The Bourbon Brand Ulysses S. Grant May Have Drunk By The Glassful

Every great American tale starts with two things: A battle for freedom and a stiff drink. Ulysses S. Grant's story is no different. Before becoming the 18th President of the United States, he was a general for the Union Army and it is rumored he played favorites with his whiskey, preferring a bold, ample pour of Old Crow Bourbon.

The lore of Grant's love for this spirit has been documented on Jim Beam's website and passed around in books like Gerald Carson's "The Social History of Bourbon," in which Carson tells a tale about the intense 47-day siege of Vicksburg and Grant downing a generous amount of the Kentucky-alcohol as a nightcap, served neat, of course.

While there are plenty of bourbon myths you need to stop believing and the accuracy of whether or not Grant ever drank Old Crow may be tough to verify, this whiskey brand still has a storied history. Old Crow bourbon takes its name from Dr. James C. Crow who is credited as the mastermind of the sour mash, a process used to make bourbon.  What is sour mash? It is best described as a method that uses previously fermented mash from an older batch of bourbon to start the process for a new batch of mash. This makes it sweeter on the tongue.

Whiskey was Grant's nemesis

However, while history often portrays Grant as a hardcore drinker, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports the future commander-in-chief made a point of keeping his love for his favorite poison under control and even abstained from its siren call. Still, another story claims Grant haters complained about the General and his drinking to Abraham Lincoln. The 16th President's purported reply: "I wish some of you would tell me the brand of whiskey that Grant drinks. I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals."

Unfortunately, whiskey remained a nemesis for Grant and found a way to mar his presidency. During the 1870s, members of the IRS and the Treasury Department were accused of stealing liquor tax revenues and placing that money into campaign funds and their own pockets. The scandal was known as the Whiskey Ring and plagued Grant throughout his second term in office. Some say it is a possible reason he didn't get a third term. 

That said, Old Crow, which is an 80-proof bourbon with a golden tone that looks a little like apple juice, definitely left its mark in history books. This may be due to Old Crow's alleged historical celebrity following back in the day. In addition to Grant, Sam Houston, Daniel Webster are said to have been Old Crow fans and it may have been the base ingredient for Mark Twain's favorite whiskey cocktail