Living Well

I came across this article published a year ago in the UK paper the Guardian.  Being an unabashed Anglophile it caught my eye.  I know this has absolutely nothing to do with Food or Frederick, but hey- it’s my blog and it cracked me up.  I also thought it was interesting considering the study that came out last week about women, alcohol and breast cancer.  (Save your comments please, I am well aware of the difference between empirical and anecdotal evidence)  Finally I am jealous of anyone who can have two glasses everyday of rosé champagne with dinner. Here are some excerpts:


It has been four years since last orders were called on her life but the Queen Mother remains an inspiration to us – a nation, as we are now known to the rest of Europe, of binge drinkers. In a new book, Behind Palace Doors, by her equerry, Major Colin Burgess, the Queen Mother is revealed to have put away an amount of alcohol that would put the lager-swillers of Ibiza Uncovered to shame.

She would start her drinking day at noon with her favourite tipple, gin and Dubonnet: two parts Dubonnet – a pink vermouth – to one part gin. “Rarely went a day without having at least one of these and getting the mix right was crucial,” writes Burgess. Because getting the mix of this potent drink – which, strangely, has never caught on – wrong would be disgusting.


Lunch with red wine followed, finished off with port. If you found yourself lunching with the Queen Mum, don’t think you would ever have got away with drinking only tap water. “How can you not have wine with your meal?” she would ask incredulously.


Her sense of duty to her blood alcohol level never foundered. At 6pm every day, according to Burgess, she would ask, “Colin, are we at the magic hour?” “I would then rather flamboyantly look at my watch, raise an eyebrow and say to her, ‘Yes, ma’am, I think it’s just about time,’ before popping off to mix her a martini.”


At dinner, she would down two glasses of Veuve Cliquot pink champagne, leaving her staff to finish the bottle (never let it be said that she was a selfish drinker).


A conservative estimate puts the number of alcohol units she drank at 70 a week (the recommended limit for a woman is 14) but she’s the one who lived until the age of 101, so take that, teetotallers.


No fewer than 11 alcohol manufacturers and wine merchants were awarded her royal warrant, with her distinctive coat of arms bearing a pair of cocktail swizzles and a paper umbrella.


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