Nays. "I used to go to garage sales and stuff and I'd see a history book and I'd go right to Willard. You accumulate information over time."
Hewes has accumulated enough knowledge to put together a list of 44 drinks, one for each president. (Though two for Grover Cleveland). "Other places will come out with presidential cocktails, and it's a one timer. They look cute. They have cute names or whatever, but there's no lasting power to them," he said.
All the drinks are linked to the president anecdotally, whether it be California sparkling wine, something that Ronald Reagan introduced to Washingtonians at his first inaugural, or apple cider, for President Abraham Lincoln's appreciation of apples. "It's not rocket science," Hewes said. "George W. is diet cola and lemon -- it's a no brainer he didn't drink."
Neither did President Rutherford B. Hayes, but his drink at the Willard is an Orange Blossom because White House reporters at the time bribed the staff to spike the oranges. "If you knew to ask for that special tray of oranges down the other end of the table you were getting a little juice," Hewes laughed.
The entire list of cocktails is available over inauguration and priced from $5 to $15.