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How George Washington ran up a $17,253 bar tab 2 days before signing the Constitution

Eric Milzarski ,

Washington's Farewell to His Officers
George Washington bids farewell to his officers in New York. 
Washington’s Farewell to His Officers by Alonzo Chappel/Wikimedia Commons
  • George Washington and his soldiers celebrated the signing of the Constitution by racking up a $17,253 tab.
  • The soldiers were also celebrating Washington being elected as the first president of the newly independent country.
  • The exact details of the night are hazy but the receipt for the night was saved in the First Troop Cavalry archives.

America was built on alcohol. Many of the founding fathers distilled or brewed their own booze because the ingredients needed to make it flourished perfectly in the soil of the newly formed United States.

Remember, Samuel Adams isn’t just some fictional mascot made up to publicize a brewing company, and Budweiser’s “George Washington recipe” is actually historically accurate.

Also, the terrible road conditions of the time made transporting grains the traditional way, you know, in bread and stuff, a true hardship. It was much easier to just turn whatever you grew into alcohol — which would net an even better profit.

All of this is key to understanding that the founding fathers would more than likely drink any modern military barracks under the table. No single moment best exemplifies this than the time George Washington and his Army buddies celebrated the signing of the Constitution by drinking enough booze to rack up a tab worth roughly $17,253 in today’s currency.

It was the night of September 15, 1787, and George Washington had many reasons to celebrate. A few months earlier, in May, he was elected president at the Constitutional Convention. The United States Constitution had just been finalized and debates were finally settling as the momentous document cruised towards its eventual signing, just two days later. This night was also the farewell dinner for Washington before he set off to do bigger and better things.

Hey when you defeat the British Empire, a man can develop a real thirst!

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