When these celebrities and iconic characters want to knock one back, these are the drinks they choose.
1. Madeira – Ben Franklin
If there are two things Big Ben Franklin will always be remembered for, it’s drinking and syphilis. Or is it persuading the French to join in with the colonists to fight the British and the key-on-the-kite electricity experiment? Either or – the point is, when Franklin wasn’t changing the world he was refilling his glass.
His drink of choice? Madeira, an oxidized and fortified wine.
2. Mojito – Ernest Hemingway
You’d think Hemingway, the man’s man, would go for something like whiskey, straight up. But no, Bumby liked his rum and mint. If you’ve never been one for the Cuban cocktail, give Ernie’s recipe a try:
6 fresh mint leaves
Juice of 1 lime
2 tsp light brown sugar
1-1/2 oz. white rum, 3 oz. champagne
Sprig of fresh mint, for garnish
3. Gin Rickey – F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Rickey’s resurgence in the last decade has made it cool again, especially within the D.C. Beltway. But for F. Scott Fitzgerald, it was always cool. In the roaring '20s, he was known for being more than just a great writer—Fitzgerald’s low tolerance and tendency for tomfoolery gave him a reputation as a prankster. So, when he disclosed he loved gin because it wasn’t easy to detect on his breath, his friends were probably left biting their tongue. He made no secret of his love affair with drinking, once saying, "First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you." The gin rickey took him and was forever immortalized in The Great Gatsby.
4. Screwdriver – Truman Capote
The simple cocktail was known to Capote as “my orange drink.” So, if you’re looking to define a generation and genre of writing, sit back, pour yourself six ounces of orange juice, an ounce and a half of vodka and add two orange slices.
5. Margarita – Jack Kerouac
If anyone put away as many margaritas as Jack Kerouac, they’d quickly earn the title of “hot mess.” Sadly, he took his own words—“don’t drink to get drunk, drink to enjoy life”—a bit too seriously. At just 47 years old, Kerouac died of cirrhosis of the liver.
If you still want to indulge in the margaritas, here’s the recipe to please the writer of On The Road.
1 oz. Tequila
2/3 oz. Cointreau
1 oz. Fresh lime juice
Salt for rimming the glass (optional)
6. Scotch – Humphrey Bogart
“I should have never switched from scotch to martinis,” the great actor once said. And perhaps it was his love for scotch that kept him healthy. During the filming of The African Queen, everyone in the cast, with the exception of Bogart and John Huston, came down with dysentery, perhaps thanks to their diet of canned vegetables and scotch. “Whenever a fly bit Huston or me, it dropped dead.”
7. Martini – James Bond
Sure, James Bond isn’t real—but after the newest film in the franchise, Skyfall, had him drinking a Heineken rather than a martini, the uproar was anything but fake. Either way, nobody will be able to order a martini “shaken, not stirred” without looking like a weird Bond wannabe ever again.
8. Whiskey and water/Highball – Winston Churchill
The way this British leader lived makes the characters in Mad Men look soft. Then again, after you lead a nation against Nazi Germany, having whiskey for breakfast is an OK thing to do.
On a 1954 flight, here’s what the British newspaper The Telegraph reported Churchill ordering:
1st Tray. Poached egg, Toast, Jam, Butter, Coffee and milk, Jug of cold milk, Cold Chicken or Meat.
2nd Tray. Grapefruit, Sugar Bowl, Glass orange squash (ice), Whisky soda.
And finally: "Wash hands, cigar."
9. White Russian – Jeff Lebowski
During the 117-minute-long Big Lebowski, Jeff Bridges' character drinks nine White Russians and spills one of them. The recipe is simple: two parts vodka, one part Kahlua, one part cream. This three-component masterpiece inspired a generation of college kids.
10. Absinthe – Pablo Picasso
If drinking at all influenced Pablo Picasso’s painting of “The Absinthe Drinker,” then those bottles he bought were a great investment. In 2010, this Blue Period piece sold for $51.2 million.
11. Bud Light – President Barack Obama
Perhaps the most calculated drink in human history, Barack Obama’s “Beer Summit” put a Bud Light in the hand that, only hours later, could have been on the nuclear button. It probably wasn’t, but in the six-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon game, Bud Light and nuclear holocaust was just one step away. Nor has there ever been a more unlikely Bud Light drinker than our president, but it polled far better than a French Kronenbourg 1664.