Review: Party Like a President

Occupying the highest office in the land can take a heavy toll. Fortunately, throughout history many US presidents have figured out the secret to managing the job’s inherent stress: epically blowing off steam. And whether the palliative of choice was women, weed, booze, tobacco or food, the partying proclivities of various POTUSes are expertly chronicled in Brian Abrams’s new book, Party Like a President: True Tales of Inebriation, Lechery, and Mischief from the Oval Office.

Abrams has meticulously combed through the private lives of presidents from George to Barry. In this book, he humorously dispels rumors (sorry, folks—Washington was not a stoner); calls out gluttons (a 250-pound Grover Cleveland earned the nicknamed “Uncle Jumbo”); and examines the nasty sexploits of, um, Warren G. Harding (who supposedly caught gonorrhea from a prostitute and referred to his penis as “Jerry” in love letters to a mistress).

But most of all, Abrams reveals how the inhabitants of the Oval Office liked to get plowed. Think of it like Drunk History, except it’s the leader of the free world, not the storyteller, who’s shit-faced.

Interestingly, this breezy exploration of presidential vice also offers some serious insight into the state of the country under the leadership of each oddly perverse, obnoxiously puritanical or down-to-fuck/down-to-party head of state. On the one hand, we have FDR celebrating the repeal of Prohibition with a beer, and JFK ushering in the swinging ’60s by toking a little weed in the White House; on the other, a priggish Ronald Reagan kicks off the era of “Just Say No” by raising the national drinking age to 21.

Party Like a President includes illustrations by John Mathias and 44 cocktail recipes, each one corresponding to a different administration – so you can honor the office of the presidency by getting hammered one chapter at a time.

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