What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

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What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#1 Post by JeffK » April 16th, 2020, 9:29 am

According to the new book "The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz" by Erik Larson, the following order of wine and liquor was delivered to Churchill's country residence (Chequers) in 1940:

36 bottles of Amontillado - Duff Gordon's V.O.;
36 bottles, white wine - Valmur, 1934 (Chablis);
36 bottles, port - Fonseca, 1912;
36 bottles, claret - Chateau Leoville Poyferre, 1929;
24 bottles, whisky - Fine Highland Malt;
12 bottles, brandy - Grande Fine Champagne, 1874 (66 years old, same as Churchill);
36 bottles of Champagne - Pommery et Greno, 1926 (Pol Roger, however, remained his favorite).

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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#2 Post by Henry Kiichli » April 16th, 2020, 9:34 am

Slow weekend.
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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#3 Post by William Kelley » April 16th, 2020, 9:41 am

He evidently had pretty exquisite taste. Don't think that order would have lasted him very long, however.
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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#4 Post by Jonathan Loesberg » April 16th, 2020, 12:53 pm

Given other descriptions of his daily intake, it was probably for a month, assuming there were no guests.

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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#5 Post by john stimson » April 16th, 2020, 8:12 pm

He almost always had guests through this period--and for most of his life. He loved having others to bounce things off of, to stimulate conversation, etc. Minimum would be he, his wife, his youngest daughter, and his personal secretary, generally plus 1 to 6-8 other people. I would guess his average dinner was between 6-12 people at the table.

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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#6 Post by Randy Bowman » April 16th, 2020, 8:14 pm

See if you can find out what cigars were delivered. That would be just as interesting for obvious reasons.
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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#7 Post by PeterH » April 16th, 2020, 8:34 pm

Interesting that the Leoville Poyferre was only eleven years old at that time. Needed another twenty.
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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#8 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » April 16th, 2020, 8:36 pm

Apparently he drank 42000 bottles of pol roger in his lifetime

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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#9 Post by Peter Kleban » April 16th, 2020, 8:40 pm

[cheers.gif] I wonder how many of them François Audouze has drunk. [cheers.gif]
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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#10 Post by john stimson » April 16th, 2020, 9:02 pm

Randy Bowman wrote:
April 16th, 2020, 8:14 pm
See if you can find out what cigars were delivered. That would be just as interesting for obvious reasons.
He is famous for loving cuban Romeo y Julieta's, but he actually smoked a variety of cigars. If you do a quick internet search of his favorite cigars, you'll find a short article by one of the shops he used to buy from. they have an extensive record of what he used to order. there's a great short section in the Erik Larson book about a fear that he might be poisoned during the war by a cigar that had been doctored, and the cigar testing that was attempted (he was getting large gifts of cigars from all over the world).

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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#11 Post by Patrick T a y l o r » April 16th, 2020, 9:13 pm

From the Churchill War Rooms in London...
8EBF792D-5D2F-4BBF-A933-08BEB0C87E7C.jpeg
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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#12 Post by Jonathan Loesberg » April 17th, 2020, 8:06 am

Peter Kleban wrote:
April 16th, 2020, 8:40 pm
[cheers.gif] I wonder how many of them François Audouze has drunk. [cheers.gif]
I dearly hope that M. Audouze has not actually drunk any wine that Winston Churchill has already drunk. There is a limit to the lengths I would go to imbibe some history.

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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#13 Post by Richard T r i m p i » April 17th, 2020, 8:23 am

Times change.

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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#14 Post by john stimson » April 17th, 2020, 10:28 am

The most worrisome thing about all of this Churchill wine/booze/cigar nostalgia is that, apparently, his favorite scotch was Johnny Walker Red.

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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#15 Post by Howard Cooper » April 17th, 2020, 10:39 am

I am surprised Churchill was not drinking more expensive stuff, actually. This is where he was born:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blenheim_Palace
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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#16 Post by Richard T r i m p i » April 17th, 2020, 12:08 pm

Churchill's 1941 White House visit
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/ ... 180961798/

The 67-year-old prime minister proved an eccentric houseguest. “I must have a tumbler of sherry in my room before breakfast,” Churchill told Fields, the White House butler, “a couple of glasses of scotch and soda before lunch and French champagne, and 90-year-old brandy before I go to sleep at night.”

He kept Roosevelt up until 2 or 3 a.m. drinking brandy, smoking cigars and ignoring Eleanor’s exasperated hints about sleep. “It was astonishing to me that anyone could smoke so much and drink so much and keep perfectly well,” she later wrote.

RT

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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#17 Post by Oliver McCrum » April 17th, 2020, 12:13 pm

From what I've read the 36 bottles of Champagne is particularly suspect.
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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#18 Post by R@y.Tupp@+sch » April 17th, 2020, 12:22 pm

Mich@el Ch@ng wrote:
April 16th, 2020, 8:36 pm
Apparently he drank 42000 bottles of pol roger in his lifetime
Maybe he was a part of drinking that many bottles.
That's nearly two bottles of Pol Roger every day for sixty years.
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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#19 Post by R M Kriete » April 17th, 2020, 12:30 pm

Howard Cooper wrote:
April 17th, 2020, 10:39 am
I am surprised Churchill was not drinking more expensive stuff, actually. This is where he was born:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blenheim_Palace
He wasn't particularly good with finances and often had to supplement his Government income with writing, just to stay afloat.

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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#20 Post by Jonathan Loesberg » April 17th, 2020, 12:52 pm

R M Kriete wrote:
April 17th, 2020, 12:30 pm
Howard Cooper wrote:
April 17th, 2020, 10:39 am
I am surprised Churchill was not drinking more expensive stuff, actually. This is where he was born:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blenheim_Palace
He wasn't particularly good with finances and often had to supplement his Government income with writing, just to stay afloat.
Yes, but one of the ways he was not good with money was that he drank stuff he liked no matter the expense. If he drank Johnny Walker red, it would have been what he wanted. Someone who knows more about mid-century drinking can say whether single malt scotches were a big deal then. I have the impression they were not. As to the 3 of bottles Champagne a day for sixty years, Churchill lived to be 91. Even assuming he didn't start his impressive drinking until he was 25, he would have had time, and even a few off days when he only got through two. A supposed debunking of the myth of Churchill's drinking has him drinking 2 imperials of Champagne (40 ounces or about a bottle and three quarters) a day along with scotch and brandy in large amounts. I would not be surprised if this debunking needs to be debunked upwards given other reports one can read.

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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#21 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » April 17th, 2020, 1:11 pm

R@y.Tupp@+sch wrote:
April 17th, 2020, 12:22 pm
Mich@el Ch@ng wrote:
April 16th, 2020, 8:36 pm
Apparently he drank 42000 bottles of pol roger in his lifetime
Maybe he was a part of drinking that many bottles.
That's nearly two bottles of Pol Roger every day for sixty years.
Apparently he drank 20 oz of champagne or wine at both lunch and dinner everyday. That’s 1000 mL, but you’re right that he was drinking other stuff besides pol roger.

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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#22 Post by john stimson » April 17th, 2020, 1:30 pm

He definitely drank a lot, but I think the amounts are overblown. The champagne was almost always shared. He nursed a scotch and soda, often in bed in the AM (He worked for 2-3 hours in bed before getting up), but they were diluted. He "smoked" about 10 cigars a day, although he liked to chew them, so he would let them go out and then chew away at it, without relighting. (Mark Twain I believe smoked 20 a day until he quit, although perhaps they were smaller). With regard to the scotch, most all of the scotch then was blended, so there was really no concept of "single malt". I think the composition of malts in Johnny Walker red is out there somewhere likely readily available.

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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#23 Post by Jonathan Loesberg » April 17th, 2020, 1:49 pm

Here is a quotation from a site ostensibly debunking the myth of Churchill's drinking, with its source. This is described as his daily intake. There is no mention of guests:

The point is that, for Churchill as an individual, his “limit of moderation” was quite high. The following (from Richard Langworth’s Winston Churchill, Myth and Reality) is a fair approximation of his minimum daily consumption of alcohol:

(1) 3-4 weak (no more than an ounce) whisky and sodas at 11am, teatime and bedtime and occasionally one other during the evening (He never drank whisky neat).

(2) An imperial pint (20 oz.) of champagne or wine at a 1pm lunch followed by a brandy, also likely an ounce.

(3) An imperial pint of champagne or wine at dinner followed by a brandy.

Another website, with no citational support says, "One estimate placed his consumption of Pol Roger champagne at 42,000 bottles during his lifetime." For reference, the site is https://allthatsinteresting.com/winston ... l-drinking.

Now all these lists may be quoting from the same bad information, but one sees the same rough estimates of what is described as what he consumed fairly constantly. If you have a documentary basis for doubting them, I'll happily be persuaded.

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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#24 Post by T. Altmayer » April 17th, 2020, 2:07 pm

Richard T r i m p i wrote:
April 17th, 2020, 12:08 pm
Churchill's 1941 White House visit
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/ ... 180961798/

The 67-year-old prime minister proved an eccentric houseguest. “I must have a tumbler of sherry in my room before breakfast,” Churchill told Fields, the White House butler, “a couple of glasses of scotch and soda before lunch and French champagne, and 90-year-old brandy before I go to sleep at night.”

He kept Roosevelt up until 2 or 3 a.m. drinking brandy, smoking cigars and ignoring Eleanor’s exasperated hints about sleep. “It was astonishing to me that anyone could smoke so much and drink so much and keep perfectly well,” she later wrote.

RT
According to the book, in 1941 when they first met, Roosevelt went to Churchill’s room to greet him. Churchill was buck naked, invited him in to his room and proceeded to talk with Roosevelt for an hour without dressing, just walking around with a towel on his shoulder. Priceless.
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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#25 Post by Richard T r i m p i » April 17th, 2020, 2:15 pm

T. Altmayer wrote:
April 17th, 2020, 2:07 pm
Richard T r i m p i wrote:
April 17th, 2020, 12:08 pm
Churchill's 1941 White House visit
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/ ... 180961798/

The 67-year-old prime minister proved an eccentric houseguest. “I must have a tumbler of sherry in my room before breakfast,” Churchill told Fields, the White House butler, “a couple of glasses of scotch and soda before lunch and French champagne, and 90-year-old brandy before I go to sleep at night.”

He kept Roosevelt up until 2 or 3 a.m. drinking brandy, smoking cigars and ignoring Eleanor’s exasperated hints about sleep. “It was astonishing to me that anyone could smoke so much and drink so much and keep perfectly well,” she later wrote.

RT
According to the book, in 1941 when they first met, Roosevelt went to Churchill’s room to greet him. Churchill was buck naked, invited him in to his room and proceeded to talk with Roosevelt for an hour without dressing, just walking around with a towel on his shoulder. Priceless.
Alcohol can reduce inhibitions. champagne.gif

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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#26 Post by Steve Crawford » April 17th, 2020, 2:48 pm

walking with destiny is a great read for those who haven't read it.

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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#27 Post by john stimson » April 17th, 2020, 5:36 pm

T. Altmayer wrote:
April 17th, 2020, 2:07 pm
Richard T r i m p i wrote:
April 17th, 2020, 12:08 pm
Churchill's 1941 White House visit
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/ ... 180961798/

The 67-year-old prime minister proved an eccentric houseguest. “I must have a tumbler of sherry in my room before breakfast,” Churchill told Fields, the White House butler, “a couple of glasses of scotch and soda before lunch and French champagne, and 90-year-old brandy before I go to sleep at night.”

He kept Roosevelt up until 2 or 3 a.m. drinking brandy, smoking cigars and ignoring Eleanor’s exasperated hints about sleep. “It was astonishing to me that anyone could smoke so much and drink so much and keep perfectly well,” she later wrote.

RT
According to the book, in 1941 when they first met, Roosevelt went to Churchill’s room to greet him. Churchill was buck naked, invited him in to his room and proceeded to talk with Roosevelt for an hour without dressing, just walking around with a towel on his shoulder. Priceless.
There is a great line that Churchill came up with upon that meeting. something along the lines of--I have nothing to hide from you. i'll have to search a bit for it.

Churchill had very little in the way of personal modesty. He took two baths a day almost every day of his life, and often wandered around with just his towel afterwards, or in his wildly ostentatious bathrobes with his puffy slippers with pom-poms. He worked while in his bath and sometimes had his transcriptionists (female) with him typing while he was giving dictation.

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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#28 Post by john stimson » April 17th, 2020, 5:38 pm

Jonathan Loesberg wrote:
April 17th, 2020, 1:49 pm
Here is a quotation from a site ostensibly debunking the myth of Churchill's drinking, with its source. This is described as his daily intake. There is no mention of guests:

The point is that, for Churchill as an individual, his “limit of moderation” was quite high. The following (from Richard Langworth’s Winston Churchill, Myth and Reality) is a fair approximation of his minimum daily consumption of alcohol:

(1) 3-4 weak (no more than an ounce) whisky and sodas at 11am, teatime and bedtime and occasionally one other during the evening (He never drank whisky neat).

(2) An imperial pint (20 oz.) of champagne or wine at a 1pm lunch followed by a brandy, also likely an ounce.

(3) An imperial pint of champagne or wine at dinner followed by a brandy.

Another website, with no citational support says, "One estimate placed his consumption of Pol Roger champagne at 42,000 bottles during his lifetime." For reference, the site is https://allthatsinteresting.com/winston ... l-drinking.

Now all these lists may be quoting from the same bad information, but one sees the same rough estimates of what is described as what he consumed fairly constantly. If you have a documentary basis for doubting them, I'll happily be persuaded.
I remember a section about his true alcohol consumption in the three volume Last Lion book. I'll have to search back for it.

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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#29 Post by RichardFlack » April 17th, 2020, 6:03 pm

General point ... wine spirits etc back then weren’t positional goods, little ‘label drinking’. It’s all about simply what you like. As a frequent cigar smoker he probably had a preference for more vigorous claret versus fully mature, so 11 yr old Leoville Poyferre seems plausible. If he wasn’t too fussed about prices probably his idea of lunchtime claret.

Are the stories that he used a swizzle stick to stir the bubbles out of the champagne correct? Seems like he could have saved a bunch of money by buying Blanc de Noir.

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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#30 Post by Patrick T a y l o r » April 17th, 2020, 9:43 pm

Basically it sounds like Churchill was blitzed during the Blitz. Huzzah!
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And I won’t forget the Chardonnay that they poured down the loo
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Cause there ain’t no doubt, I'm on this board for Wine Berserker Day

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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#31 Post by PeterH » April 17th, 2020, 10:00 pm

RichardFlack wrote:
April 17th, 2020, 6:03 pm
General point ... wine spirits etc back then weren’t positional goods, little ‘label drinking’. It’s all about simply what you like. As a frequent cigar smoker he probably had a preference for more vigorous claret versus fully mature, so 11 yr old Leoville Poyferre seems plausible. If he wasn’t too fussed about prices probably his idea of lunchtime claret.

Are the stories that he used a swizzle stick to stir the bubbles out of the champagne correct? Seems like he could have saved a bunch of money by buying Blanc de Noir.
Totally plausible 1929 was the vintage to drink. The closest analog vintage would probably be 1982. Must have been an unbelievable bargain in 1940, just clawing up out of the Depression.
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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#32 Post by M.Kaplan » April 17th, 2020, 10:18 pm

Johnny Walker Red Label was blended specifically to drink with soda. I’ve tasted Johnny Walker Red from that period and it was significantly different (and better) than that distilled in more recent times. Many of the component malts were from distilleries that no longer exist.
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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#33 Post by jrozes » April 18th, 2020, 5:34 pm

Image
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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#34 Post by john stimson » April 18th, 2020, 5:51 pm

Yeah, that was a great one. Churchill aparently pushed hard to get the doc to write this. Interesting that he wrote a minimum rather than a maximum. (also interesting that he didn't get the doc to write that he required two baths per day).

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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#35 Post by PFMay » April 20th, 2020, 9:37 am

But 1932 was during Prohibition in USA , so wasn't the Doctor's note merely a necessity in order get alcohol?
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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#36 Post by john stimson » April 20th, 2020, 11:49 am

PFMay wrote:
April 20th, 2020, 9:37 am
But 1932 was during Prohibition in USA , so wasn't the Doctor's note merely a necessity in order get alcohol?
correct. I forgot to look at the date.

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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#37 Post by Jonathan Loesberg » April 20th, 2020, 12:32 pm

This seems to have been when he was in and NY hospital after being hit by a car. Even if Prohibition had been over, it would have been a noticeable prescription.

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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#38 Post by Terry H a r r i s » April 21st, 2020, 10:30 pm

Reminds me of the phrase, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro" . . . . What a time in this world.
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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#39 Post by Jürgen Steinke » April 22nd, 2020, 7:28 am

Seems the doctor knew Churchill could not live without alcohol. I guess this is the perfect diagnosis of an alcoholic?

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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#40 Post by Blake Brown » April 22nd, 2020, 12:01 pm

and now I`m drinking 06` SWC during the coronavirus blitz.
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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#41 Post by Bryan Price » April 23rd, 2020, 2:39 pm

Churchill lived to a ripe old age, so I should probably follow his lead. One must seek to emulate greatness, after all.
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Re: What Winston Churchill Was Drinking During the Blitz.

#42 Post by john stimson » April 23rd, 2020, 2:59 pm

He might possibly have been in more trouble in terms of withdrawal if he had to suddenly stop his ten or more cigars per day. However, at that time, I'm fairly certain that one was allowed to smoke in the hospital.

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