In December 1941, just days after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, United States president Franklin Delano Roosevelt informed his wife Eleanor that a guest, or guests, would be coming to stay at the White House.
“He told me I could not know who was coming, nor how many, but I must be prepared to have them stay over Christmas,” Eleanor Roosevelt wrote years later in The Atlantic. “He added as an afterthought that I must see to it that we had good champagne and brandy in the house and plenty of whiskey.”
Make that Pol Roger champagne, vintage Hine brandy and Johnny Walker Red—for the guest, of course, was Winston Churchill, the British bulldog prime minister whose eccentricities and fondness for libation are the stuff of legend.
“I must have a tumbler of sherry in m...