Sunday, June 16, 2019

George Washington & Friends Toasting the New Nation with the Fruit of the Vine & the Garden

The bar tab from a farewell party Washington's troops threw him on September 15, 1787, still exists.  The United States Constitution would be signed just two days later.  The celebration was held at Philadelphia's City Tavern, & the party had about 55 guests, including troops, politicians, friends, & family — along with 16 more folks who were working that night, including musicians, servers, & hosts.
In all, according to the itemized bill, the evening fare included more than 45 gallons of booze were served to "55 gentlemens," who also got dinner, fruit, relishes & olives. The 9 musicians & 7 waiters ran up their own liquor bill (21 additional bottles of wine) that the troop paid for. There was a line item for cigars & candles & another for broken wine glasses, decanters & tumblers. Somehow the receipt for the night was saved in the First Troop Cavalry archives.

Here's what George, by then president at the Constitutional Convention, & 54 of his closest friends consumed that night:
54 bottles of Madeira wine
60 bottles of claret Bordeaux
22 bottles of porter ale
12 jugs of beer
8 bottles of hard cider
8 bottles of Old Stock (colonial whiskey)
7 large bowls of spiked punch

The staff & musicians also drank 16 bottles of Bordeaux wine, 5 bottles of Madeira wine, & seven bowls of punch. The bill also includes charges for food & many broken glasses.  The final tab, came out to £89 & 4 schillings — perhaps roughly $16,000 in today's dollars.