While Winston Churchill is perhaps best known for being the Prime Minister to lead Britain successfully through the Second World War, the man is also known for his love of food, liquor and, most importantly, cigars. We take a look at these three loves in this iconic man’s life.
It is said that Winston Churchill’s favourite food was soup. Of this, he had specifics; it must be thin, and not creamy. Each night, he would eat cold soup before bed, regardless of whatever fine dining experience he had earlier in the day. Turtle soup was his favourite of all, something he served to President Roosevelt during one of his visits.
Another essential on Winston’s dining table was the cheese platter. While you may anticipate Churchill’s fave cheese to be a British classic, like cheddar or Red Leicester, his cheese of choice was actually Swiss Gruyere. Churchill loved an Indian curry but wasn’t a great fan of Chinese food. He wasn’t particularly a fan of dessert either; instead appreciating a cigar after dinner.
Winston Churchill started each day with a tipple of whisky or brandy. This was heavily diluted, so he wasn’t actually drunk all day, as you may expect for someone drinking whisky first thing. His absolute favourite, though, was Champagne. His Champagne demands were very specific though, with Pol Roger being the bottle of choice for him. Speaking of his favourite drink, Churchill states: “In success you deserve it and in defeat, you need it”.
Churchill’s love of cigars all began when he was working as a journalist in Cuba. Here he discovered the famous Havana cigars, and his obsession with them lasted the rest of his life. Living back in London, Churchill ordered in imported cigars, keeping well stocked, even through prohibitionary periods of war. It is believed that he smoked somewhere around 200,000 cigars in his lifetime; which is around 8 per day! However, it is unlikely that he finished all of them, as his smoking habits tended to involve only making it through half a stogie at a time. The remaining halves were discarded in his ashtrays, or as in later life, given to his gardener to use as pipe tobacco.
Often appearing in public with a cigar in his mouth, Churchill became renowned as a cigar smoker. As such, he received many cigar cutters as gifts over the years. Despite this, however, he did not use a cigar cutter on his own smokes. Instead, he would moisten the end of the cigar and use an extra-long match to poke a hole through it. He would then blow through the cigar from the opposite end to ensure that it would draw properly. If his cigar went out while smoking it, he would use a candle close at hand to relight it.
It is apparent from this that Churchill’s smoking didn’t always follow the strict etiquettes about smoking cigars that some do. As well as not using a cutter, Churchill often fell asleep with cigar in hand, or become too engrossed in conversation or literature to notice the ash dropping all over his clothes. It is reported that his suits were often sent in for repair due to the number of burns acquired from his smoking habits.
From Prime Minister to brand name
Romeo and Julieta cigars were his favourite brand, hence why the iconic cigar smoker is the namesake of the brands uppermost vitola. At seven inches long and with a 47 ring gauge, this cigar size is one of the most popular amongst cigar aficionados. Churchill was so fond of his cigars that he kept his house, Chartwell Manor, heavily stocked. The room adjoining his study regularly contained around 4000 cigars, most of which were Cubans.
Would you like to live like Winston Churchill? He did live to be 90, after all! Let us know in the comments and on social media! If you saw the recent Churchill biopic, Darkest Hour, you can find out how many cigars Gary Oldman had to smoke here!