Churchill’s Cocktails

Oliver Webb-Carter

The Imperial War Museum has produced a cocktail recipe book based on the great man's life.
The cover which shows the 'V for Victory' cocktail
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Churchill’s Cocktails

Winston Churchill has been the inspiration for many gift manufacturers over the years. Book ends, tea towels, mugs and key-rings are just some of the Churchill branded items out there. I’m unconvinced he would have any use for them, and I’m also doubtful they would have won his endorsement. Would he, at the end of a long day’s scribbling notes and amendments on government memos, have reached for his Churchill branded pencil sharpener, perhaps glancing at his Winston Churchill fridge magnet, and inserted his W.L.S.Churchill pencil to fashion a sharp new point?

Unlikely. However, what I suspect was more likely would have been at the end of such a day’s work would have been delighted to accept a well-made drink containing delicious alcoholic ingredients. “I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me” is one of his more famous quotes, and one the Imperial War Museum has listened to, and responded. Their answer is Churchill’s Cocktails, a collaboration with The Churchill Bar in Marylebone, a book of 30 cocktails, all inspired by the great man.

Not only does this book comprise great drinks, and it really does as I’ve worked my way through quite a few (it’s a tough job etc. etc.), but each one contains a Churchill snippet. From the ‘Bitter Truth’, a coffee-based concoction inspired by the exchange with Nancy Astor: “If I were your wife I’d put poison in your coffee.” His reply, “Nancy, if I were your husband I’d drink it” (which he did not say, I should hasten to add); to the ‘Pink Hush-Hush’ which has a soft texture and luxurious flavour, much like the silk underwear so loved by the PM. My own personal favourite is indeed the ‘Prime Minister’, which involves the superb Bushmills Irish Whiskey and use of a pickled quail’s egg. Those mixologists at The Churchill Bar certainly know what they’re doing.

With all the recent excitement over Churchill, it’s hugely refreshing to be able read about and enjoy a beverage which is the result of just the right kind of inspiration – the great war leader and the pursuit of pleasure.

Churchill’s Cocktails is published by the Imperial War Museum and is available now, and at the Churchill War Rooms.

Aspects of History Issue 6 is out now.