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George Washington's Whiskey Cake

Huzzah! The Museum of the American Revolution celebrated its third birthday on Sunday, April 19, 2020. How did George Washington celebrate special occasions? He attended large parties at City Tavern in Philadelphia — located just around the corner from the Museum — and enjoyed hosting smaller gatherings at home at Mount Vernon. During the Revolutionary War, Washington celebrated even small victories and hosted guests in his dining tent, which sat up to 30 people.

In a season seven episode of his Emmy Award-winning show A Taste of History, City Tavern’s Chef Walter Staib and Chef Diana Wolkow prepared Washington’s favorite cake recipe and discussed cooking and life in Washington’s headquarters tent with Museum of the American Revolution President & CEO Dr. R. Scott Stephenson.

Recipe: "Whisky Cake”
Adapted by City Tavern Restaurant

This whiskey cake, favored by George Washington and adapted for the modern kitchen by Chef Staib, requires ingredients you might not have at home: whiskey, fruit and nuts, special flour, and many eggs! Like today, bakers in the 1700s would have saved recipes with expensive and hard-to-find ingredients for special occasions.

Download this recipe for Washington’s “Whisky Cake.”

For a simpler whiskey cake recipe with ingredients you may have at home, click here. For additional recipes, check out Chef Staib’s A Taste of History Cookbook — and get a copy signed by Chef Staib if purchased through City Tavern’s website.

Recipe: Rum Shrub Cocktail 

Shrub was a popular drink for many early American gatherings and celebrations. Made from common ingredients, including strong liquor (rum, brandy, or whiskey), orange or lemon juice, and sugar, shrubs were blended at home and bottled or barreled so they could be enjoyed later.

Download this recipe for a three-ingredient rum shrub, adapted from The Publican’s Guide, or Key to the Distill-House (London, 1779) as a modern cocktail and mocktail.

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Image 091120 George Washington Camp Cups Silver Camp Cups
 

George Washington's Camp Cups

These cups were part of George Washington's camp equipment during the Revolutionary War. They were made in August 1777 by a silversmith in Philadelphia.
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