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May 25: The Constitutional Convention Begins

On this day in 1787, four years after the colonies had won the War of Independence, 55 delegates got together in Philly to hammer out the Constitution. So was there any drinking as this particular convention, as there tends to be at all conventions? There was. For the next five months the delegates regularly met in pubs after the official business of the day was concluded, and that’s where the real negotiating, the real wheeling and dealing was done. When matters finally wrapped up in September, the delegates had a full-bore, two-day blowout, leaving a massive bar tab that included 54 bottles of Madeira wine, 60 bottles of claret, 8 bottles of whiskey, 22 bottles of porter, 12 bottles of beer, 8 bottles of cider and 7 massive bowls of spiked punch. That’s how you start a country.

Also, it’s National Wine Day. The only day of the year that a man can order a glass of wine in a bar without feeling like he’s wearing a big pink tutu. Just kidding. But it used to be that way. It used to be that, while you could lay back a jug of wine with great dignity at home or could even drink it with a meal, a man walking into a proper bar and ordering a glass of wine was putting his perceived masculinity at grave risk. At the very least they would suspect he was French. But nowadays, some dive bars aside, a male can stroll right in, order a glass of wine, sneer or smile at its bouquet, and no one gives a second glance. First glance maybe, but forget about the second. And so it goes.