From the August 9, 1886 issue of The Chatham Record (reprinted from Albany Argus). I get the feeling the author never actually asked about the price of rum, but he and anyone else within earshot got a full report anyway.
Patriotism and Rum.
A gentleman who has been looking up the early history of Albany assures me that patriotism and rum were about the same those days as at the present time. At the time of Washington’s prospective visit to Albany, he was to be entertained at a hotel standing on the corner of Beaver and Green Streets. Great preparations were made for the occasion, and a gentleman was delegated to deliver the welcome address. How long he labored in writing out his remarks, history does not state. It intimates, however, that the orator “enthused” to a considerable extent, and when the distinguished guest arrived was in a condition that unfitted him to perform his delegated office. In modern parlance he was “knocked out,” and his essay, burning with eloquence and patriotism, was read by a substitute and Washington never knew the difference. “Those were great days,” continued our historic friend. “Why, the price of a beer at the present time would buy enough rum to keep a man drunk for a week.” – Albany Argus