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Cocktails for the Commander: Herbert Hoover

Cocktails for the Commander: Herbert Hoover

Herbert Hoover

  • 31st President
  • 1929-1933
A Chicken in Every Pot and a Car in Every Garage

Herbert Hoover ran as the dry candidate against wet supporter A.L. Smith in 1928. Hoover's campaign fully supported the 18th Amendment and acknowledged the need for organization and enforcement of the law.

The ideal was prosperity but the reality was that the Stock Market was soon to crash. Hoover entered the White House just before America entered a very dark period.

The depression left Americans hungry, homeless, jobless, and thirsty. Yearning for something to ease their worry and fear, help them forget about their loss, or perhaps, numb the pain a bit. Unfortunately, the substance Americans craved was illegal.

Current Opinion + Policy

Hoover had the honor of presiding over the United States during the dark days of the Depression. Just months after taking office, Wall Street crashed on Black Tuesday 1929. Hoover entered the White House during a unique period in United States history. Americans, and most public servants, had come to the realization that Prohibition was a failure. Hoover, on the other hand, was an outspoken supporter of the 18th Amendment calling it a:

Noble Experiment

During a presidential visit to the Philadelphia  World Series, Hoover was taunted by the exurbent crowd with chants proclaiming:

We want beer! We want beer!

Image below: 1929 President Hoover + First Lady at World Series (source)

President Hoover at World Series 1929

As if to save the President from the protesting crowd, Hoover received a message about the death of a senator giving him cause to leave the game. Again, to raucous chants of:

We want beer! We want beer!

Favorite Cocktail

Before his presidency, as Commerce Secretary, Hoover was known to stop by the Belgian Embassy for a martini. Technically, he was not breaking the law since the Embassy was considered foreign soil.

Hoover enjoyed a Martini and often did so with Hugh Gibson, considered the namesake of the Gibson Martini in some circles.

Cocktail Image Source

The Martini Set (below) belonged to Gibson and was gifted, by his son, to President Hoover.

Image: Gibson's Martini Set-Gifted to Hoover (source)

Hugh Gibson's Martini Set

White House

First Lady

First Lady, Lou Hoover, was a great supporter of the Volstead Act. In her opinion, the White House should be a symbol for American homes and refused to serve alcoholic beverages to guests. Legend has it that when Prohibition was passed into law, Lou Hoover dumped her husband's extensive wine collection.

The Volstead Act

 To prohibit intoxicating beverages, and to regulate the manufacture, production, use, and sale of high-proof spirits for other than beverage purposes, and to insure an ample supple of alcohol and promote its use in scientific research and in the development of fuel, dye, and other lawful industries.

Interesting Facts

Watch an old news reel introducing the 1928 candidates. (silent)

Image source: Gibson Martini

Source Material

Please visit the Cocktails for the Commander Source Information page for a complete list of materials used to research Presidential/cocktail history.

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  • Jennifer Benson
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