Wednesday, November 4, 2009

You'll still be ugly in the morning

Winston Churchill was known to be fond of the “oil of conversation”, and he was also known as a man who wasn’t afraid to speak his mind.

One of the people who he tangled with on a fairly regular basis was the Lady Astor, a prominent American-born English socialite, and the first female member of the British House of Commons.

One of the more famous exchanges that Lady Astor is purported to have had with Churchill is as follows: "Winston, you are drunk." To which Churchill responded, "and you, madam, are ugly. In the morning, I shall be shober,

Although people drink for a lot of reasons, Churchill’s thirst was due, in part, to his mother, Lady Randolph Churchill.

Like the Lady Astor, Lady Randolph Churchill was born in America. Her father was a wealthy American financier named Leonard Jerome, and her mother, Clara, was the daughter of a New York congressman.

Lady Randolph’s first marriage was to Lord Randolph Churchill, whom she met at her father’s racetrack in Westchester County New York. They married at the British Embassy in Paris, and moved to England shortly thereafter.

Just before she gave birth to her son Winston in 1874, she commissioned a bartender at the Manhattan Club in New York to create a special drink to commemorate the election of Samuel J. Tiilden to the governorship.

That drink became known as the Manhattan, and it is sometimes called “the king of cocktails”

I still enjoy a Manhattan on an occasional basis, but I have to admit that it’s been less than 24 hours since I had my last one, a perfect Manhattan, and it was a mighty fine drink.

At this point in the story, you’re probably expecting me to come up with a snappy and pithy ending.

Since this story is about Winston Churchill, I’ve decided it would be more appropriate to leave you with one of his famous quotations:

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

Sir Winston Churchill, 1942

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