April 20, 2016

A MAN’S GOT TO KNOW HIS LIMITATIONS: The day I tried to match Churchill drink for drink.

By my age (40), Churchill had already fought in the Boer War, escaped from a prison camp, written 11 books and served as Home Secretary. Alongside this appetite for work and adventure, he had also acquired a seemingly gargantuan capacity for food and drink, which he kept until his final days.

He died 50 years ago this month – the anniversary of his funeral will be marked later this week — at the ripe age of 90. A miracle, considering he had drunk an estimated 42,000 bottles of Pol Roger champagne through his life; he thought nothing of starting the morning with cold game and a glass of hock and ending it at 3am with the best part of a bottle of cognac.

To get a flavour of his extraordinary lifestyle, one formed during the Edwardian era, I set myself the challenge of spending the day drinking what he drank in a typical 24-hour period.

This may sound like one of the less arduous journalistic tasks, but I can assure you that it was surprisingly difficult. . . . My attempt to emulate Churchill ended in ignominious failure.

Like I said. But to paraphrase another great wartime leader, find out what he was drinking and give it to our current bunch.

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