Famous and funny alcohol quotesBy Andy Young
Last week we published a famous quote from Madame Lily Bollinger, and that got us thinking about our favourite alcohol-related lines.
Lily Bollinger was asked how much she enjoyed her own product, to which she replied: “I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch – unless I’m thirsty.”
Of course Lily is not the only person from a Champagne house to be attributed to a famous quote: When he first tasted his newly created Champagne, Dom Pierre Pérignon is quoted as saying: “Come quickly. I’m tasting the stars.”
Beer, whisky and wine, plus a lot of other drinks, have all been the subject of famous and fun quotes from a wide variety of people. Here’s a selection of our favourites.
What is your favourite alcohol-related quote? Tell us in the comments section below.
Benjamin Franklin was one of the founding fathers of the US and also has scientist, inventor, statesman and diplomat listed among his many other occupations.
Franklin also invented the lightning rod, bifocals and the Franklin stove. He was a hugely important part of America’s struggle for independence, but he also had some fun quotes attributed to him regarding alcohol. He is quoted as saying: “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
He also said: “In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria.”
Winston Churchill’s favourite Champagne was Pol Roger and some figures state that between 1908 and 1945 Churchill had 42,000 bottles of Champagne opened for him. His daily routine is said to have consisted of a large breakfast at 7.30am, a weak whisky and soda at 11am and Champagne with his lunch.
As someone who enjoyed so much Champagne, it is perhaps not surprising he has quotes attributed to him about the drink. One has a touch of Lily Bollinger to it: “Champagne. In success you deserve it and in defeat, you need it.”
Napoleon Bonaparte is also credited with a very similar quote: “I drink Champagne when I win, to celebrate and I drink Champagne when I lose, to console myself.”
Churchill also said: “Remember, gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!”
And one final quote attributed to Churchill is: “I’ve gotten more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.”
Another famous Churchill quote came after he was confronted by a socialist member of parliament, Bessie Braddock. Braddock said to Churchill: “Sir, you are drunk.” Churchill replied: “Bessie, you are ugly. You are very ugly. I’ll be sober in the morning.”
Davis and Sinatra
Here’s a fun one thrown into the mix by legendary singer and actor Frank Sinatra: “Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy.”
And fellow show business superstar Bette Davis said: “There comes a time in every woman’s life when the only thing that helps is a glass of Champagne.”
American writer and satirist, Mark Twain was well known for his wit. As well as being a popular writer, he was also in demand as a speaker, performing what would now be considered stand-up comedy.
Twain’s wit can be seen in a huge number of the quotes attributed to him, these include: “I always take Scotch whisky at night as a preventive of toothache. I have never had the toothache; and what is more, I never intend to have it.” And: “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.”
Raymond Chandler was another writer with a talent for fun whiskey quotes. The popular novelist and screenwriter quite rightly said: “There is no bad whiskey. There are only some whiskeys that aren’t as good as others.”
Like his father Chandler was an alcoholic and his drinking contributed to him being sacked as the vice-president of the Dabney Oil Syndicate in 1932. But losing his job at that point saw Chandler turn to writing to make money, a career which sustained him until his death in 1959.
Another quote attributed to Chandler is: “Alcohol is like love. The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine. After that you take the girl’s clothes off.”
He also offered the advice: “I think a man ought to get drunk at least twice a year just on principle, so he won’t let himself get snotty about it.”
Oscar Wilde was known to enjoy a drink, it may have been what he was referring to when he said: “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” The Irish writer and poet also famously said that “Work is the curse of the drinking classes.” As we’ve said previously in db Wilde also talked about Champagne during his libel trial against the Marquess of Queensberry.
And one last quote from Wilde, which perhaps sums up his attitude towards drinking: “There can be nothing more frequent than an occasional drink.”
It can come as no great surprise that a look at quotes about alcohol features Ernest Hemingway.
The American author and journalist has been described as a “thinly controlled alcoholic throughout much of his life” although he did start to drink more heavily then usual in the latter stages of his life. Hemingway gave some good advice when it came to drinking, when he said: “Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.”
Although his observation on eating habits is probably flawed, “Any man who eats dessert is not drinking enough,” at least he was honest about why he drank: “I drink to make other people more interesting.”
Comedian, actor and writer WC Fields has been described as a “hard-drinking egotist”, and he has many alcohol-related quotes attributed to him.
Fields was particularly known for his heavy drinking in his later life, and once said: “Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.”
He was quite flippant about his drinking, or it would appear so from this quote: “I exercise strong self control. I never drink anything stronger than gin before breakfast.” And as for the reasons behind his drinking, he said: “A woman drove me to drink and I never even had the courtesy to thank her.”
Some other famous alcohol quotes include:
“I spent a lot of my money on booze, birds and fast cars – the rest I just squandered.” George Best
“May the enemies of Ireland never eat bread nor drink whiskey, but be tormented with itching without benefit of scratching.” (Irish toast)
“Whisky may not cure the common cold, but it fails more agreeably than most other things.” (Scottish saying)
Although this saying disagrees with that: “What whiskey will not cure, there is no cure for.”