Stories abound about Churchill and alcohol, from drinking hard spirits in the early hours of the morning to claims that he drank 42,000 bottles of Pol Roger Champagne throughout his lifetime.
Perhaps the Champagne figure has been elevated to mythical levels, given that it would have required Churchill to drink 467 bottles of Pol Roger in each of his 90 years.
Even the eponymous Champagne house, which named a Cuvee after him in 1975, says Churchill didn’t touch the brand until 1908, when he was already in his 30s.
Outside of his role in World War Two, Churchill’s political career rarely ran smoothly. His commitment to wine was unswerving throughout. Here are some of his best-known lines:
‘In success you deserve it and in defeat, you need it.’
‘Champagne is the wine of civilisation and the oil of government.’
‘Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne.’
‘Meeting [US president] Franklin Roosevelt was like opening your first bottle of Champagne; knowing him was like drinking it.’
On Wine in general:
‘Dinner would have been splendid…if the wine had been as cold as the soup, the beef as rare as the service, the brandy as old as the fish, and the maid as willing as the Duchess.’
‘Madame, I may be drunk, but you are ugly, and tomorrow I will be sober,’ – reportedly said in the House of Commons to Labour MP Bessie Braddock.
‘I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.’