China’s liquor-loving state leaders

History is soaked with leaders and politicians who loved more than a little dose of booze, from Winston Churchill to Joseph Stalin. dbHK takes a look at two Chinese state leaders who were fond of a drop or two.

Winston Churchill, Frank D Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin

US president Thomas Jefferson was a bona fide wine aficionado. As American ambassador to France, the diplomat’s taste for French wines took hold and he even tried to grow grapes in Virginia, making wines himself after returning to the States. Frank D Roosevelt had his Martini-soaked afternoons and Britain’s Winston Churchill is known for his love of alcohol, in particular Champagne. He was also partial to a drop of whisky and Armenian brandy. Joseph Stalin, a Communist stalwart, who was rumoured to have been given a Vodka-soaked cloth by his father instead of a pacifier, was practically brought up on the bottle. The Russian could apparently drink roughly 30 Vodkas and walk off sober following boozy state dinners.

How do Chinese leaders measure up to these historic heavy drinkers? We have selected two Chinese state leaders who are known for their love for either China’s Baijiu or yellow wine. Zhou Enlai, China’s first premier whose enviable drinking ability lent him the Chinese nickname of “Qian Bei Bu Zui (千杯不醉)” meaning “still sober after a thousand glasses”, while China’s paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, although admitting drinking was one of his biggest vices, slurped booze almost every day at lunch, the kind of health regimen that Keith Richards or Ernest Hemingway would have approved of.

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