Good men drink good whiskey. Whether it be scotch, bourbon, or Irish history has shown us time and time again that men worthy of our admiration are fans of the good brown elixir. Some used it to inspire art, others used it to treat their colds, and still others use it to help them fly Apache helicopters. But while their reason and rationale vary, they all agree—nothing beats a good whiskey. Here are 6 famous men and the whiskeys they prefer.
Frank Sinatra – Jack Daniel’s
What’s there to say about Old Blue Eyes that hasn’t already been said? Did he have the voice of an angel? Absolutely. And what do you think that angel lubed his throat pipes with? Jack Daniel’s. Sinatra was such a huge fan of Old No. 7 that Jack Daniel’s released two limited labels in his honor—Sinatra Select and, to commemorate what would have been his 100th birthday, Sinatra Century.
And you wouldn’t guess it from his music, but Sinatra was a pretty wild guy. He was one of the original members of the Rat Pack, ran around with actual gangsters, and partied harder than the best of ‘em. He’s credited with once saying, “Basically, I’m for anything that gets you through the night—be it prayer, tranquilizers, or a bottle of Jack Daniel’s.” He definitely got down in his day. Link
Lemmy – Jack Daniel’s (and Coca Cola)
We included one man and one man only on this list who drank his whiskey mixed, and his name is Lemmy. Lead singer of Motörhead, one of the gnarliest rock and roll bands to ever grace a stage, Lemmy’s penchant for hard living—sex, drugs, rock and roll, and especially booze—is a thing of legend.
After his death (prostate cancer, of all things) late last year, a petition was formed online to officially rename Lemmy’s drink of choice, the popular “Jack and Coke” (Jack Daniel’s and Coca-Cola) to “The Lemmy.” Food and Beverage Magazine listened, and made the official change, honoring the petition that accrued more than 40,000 online signatures. Link
Andrew Jackson – Homebrew
When we think of American badasses, Andrew Jackson nears the top of our list. Aside from his incredible battle-tested wartime heroism, Jackson was big on gun fighting. A reporter once called his wife a whore, so he said something like, “Yeah? Fuck you. Let’s duel about it.” So they did, and Jackson killed him. It has been alleged that throughout his gun-fighting career, Jackson killed more than 100 men.
And he didn’t just have a penchant for gun violence. He also lived like a 19th century rock star. After he was elected POTUS, he threw public parties at the white house, beat an attempted assassin with a walking cane, and at his funeral, his pet parrot had to be removed from the procession because it wouldn’t stop cussing in the Lord’s house.
Jackson was also a well-reputed whiskey guy. Old Hickory loved the brown stuff, and he never had a noted brand of preference because he was too busy making his own. When Jackson wasn’t practicing law, shooting dudes in the throat, and being a goddamn president, he was entranced by the process of alcohol distillation. He had his own distillery at Hermitage, his Tennessee plantation home.There’s even rumors about that when his friend, John Coffee, was suffering from arthritis, Jackson recommended he take a whiskey bath. A bath. In fucking whiskey. Today, there’s a bourbon whiskey called Old Hickory, named after the guy we’ve been talking about this whole section.
John Wayne – Wild Turkey Bourbon
John Wayne was another man’s man, and he too was whiskey guy. Lore tells us Wayne was a situational drinker of sorts—tequila, vodka, cognac, and even high-end French wines, on occasion. But it came time to declare some loyalties, Wayne was a bourbon guy. In an interview, his son, Ethan, recounted that when his dad would take on a movie role that would keep him in exotic places for months at a time, he’d pack cases of Wild Turkey for the trip, just to make sure he didn’t have to go without the good stuff for too long.
As a testament to his legacy, Wayne’s children founded a whiskey brand called Duke Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, named after their late father (his nickname was The Duke). Link
Anthony Bourdain – Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon
A New York-born and Jersey-bred creator and ground shaker of the highest degree, Anthony Bourdain has proven himself an incredibly talented chef, food critic, traveler, and writer. He’s also a certified booze connoisseur.
Bourdain once jokingly (presumably?) tweeted that he was considering getting a full back tattoo dedicated to Pappy, and has talked about it in several interviews. When he sat down with Eric Lipert for an interview with the Reserve Channel, Lipert surprised Bourdain with an unopened bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 20-Year. Bourdain’s face lit up, he immediately let out a gasp, and proclaimed, “That is the most glorious bourbon on the face of the planet.” You can’t really get any clearer than that.
Winston Churchill – Johnnie Walker Red
If you’re gonna talk men and whiskey, you’d be a fool to leave Winston Churchill out of the discussion. Easily one of the most bad ass figures in human history, Churchill is a legend, and his penchant for whisky (booze in general, really) is a significant part of his claim to fame. When he would go to the White House, it was rumored that President Roosevelt took great joy in operating on what he called “Winston Hours.” FDR would take literal days to recover from all the action, which is probably an understatement. It also explains why Stalin seems so out of place in the pictures he took with other Allied leaders. It wasn’t the communism, it that he was never invited to their parties.
While he was known to drink everything from champagne and brandy to claret and gin, Churchill started every day the same—whisky and water. And not just any whisky, but Johnnie Walker Red. Yup. Winston Churchill, the man who rallied Britain against the long arm of Hitler’s unstoppable Luftwaffe and made sure the empire kept its war machine producing, drank the cheapest bottle of Johnnie Walker a man can buy. It was such a prominent part of his life that his children called the concoction the “Papa Cocktail,” which is a name that’s infinitely better than the traditional “whisky and water.”