Churchill and Stalin’s “savage” binge

A recently declassified Foreign Office letter from the second world war describes a late night drinking session between wartime leaders Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin.

Sir Winston ChurchillThe memorandum was written by Sir Alexander Cadogan and was part of a highly sensitive document that has only just been declassified.

Cadogan also described how Churchill liked to engage his guests at mealtimes with, “irreverent and irresponsible discourse.”

The description of the session with Stalin is contained in a letter to Lord Halifax, who was at the time ambassador to the US.

Apparently written in the late 1940s, it must refer to Churchill’s visit to Moscow in the summer of 1942.

“Nothing can be imagined more awful than a Kremlin banquet, but it has to be endured,” wrote Cadogan.

“Unfortunately Winston didn’t suffer it gladly. However, next morning he was determined to fire his last bolt and asked for a private talk, alone with Stalin. This was fixed for 7pm.”

Cadogan then writes that he was summoned to the pair’s room later that evening and found the table groaning under the weight of “foods of all kinds crowned by a suckling pig, and innumerable bottles.”

He said that Stalin made him drink something “pretty savage”, while Churchill, who was by this time complaining of a slight headache, “seemed wisely to be confining himself to a comparatively innocuous effervescent Caucasian red wine.”

The party continued until 3am with Stalin extolling the merits of the Soviet Union and everything as, “merry as a marriage bell”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Graphic Designer (NPD)

ATOM Supplies
Tunbridge Wells, UK

Press Officer

Speciality Drinks
London, UK

UK Private Clients Manager

Ditton Wine Traders
London, UK

London Business Development Manager

Maisons Marques et Domaines UK Ltd

Head of Buying - Spirits

West London, UK

Liquid Production Supervisor

ATOM Supplies
Tonbridge, Kent, UK

Sales Account Manager – Cotswolds

Haynes Hanson & Clark
Gloucestershire, UK

Communications & PR Manager

Islay, UK

Senior London Account Manager

The Drinks Club
London, UK

On-Trade London Sales Executive

Domaine Direct
London, UK


18th Feb 2018

International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show

London,United Kingdom
26th Feb 2018

Spirited London

London,United Kingdom
15th Mar 2018
Click to view more

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

the drinks business is proud to announce the inaugural Global Malbec Masters 2017

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

the drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Sparkling Masters.

Click to view more