Drinking rum before dawn with the Governor

Originally posted 11 May 2012

I was looking up the earliest recipe for a Canadian rum concoction called Moose Milk when I found the following passage about the annual Levees held by governors of Canada. These meetings between the executive and his constituents sound like a jolly time, if you like drinking rum before dawn.

Governor George Simpson’s Athabasca Journal reports that on January 1st, 1821, “the Festivities of the New Year commenced at four o’clock this morning when the people honoured me with a salute of fire arms, and in half an hour afterwards the whole Inmates of our Garrison assembled in the hall dressed out in their best clothes, and were regaled in a suitable manner with a few flaggon’s of Rum and some Cakes. A full allowance of Buffalo meat was served out to them and a pint of spirits for each man.”

It goes to show once again that rum was an integral part of cultures far away from any canefield. As for what it’s like to start your day with a pint of rum and a plate of buffalo meat, that is not recorded. I welcome any chance to find out.