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On Friday, June 26, at 6:00 p.m. we’re hosting our first ever Facebook Live Historic Libations event! Using a bar tab that George Washington and a volunteer cavalry corps ran up at Philadelphia’s City Tavern during the last week of the 1787 Constitutional Convention, we’ve put together a list of modern equivalents that approximate the drinks they were imbibing, which included Madeira wine, claret, porter, beer, cider, and rum punch.

Society educator John Mooney will provide a brief presentation on the history behind the night of revelry during the Constitutional Convention, the history behind the drinks they had, and provide instructions for making a historically inspired rum punch.

How to Participate

You can join in by visiting our Facebook page at 6:00 PM on Friday where you will find a link to the video as soon as we go live. Only a Facebook account is required. No other sign-up or registration necessary.

To join John in making rum punch, have the ingredients below on hand. Be sure to take a look at our list of recommendations for modern equivalents to what they were drinking and our ingredients and recipe for rum punch, so that you can prep some drinks and try them while you watch our live video. You will also be able to ask questions through the chat window that accompanies the video.

We hope you’ll join us for this unique digital event!


Rum Punch Ingredients:

  • English black tea
  • 1 cup sugar in the raw
  • 2 cups water
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 12 cloves
  • 2-3 lemons
  • 1-2 oranges
  • 12 ounces of rum (preferably dark spiced rum)
  • Ice

Rum Punch Recipe

  1. Make a pot of hot black English tea and set aside.
  2. Combine raw sugar, water, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves and boil to make spiced simple syrup. Let cool for about 15 minutes to avoid cracking your glassware.
  3. While everything is cooling, juice lemons and oranges, removing seeds, and then add to a pitcher or punch bowl.
  4. Combine spiced simple syrup with citrus juice in punch bowl. Add more lemon and orange slices to taste.
  5. Add a healthy amount of ice. (ice wasn’t as uncommon as you would think, especially for the more-well-off founders like Washington).
  6. Pour the tea and dark spiced rum into the punch bowl/pitcher. The amount of tea you add is to your taste.
  7. Serve each cup over ice with a sprinkle of nutmeg and citrus slices.

Drink List and Modern Recommendations:

Historic Drink Modern Equivalent Our Recommendation
Madeira wine any modern Madeira wine Sandeman Fine Rich Madeira
Claret red Bordeaux wine Chateau Bois Redon Bordeaux Superior
Porter any modern porter beer Back East Porter
Beer any modern American or English brown ale Smuttynose Old Brown Dog
Cider any modern hard cider Strongbow Cider

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