~ With a weekend of celebratory imbibing at hand, we perused the drinking habits of our Founding Fathers for a taste of true Americana beverage history. ~
America's beverage history is hardly a dry one, and since a single blog post couldn't possibly do it justice, we've whittled it down to a few key facts to carry you into your July 4th weekend.
~ George Washington ran his own 18th century distillery at Mount Vernon. With 8 men and no electricity, he produced 11,000 gallons of unaged rye whiskey 1799. ~ Washington Post
~ In Colonial America, communal drinking reigned supreme, and punch was passed around and often drunk straight from the bowl at local taverns. ~ Edible Austin
~ "Before embarking on his famous ride, Paul Revere visited the home of distiller Isaac Hall and tossed back two drafts of rum to steel himself for the coming jaunt." Drunkard.com
~ While whiskey is often considered the 'original American spirit,' Rum - made with molasses acquired through trade with the West Indies - fueled a great deal of pre-liberation colony life, even before whiskey's popularity took hold. "On the eve of the American Revolution in 1776, some 160 distilleries were cranking it out" ~ Liquor.com
~ Finding the ship running low on liquid courage and fearing a mutiny, the captain of The Mayflower made an unexpected pit stop on Plymouth Rock. ~ The Fix
~ In colonial times, it was a common belief that alcohol had medicinal, strengthening and anti-aging properties, and most imbibed from the time they woke up until bedtime. ~ History.org
~ When England tried to impose alcohol taxes, John Hancock used his business connections as a Harvard graduate to smuggle booze into the country and sell it at discount prices. ~ Drunkard.com
~ Early Pilgrim brewing included flavored beers - molasses, apples and pumpkins, and tree bark such as sassafras, birch and spruce were common. - Distilled Spirits Council of the United States
~ Cocktail firsts: The word "cocktail" first appeared in print in 1806, in the New York based Balance & Columbian Repository. The Sazerac, named by a bartender and widely considered the 'first recorded cocktail,' was created in New Orleans in 1838. - The Smithsonian Mag
~ Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence in just a few days, 'seated at his usual table in the Indian Queen Tavern in Philadelphia while downing glass after brimming glass of Madeira.' His large estate at Monticello was both a winery and brewery, and the dumbwaiter installed between the dining room and the wine cellar made his large dinner parties a "tipsy good time." - Drunkard.com
Bonus! Check out the Difford's Guide 'Bars to Drink in History' for a well rounded assortment of time-honoring (and time-honored) speakeasies and bars.
Cheers to our country's founding libations!
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