German immigrants in the late 18th Century brought beer brewing methods to the New World, but cider was a more popular beverage. Cider apples are not the same as eating apples, and cider apple trees had to be imported from Europe.
Tea was not consumed as much as cider and whisky because clean water was needed to make tea and it was not easily available. Water in cities was frequently polluted. Clean water had to be brought in from the country side in kegs.
The alcohol in Cider made it safer to drink because it was less likely to spread disease. Folks living in the 17th and 18th Centuries didn't know about germs or how diseases were spread. They only knew that drinking bad water could be deadly. Cider and whiskey were safer to drink and locally made and sold. This set the colonies apart from England, so they did not have to import beverages from Europe.
The activists who threw tea into Boston Harbor were not protesting the tax on tea. Tea had been taxed for over five years. They were protesting cronyism, because King George III granted the East India Tea Company a monopoly to sell tea in the American Colonies that they couldn't sell in Britain. You can read more about the Boston Tea Party on the website linked to above. The patriotic beverage of choice in the Colonies was cider.
I've been drinking hard cider as an alternative to beer for almost 50 years. Cider is very popular in Europe. I toured England, Scotland, Germany, and France for two weeks in 1966. Everywhere I went I could buy the local cider. Even the trains through German and France sold cider by the bottle.
When I came back to the USA, it was not easy to find hard cider here. I was still living in New Rochelle, NY with my parents, but I tried to find imported cider at Buffalo Bob's liquor store. I usually had to make do with New York State wines.
When I moved to California I was able to find French cider at Whole Foods and English, German or occasionally California cider at Trader Joes. Then Woodchuck Cider from Vermont started selling in California. It is one of my favorites now. There's a long list of Ciders on Wikipedia. I've probably tried about a dozen so far.
Cider is catching on more and more now. Some is this is due to the constant need for big corporations to expand their product lines. Beer companies first expanded to include flavored ales. Cider is the next product for growth. Nob Hill Market had a display of ciders including Ace Perry pear cider from Sebastopol, Crispin from Colfax, and Possmann Pure Cider from Germany.
So on this President's Day drink a bottle of cider for Washington and Jefferson. That's what our Founding Fathers and Mothers drank back in Colonial times to get them through hard winters during and after the Revolution. Nobody wants to drink stale tea.