While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.
Wine rules! Appropriately enough, February 18 is both Presidents' Day and National Drink Wine Day.
It might be coincidence that Presidents' Day and National Wine Day coincide, but our nation’s leaders would probably find it fitting. That’s because since the signing of the Declaration of Independence, American presidents have enjoyed drinking wine. So much so that our Founding Fathers celebrated the event with glasses of Madeira.
Not every president enjoyed wine, some preferred spirits and some like Lincoln didn’t drink much at all.
Every move of the current President is documented in detail, but historians have to search through journal entries and letters to learn about the daily routines of our First President.
“We know that George Washington’s step-granddaughter, Nelly, wrote that George Washington’s favorite breakfast was hoecakes swimming in butter and honey,” said Melissa Wood of the Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens. The recipe is on display until August 2013 as part of the “Hoecakes & Hospitality: Cooking with Martha Washington” exhibit at the Mount Vernon museum.
In honor of George Washington’s 280th birthday, four Washington, D.C. chefs were invited to his Mount Vernon home to recreate the first President’s favorite breakfast. Each culinary team invoked its own twist as they cooked modern versions over open fire pits for guests who were touring the estate.
Bartender Todd Thrasher shares a taste of Old Town Alexandria with Brianna Keilar at neo-speakeasy PX.
Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
When it comes to Presidents and wine, there’s pretty much one name floating around out there: Thomas Jefferson.
Sure, Reagan enjoyed Beaulieu Vineyards' Private Reserve Cabernet, and Nixon was a fan of first-growth Bordeaux (and, somewhat surprisingly, Riesling from the Mosel’s Bernkasteler Doctor vineyard), but Jefferson put them all to shame. He made a number of attempts to grow grapes and make wine at his Monticello estate; during the five years he served as U.S. Minister to France, he undertook at least two lengthy tours of French, Italian and German wine regions; he had wine shipped to him in the U.S. from many of Europe's greatest estates; and he built a subterranean wine cellar for himself, complete with iron-barred, fortified, double-locked door (no one was getting their greedy hands on ol' Thomas J's private stash).
So what did Jefferson drink? A lot of things: Madeira, Port, Sauternes, Bordeaux (he was particularly fond of Château Haut-Brion), Champagne, Hermitage, Rhine and Mosel Riesling, Sherry, Tuscan reds, Volnay and Montrachets from Burgundy, you name it.
In any case, here are a few wines from some of his favorite regions; drink a glass or two, then write yourself a Declaration of Independence. Always a great thing to do with a spare evening.