The Drinker’s Dinner Party: Part 1

Imagine having the power to create the ultimate dinner party. A magical time travelling conjuring ability to make people appear, or the scientific knowledge to be able to invent a Time Travelling Delorean and speed into the past, grab key figures during their pomp and transport them to a suitably luxurious venue for dinner.


(Your carriage awaits)

Why a dinner party? Dinner parties are where you meet the most interesting and divisive of people. It’s where the greatest conversations are had. Ideas are shared, arguments are fought, and relationships are forged or lost in the fire.

The Chef of choice would be Heston Blumenthal, as he creates an atmosphere where the food is an unforgettable experience of hedonism, delirium and showmanship (while being exquisite). The lighting would be a mixture of short table lights and tea candles.  The aroma of cigar smoke, perfume and mouth-watering spice would be intoxicating and enchanting. There would be several musicians attending the evening, but to begin with, I would have the jazz songstress Niki King to soothe the guests while they get suitably merry, at which point I am sure some of them would take to the stage to continue the musical entertainment.


(Heston and Niki. The Chef and the Singer)

The question that is always asked is; who would you invite? Who would be on the ultimate dinner party guest list? Who is going to provide the most interesting conversation, jokes, stories, anecdotes, opinions, intrigue and entertainment?


 (Martell recently had a celebrity dinner party at Harrod’s with Chef Raymond Blanc, Terry Wogan, Jodie Kidd and a few others. Click on the photo for a link to their night. They didn’t have a Delorean though)


The attendees to my invite only soiree are people who lived life to the full and truly enjoyed life’s pleasures. In today’s society, they would probably be considered to have slightly over indulged. In the past they were seen as people who lived  as if every day was going to be their last day, but still worked hard, had class, dignity, power and in some cases; brilliance.

Having spoken about the culinary delights briefly (as the organiser for this event, I trust my Chef Heston implicitly) we turn to the important matter; what will they taste, drink and imbibe? This is where I will reveal my guest list, as they each have a specific drink (or drinks) they would not be without,  and our bartender for the evening will have to cater for them.

The Guestlist

1. Winston Churchill

A man who definitely enjoyed the finer things in life, he would be interesting to have at a dinner party, as his political insight and perception were unmatched. His views on things today would be of interest. He would be very divisive, as all politicians are. (I won’t be including too many politicians in this party. Dinner Parties and politics are a dangerous mix)

Famous Quips about imbibing include ‘ I have taken more from Brandy than it has taken from me’. He was by all accounts an excellent host who offered his guests unlimited amounts of Champagne, Brandy and Cigar’s

To drink for you sir: 

At Dinner: Pol Roger Champagne was his favourite Champagne (there is actually a Winston Churchill edition of Pol Roger). He reportedly enjoyed it so much , Pol Roger made a pint sized bottle for him.

After Dinner: Whisky would be next. He was good friends with Alistair Walker, so Johnny Walker Whisky would have to be in good supply.

And perhaps a final cocktail to polish off the night: A Winston Churchill Martini is 5 shots of Gin (not even vermouth!) and he had a penchant for Cuban Cigar’s (Hence a Churchill is actually an official cigar size). Done.

2. Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall

Husband and Wife. Both Icon’s of American Cinema, he was probably most well remembered for Casablanca, where he played a nightclub owner trying to keep his business going during the Second World War. and she for many film Noir roles including ‘The Big Sleep’ (as well as being infamous for her sultry good looks and husky voice).


He was well known for playing a hard boiled cynic with a heart of gold, she the stunning leading lady and sometimes, the femme fatale.

He had some great quips regarding the subject of drinking: ‘The problem with the world is everyone is a few drinks behind’ and apparently some of his last words were ‘I never should have switched from Scotch to Martini’s’.

The founding members of the Ratpack (A Hollywood group of actors who liked to party including; Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis jnr  and Judy Garland. Term first coined in 1955). It was Lauren Bacall, who exclaimed after a particularly heavy night in Vegas , when she was surveying the wreckage, that they were a ‘Ratpack’. When asked about the purpose of the Ratpack, her response was ‘to stay up late and drink lots of bourbon!’

To Drink for you folks?

For Bogie,  Bourbon, Scotch and Martini’s. For Lauren, probably just the Bourbon

End of Part 1

So that’s Part 1. Part 2 will include Charming Crooner’s (Ole Blue Eyes), the odd fictional character (martini’s shaken not stirred anyone?) and perhaps the odd writer and revolutionary.

Before I go, I need a bit of help. Can anyone suggest the position of bartender for this occasion? They can be historic, current or even fictional. They need to know their Dry Martini’s from their Screwdrivers though!

Chris Hoban

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