Top 10 famous whisky loversBy Amy Hopkins
Some of the world’s most famous politicians, sports stars, writers and pop stars are among those to have declared their love for whisky throughout the ages.
While some of these stars have simply expressed their appreciation of whisky, others have taken their love a step further by launching their own brand of whisky or becoming a spokesperson for their favourite label.
A couple of celebrities from by-gone eras included in this list have even been immortalised in a namesake expression, such as John Wayne and Frank Sinatra.
From Britain’s revered wartime leader, to one of the most famous actress working in Hollywood today, this is our pick of the world’s top 10 famous whisky lovers, both past and present.
Can you think of another famous face who has declared themselves a fan of whisky? Then let us know by leaving a comment below. If you enjoy reading this list, check out our pick of the top 10 famous absinthe drinkers.
Not many people would have been privy to retired football superstar David Beckham’s penchant for whisky until earlier this year when he teamed up with Diageo to launch the Haig Club whisky brand.
Beckham revealed he had agreed to launch the single grain Scotch brand in collaboration with Diageo, playing a “fundamental role” in its development along with music mogul and ex-Spice Girls manager Simon Fuller.
Since the whisky launched, Beckham has starred in an international advertising campaign, with a TV commercial shot by British director Guy Ritchie, and has made public appearances rarely without a whisky in-hand.
Iconic Rat Pack member and Hollywood entertainer Frank Sinatra was well-know for his love of booze and women, his favourite expression being Jack Daniel’s, which he enjoyed on stage at the end of many of his shows.
Sinatra would typically offer a toast using a glass of Jack Daniel’s during his concerts from the 1950s to the 1990s. “I can assure you he was very fond of Jack Daniel’s for many years,” said his son, Frank Sinatra Jr. Jack Daniel’s demonstrated mutual admiration when in 2012 the brand launched its Sinatra Select edition to mark the centenary of the star’s birth.
The singer and actor was also included in out list of the top 10 funny drinking quotes for his clever quip: “Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy.”
Revered British prime minister and wartime leader Winston Churchill was certainly no stranger to a glass of Champagne dram of whisky, or fine cigar, with reports claiming his daily routine consisted of large breakfast at 7.30am, a weak whisky and soda at 11am and Champagne with his lunch.
He is famous for stating during the war in India: “The water was not fit to drink. To make it palatable, we had to add whisky. By diligent effort, I learned to like it.”
It is believed that Churchill’s favourite whisky was Johnnie Walker, while his favourite Cognac was Hine.
John Wayne is another actor whose love of the water of life is well documented. His family even launched a new Bourbon brand named after the late western star’s nickname, Duke.
Duke is said to have been launched by Wayne’s estate in order to fulfil his ambition to distill whiskey. The Kentucky Straight Bourbon also reflects Wayne’s favourite Bourbon from the early 1960s, which he kept in his private collection.
“My father thrived on new projects and adventures and he always loved a great glass of whiskey at the end of the day,” said Ethan Wayne. “Our goal with the Duke was to make a Bourbon that embodies the spirit, strength and richness my father personified while realizing his unfulfilled dream of distilling fine spirits.”
As the once-wife of Frank Sinatra during the 1950s, it’s no wonder glamorous Hollywood actress Ava Gardner had a love of whisky and smoking.
She’s famed for telling one interviewer: “I wish to live to 150 years old, but the day I die, I wish it to be with a cigarette in one hand and a glass of whiskey in the other.”
While US president Barak Obama may have recently proposed holding a “Bourbon summit” with Republican Mitch McConnell, his democratic companion Hilary Clinton demonstrated a fondness for Canadian whisky in 2008.
In North Carolina, Clinton was spotted having a few sips of a dram of Crown Royal Canadian whisky, before drinking the rest of shot in one swift gulp.
Clinton then sat down with the local mayor for beer and pizza, claiming “my campaign drives people to drink”.
Irish pop band The Script were rumoured in September this year to be turning their love of Irish whiskey into a business, investing in a cask of whiskey from the Kilbeggan distillery. According to The Daily Star, Guitarist Mark Sheehan said: “We’re into whiskey and I invest in it.”
Lead singer Danny O’Donoghue added: “We even have our own barrel in Kilbeggan. It’s there right by President Obama’s casket.
“We can’t taste it for another three years, so we have been messing around talking about our market. Mine will be called Frisky Whiskey.”
Earlier this year Mila Kunis, star of Black Swan and Friends with Benefits, was recruited as the face of Jim Beam and proclaimed her new found love of the brand.
“As a fan of Bourbon and a huge proponent of making history, I am thrilled to be the newest member of the Jim Beam family,” said Kunis, who was personally educated on Jim Beam by its master distiller Fred Noe, including how to perfect the “Kentucky chew”.
However, Kunis said her appreciation of Bourbon was developed a few years ago, telling Details magazine: “I wanted something that I could sip on that was delicious. And so I started drinking bourbon. It’s hard for me to sip vodka. And bourbon has a nice warm tingle going down.”
American writer and satirist Samuel Clemens, otherwise known as Mark Twain, is well-known for his witty one-liners and love of whisky.
Another celebrity included in our list of funny drinking quotes, Twain once said: “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.”
The writer, who produced thousands of articles and more than 30 books, also said: “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whisky is never enough”, a phrase printed on a selection of Glencairn whisky glasses.
Mumford & Sons
In July 2013, it was reported that British folk pop band Mumford & Sons, ardent lovers of whisky, planned to release their own expression.
The Grammy award-winning band said that they would be interested in creating their own whisky in the future. “It’ll happen,” pianist Ben Lovett told The Sun. “It takes a few years to make, so we better get cracking.”
The band, also consisting of lead singer Marcus Mumford, banjo player Winston Marshall and bassist Ted Dwane, enlisted former music moguls turned whisky lovers Caskstrength to create whisky cocktails backstage at their recent Gentlemen of the Road tour for VIPs, friends and family.