World leaders’ favourite drinks
The former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who died today, once told her personal assistant “you must have whisky to give you energy”.
Baroness Thatcher died in her sleep after suffering from a stroke, she was 87. Thatcher was the UK’s first female prime minister, and she was in office from 1979 to 1990. She is widely acclaimed to be one of Britain’s most dominant political figures of the last century.
In a documentary about Baroness Thatcher’s life in 2003 her former personal assistant, Cynthia Crawford, revealed that the pair “sat up all night drinking” after the PM learned that she had only secured a narrow win in the first round of the Conservative Party leadership contest in November 1990. That contest would ultimately lead to the end of her premiership.
Crawford also said that Thatcher had told her that gin and tonic, despite being a favourite of her husband Denis, was not good for drinking through the night. Crawford said: “I remember her once saying to me: ‘Dear, you cannot drink gin and tonic in the middle of the night. You must have whisky to give you energy’.”
The former prime minister’s favourite brand is listed here, as well as the favourite drink of other world leaders.
Baroness Thatcher was one of Britain’s main leaders of the last century. Like the current prime minister Thatcher’s favourite drink was whisky, although her choice of Bell’s blended Scotch, is very different to David Cameron’s preference.
In the run-up to the 2010 General Election Britain’s prime minister David Cameron told workers at Fuller’s brewery, “I tend to drink bitter rather than lager” and he previously told ShortList magazine that he likes nothing better than watching darts and drinking Guinness. But he told Radio 4 listeners that his Desert Island luxury would be Isle of Jura single malt.
France’s president François Hollande is a fan of his country’s wine. Shortly before being voted into office he told the Revue de Vin de France: “Like many French, I am seduced by the excellence of the wines of our country. “I appreciate tasting wines with friends and family. For me these are always moments of conviviality, sharing discovery. Sometimes I’ll open a good bottle to celebrate a major event, such as a political victory. If I’m elected, I’ll celebrate this with my family over a good French wine.” Hollande’s predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy claimed that he did not touch alcohol, which often drew criticism from France’s winemakers. Vincent Charleux, a winemaker for Gerard Bertrand said of Sarkozy: “Given that wine is in crisis in France, he could at least make an effort. It gives a negative message.”
Barack Obama has stated that his favourite drink is Black Forest berry iced tea, but the US president was pictured enjoying a pint of Guinness when he visited Ireland. His favourite alcoholic drink is said to be beer, with Miller Lite Draft his favourite, although the White House has now installed a microbrewery. Previous president George W Bush was known to be a heavy drinker before taking office in 2001, with Jim Beam being his favourite drink. As reported in db‘s sister publication The Spirits Business, Bush apparently gave up drinking after a “wild, drunken weekend” to celebrate his 40th birthday.
It would be easy to think that Putin’s favourite drink would be vodka, but he is actually not much of a drinker. It has been reported that before becoming Russia’s president he used to empty his drinks into flower pots. But he developed a taste for beer when he visited Germany and now that is reportedly the only alcohol that he drinks. Putin’s low-level drinking is in stark contrast to the first president of the Russian Federation, Boris Yeltsin, who was leader from 1991 to 1999. Yeltsin was known to be a big vodka drinker and reportedly almost caused several international incidents as a result of being drunk. In 1995 while staying at the White House a drunk Yeltsin slipped passed his guards and was later found outside the White House in his underpants, trying to hail a taxi and buy some pizza.
Russia’s prime minister is another political leader who is not a huge drinker, water apparently his favoured drink. But when he does take time off from water Medvedev enjoys drinking wine. In 2011 Medvedev suggested that one way for his country to deal with alcoholism was for people to drink more wine, he said: “Winemaking is one of the sectors that should be developed to contribute to the eradication of alcoholism.”
Australia’s prime minister recently said in an interview that she enjoys drinking red wine and occassionally has white wine. Unfortunately she did not go into detail about which wine she enjoys the most, although she may be interested read about the top 10 wine trends in her country. Despite a love of wine, when Gillard visited an Australian bar in New York to thank the patrons for their efforts in fundraising for victims of flooding, she decided to order a beer, which she happily drank from the bottle.
Germany’s chancellor has been photographed on several occasions enjoying a glass of beer. But it is not clear whether she is still a fan after this waiter poured a tray of beer down her back.
China’s premier is stepping down in March and may use his retirement to enjoy his favourite drink of fine wine. After Hu visited the White House in 2011 the US government stopped releasing details of the wine served at state dinners afterwards one wine jumped in value from US$115 to $350 a bottle.
Tony Blair talked about his drinking in his memoir. Mr Blair wrote: “By the standards of days gone by I was not even remotely a toper, and I couldn’t do lunchtime drinking except on Christmas Day, but if you took the thing everyone always lies about – units per week – I was definitely at the outer limit. Stiff whisky or G&T before dinner, couple of glasses of wine or even half a bottle with it. So not excessively excessive. I had a limit. But I was aware that it had become a prop.”