Prime Minister, Great War leader, Nobel Prize winner, painter, army officer, rhetorician and ace speech maker, I give you the one and only Winston Churchill. Not bad for a guy who was near permanent sizzled on the sauce, on a diet of champagne, cognac, whisky, claret, and port. Where do we begin with this man, his drinking yarns are legendary and so much is written about his drinking tales.
Let’s have a look at some of these stories
Churchill, aged 25, was sent to cover the Boer war, for the newspaper the Morning Post. Not quite knowing how he would survive so far away from home, he did the obvious thing and brought with him some supplies, 36 bottles of wine, 18 bottles of scotch, and 6 bottles of vintage brandy. Its not quite clear what he was expecting!
While serving in India for the military, he frequently had to add whiskey to his drinking water, as a way to prevent disease. “The water was not fit to drink. To make it palatable we had to add whisky. By diligent effort, I learnt to like it”. Which was a valid enough reason to be fair.
As Prime Minister, Churchill didn’t slow down. Churchill admitted he relied on alcohol.
He always had a glass of whiskey by him, starting the day with a “Papa Cocktail” – a hint of Johnnie Walker to be topped up with water throughout the day, and he drank brandy and champagne both at lunchtime and dinner, not forgetting his love of big ass cigars.
But the thing with all this was that Winston Churchill was still able to go about his business as leader of Great Britain and a lifetime as a leading politician. He never appeared to be too drunk, at least not in the public eye. That was the most remarkable thing about Churchill: he always seemed not that bad. How did he do it? Could it be that he liked his food and that he did seem to involve drink in and around his meal times, food good for absorbing the alcohol content?
Funnily enough Churchill hated people who appeared drunk, it was unsightly. Raised as an aristocrat, he believed drunkenness to be contemptible and disgusting, and a fault in which no gentleman indulged. “I have been brought up and trained to have the utmost contempt for people who get drunk,” Churchill once wrote, and he was rarely seen to be so. But one could argue, if he was using an ounce of sarcasm here, he did like to joke after all.
When questioned on his drinking, he always had a witty retort. Here is a few of his most famous quotes and retorts:
Lady Astor once told him that if she were married to him she would put poison in his coffee. To which Churchill replied, “If you were my wife, I’d drink it.”
When Bessie Braddock accused him of being drunk in Parliament, saying, “Winston, you are drunk! You are disgustingly drunk!” the great man replied, “Madam, you are ugly. But in the morning, I shall be sober.”
While visiting King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia, Winston was informed he could neither smoke nor drink, for religious reasons, during a banquet thrown in his honour. Winston wasn’t having any of this malarkey. He informed the monarch that, “My religion prescribed as an absolute sacred ritual smoking cigars and drinking alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and the intervals between them.”
Supposedly, in 1936 Winston won a bet with Rothermere, that he would be able to keep from consuming hard liquor for an entire year, which he won. Yet, immediately following the conclusion of that year, he went right back to drinking.
“I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.” Churchill, his attitude on his alcohol intake.
“Hot baths, cold champagne, new peas and old brandy”, the four essentials of life according to the great man.
Telling the butler at the Whitehouse to be prepared, “I must have a tumbler of sherry in my room before breakfast, a couple of glasses of scotch and soda before lunch, and Champagne and 90-year-old brandies before I go to sleep at night.”
“When I was younger I made it a rule never to take strong drink before lunch. It is now my rule never to do so before breakfast”
Bernard Montgomery the WWII British general, and all round cunt, who of course never touched a drop of alcohol, once “I neither drink nor smoke and am a hundred per cent fit.” Churchill on hearing this was heard to say ““I drink and smoke and I am two hundred per cent fit.” And he did live to a good ripe age of 90!
We salute you Winston Churchill. You have shown to us drinkers that we too can drink and achieve so much if we put our minds to it, or maybe not!