Most presidents are defined by their action (or inaction) in the country, not their tastes.
But today, Presidents’ Day, I wanted to spotlight a certain president who did have a rather unique interest in what, at the time, was a rather exotic flavor.
Our 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt, was known to have definite culinary opinions and specific favorite foods. According to Poppy Cannon and Patricia Brooks in the 1968 book The Presidents’ Cookbook, Teddy’s one great gourmet interest was gourmet tea. According to Poppy and Patty, his most favored tea was Hu-Kwa, the characteristically smoky tea commonly known as Lapsang Souchong.
It seemed that he much preferred his teas to his alcohol, as it was also observed that Teddy would only serve one wine at dinner (this leads one to believe, probably rather correctly, that all previous administrations were party animals).
This may have been a different story, though, if TR had been around to try a tea cocktail or two – I have a feeling that he would have liked the Smoked Earl Grey cocktail.
So on this day dedicated to presidents both current and former, I steep a cup of hu-kwa in honor of probably the most decorated and celebrated tea aficionados in history!