Sign of the Times: Bush's Buckler

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The opening of the reconstructed Mount Vernon distillery where George Washington first stewed his hooch got us wondering about the history between politicians and their booze. And it seems to be a rich one. With the help of Willard Intercontinental Hotel bar manager Jim Hewes and Ben Jenkins of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, we learned that Honest Abe Lincoln ran a saloon and his father toiled at Kentucky's Boone Distillery on Knob Creek, now the name of a fancy small-batch whiskey. FDR fancied Scotch and brandy. Richard Nixon's medicine was rum and Coke. Of late, we've shared Miller Lites in Kennebunkport, Maine, with former President Bush, though his successors—Bill Clinton and Bush son George—don't drink. But neither banned booze in the executive mansion: White House guests are still offered top-shelf liquor, and we're told that Bush has nonalcoholic Buckler beer chilling at his Texas ranch. And finally, with the Kentucky Derby coming up, we went to the state's elder senator, Mitch McConnell, for his recommendations on making a mint julep. "One key ingredient," he says: Kentucky bourbon.;