Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Martini Club Welcomes Heidenkind and Winston Churchill

I am thrilled to have Tasha (Heidenkind) from Truth, Beauty, Freedom and Books as a guest today. Not only does she have a wicked entertaining book blog, but she also has a tumblr site called Liquid Persuasion that is a fantastic taste test for all kinds of cocktails. Recent drinks include a whiskey sour, martini, hot buttered brandy, and brandy sour. Tasha takes a funky close-up shot of the drink, then tries out a new recipe and gives her assessment. Here's a snippet from Martini Take 2: "I'm beginning to see the appeal of the martini: it's only 2's like a PB&J sandwich-you CANNOT screw it up."

Huge thanks to Tasha for writing this excellent piece about Winston Churchill's drinking habits. ☺


My cocktail blog, Liquid Persuasion, focuses on classic cocktails. When you're studying the history of cocktails, certain people seem to pop up. A lot. I had only been looking up cocktail recipes for an hour before I realized Winston Churchill was to cocktails what Tim Tebow might be to a summer school Bible camp for football players.

Churchill is famous in the US for being a badass British politician. But did you know whinging MPs and generals weren't the only things he ate for breakfast? He also had a Jack Daniels highball first thing in the morning, every day of his adult life. His daughter called it "Papa's cocktail." One of his biographers wrote of him that it would be inaccurate to call him an alcoholic--"no alcoholic could drink that much!" And although Churchill himself always protested that legends of his drinking were greatly exaggerated, the facts sort of speak for themselves. One doesn't earn the nickname "the boozy Bulldog of Britain" without cutting one's teeth on a few bottles of gin. And whiskey. And champagne. And whatever else happened to be around. William Manchester commented after one visit to Churchill's estate, "There is always some alcohol in his bloodstream, and it reaches its peak late in the evening after he has had two or three Scotches, several glasses of Champagne, at least two brandies, and a highball." 

But to be fair, Hitler was a teetotaler. Drinking Axis powers under the table was practically Churchill's patriotic duty.

In addition to highballs and champagne-soaked lunches ("In victory, deserve it; in defeat, need it"), there are numerous cocktails associated with Churchill--so many, actually, that I think Winston Churchill cocktails (Winstails?) deserve their own classification.

The Manhattan

Arguably the world's most quintessential cocktail, the story of its invention is tied to Churchill's mother, American heiress Jennie Jerome. While pregnant with Winston, Jennie hosted a party at the Manhattan Club in New York City where Dr. Ian Marshall introduced a cocktail in her honor. The banquet (and drink) was so successful people began ordering the cocktail by the name of the club, Manhattan. 

Churchill was off to a great start with his prenatal cocktail. Later in life, he was known to haunt the American Bar in the Savoy, where famous bartender Joe Gilmore invented several drinks in his honor:

The Churchill
  • 3 parts Scotch whiskey
  • 1 part lime juice
  • 1 part sweet vermouth
  • 1 part Cointreau
Shake together with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass; drink straight-up.

The Fourscore was invented in honor of Churchill's 80th birthday
  • 3 part brandy
  • 2 parts Lillet
  • 1 part Yellow chartreuse
Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass; serve with a twist of lemon.

The Blenheim is similar to the fourscore and was invented for Churchill's 90th birthday
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass:
  • 3 parts brandy
  • 2 parts Yellow Chartreuse
  • 1 part Lillet
  • 1 part orange juice
  • 1 part Dubonnet
Drink like a boss.

Churchill also invented his own cocktails! He drank gin like water and was famous for enjoying extremely dry martinis. Here's Churchill's version of a martini:

Churchill Martini
Shake gin with cracked ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an olive. Drink while looking at a bottle of dry vermouth.

We should all aspire to have as many cocktails created in our honor as Winston Churchill, especially at the age of 90! It's my goal in life to host party with ONLY Churchill cocktails.


Papa's Cocktail! Churchill was pretty much the Master of Drinking Disaster. I'm impressed.

Thanks, Tasha, for this highly informative and frighteningly sloshy tale.

In the immortal words of Heidenkind,
Drink like a boss!