There’s little in life better than pouring a double whiskey and sitting down to relax after a long day.
Whether you drink Scotch, rye, or bourbon, you are in the company of some of the world’s finest minds and characters. Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, and James Joyce all enjoyed a dram, and they had no reservations about speaking publicly on the subject.
To help inspire your deeper investigation of whiskey (or your next whiskey bar outing), we’ve put together a list of the romantic, funny, and even wistful things that celebrated wits, writers, politicians, and even athletes have said about their beloved booze.
Scroll down to read our favorite whiskey-related musings.
In three words: Besuited American humorist
Thoughts on whiskey: “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.”
“Give an Irishman lager for a month, and he’s a dead man. An Irishman is lined with copper, and the beer corrodes it. But whiskey polishes the copper and is the saving of him.”
In three words: Novelist and screenwriter
Thoughts on whiskey: “There is no bad whiskey. There are only some whiskeys that aren’t as good as others.”
In three words: British Prime Minister
Thoughts on whiskey: “The water was not fit to drink. To make it palatable, we had to add whisky. By diligent effort, I learned to like it.”
In three words: British prop comedian
Thoughts on whiskey: “I’m on a whisky diet. I’ve lost three days already.”
In three words: American actor, Casablanca
Thoughts on whiskey: His last words were, “I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.”
In three words: Late Night host
Thoughts on whiskey: “Happiness is having a rare steak, a bottle of whisky, and a dog to eat the rare steak.”
In three words: American author, strategist
Thoughts on whiskey: “I’m a simple man. All I want is enough sleep for two normal men, enough whiskey for three, and enough women for four.”
In three words: 16th U.S. president
Thoughts on whiskey: “Tell me what brand of whiskey that Grant drinks. I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals.”
In three words: MLB relief pitcher
Thoughts on whiskey: “Ninety percent I’ll spend on good times, women, and Irish Whiskey. The other ten percent I’ll probably waste.”
In three words: Scottish inventor, penicillin
Thoughts on whiskey: “A good gulp of hot whiskey at bedtime—it’s not very scientific, but it helps.”
In three words: Swashbuckling movie star
Thoughts on whiskey: “I like my whisky old and my women young.”
In three words: Proud Scotsman, writer
Thoughts on whiskey: “Love makes the world go round? Not at all. Whiskey makes it go round twice as fast.”
Nguyen Cao Ky
In three words: Vietnamese political leader
Thoughts on whiskey: “Americans are big boys. You can talk them into almost anything. Just sit with them for half an hour over a bottle of whiskey and be a nice guy.”
In three words: Glamorous movie star
Thoughts on whiskey: ”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.”
In three words: Japanese bestselling author
Thoughts on whiskey: “Whiskey, like a beautiful woman, demands appreciation. You gaze first, then it’s time to drink.”
George Bernard Shaw
In three words: Irish playwright, Pygmalion
Thoughts on whiskey: “Whisky is liquid sunshine.”
In three words: American funnyman, actor
Thoughts on whiskey: “Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.”
“Drown in a cold vat of whiskey? Death, where is thy sting?”
In three words: Wild 7th president
Thoughts on whiskey: “I have never in my life seen a Kentuckian who didn’t have a gun, a pack of cards, and a jug of whiskey.”
In three words: Celebrated Southern author
Thoughts on whiskey: “My own experience has been that the tools I need for my trade are paper, tobacco, food, and a little whisky.”
In three words: Dubliners and Ulysses
Thoughts on whiskey: “The light music of whiskey falling into a glass—an agreeable interlude.”
In three words: Russian pianist, composer
Thoughts on whiskey: “My God, so much I like to drink Scotch that sometimes I think my name is Igor Stra-whiskey.”
Noah “Soggy” Sweat
In three words: Southern legislator, judge
Thoughts on whiskey: Sweat gave his famous “If-by-whiskey” speech to the Mississippi legislature in 1953. Author John Grisham’s reading begins at 5:04 in the clip below.
“I had not intended to discuss this controversial subject at this particular time. However, I want you to know that I do not shun controversy. On the contrary, I will take a stand on any issue at any time, regardless of how fraught with controversy it might be. You have asked me how I feel about whiskey. All right, here is how I feel about whiskey.
If when you say whiskey you mean the devil’s brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster, that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean the evil drink that topples the Christian man and woman from the pinnacle of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, and despair, and shame and helplessness, and hopelessness, then certainly I am against it.
But; If when you say whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman’s step on a frosty, crispy morning; if you mean the drink which enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness, and to forget, if only for a little while, life’s great tragedies, and heartaches, and sorrows; if you mean that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars, which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm; to build highways and hospitals and schools, then certainly I am for it.
This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise.”