Your Favorite Authors’ Favorite Drinks

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To be clear, I’m not suggesting that you should get drunk every time you sit down to write. But I do think it’s interesting and worthy of note that so many writers are heavy drinkers. In fact, over 70% of people who have won the Nobel prize for literature have been alcoholics. For comparison, 8% of the general population is alcoholic.

Writers like to drink. It’s basically the only thing we have in common with lawyers. As someone who writes primarily in the morning, I’ve never really paired creativity with alcohol, but I imagine it’s a match made in some twisted version of heaven.

Does anyone know if screenwriters share the same fondness for drink as other types of writers? Any stats out there about this?

Anyhow, if you do decide to pair an alcoholic refreshment with your next writing session, Shortlist.com has shared a list of several favorite authors’ preferred drinks to inspire you. Read and drink responsibly!

William Faulkner

“A man shouldn’t fool with booze until he’s fifty, and then he’s a damn fool if he doesn’t,” once counselled William Faulkner, who fooled with the stuff well before his tender years. Keeping a bottle of whiskey within reaching distance was a key part of the author’s writing process – he also claimed he liked to work at night when he’d get some many ideas he wouldn’t remember them all in the morning – with Jack Daniels the usual label of choice. Take a trip to his hometown of Oxford, Mississippi, and you might even spot a bottle of the stuff on his gravestone.

DRINK OF CHOICE – MINT JULEP

Faulkner was partial to a Mint Julep, serving it with whiskey, sugar, ice and some crushed mint, all in a metal cup. The recipe was left at his Rowan Oak estate.

Raymond Chandler

“There is no bad whiskey – there are only some whiskeys that aren’t as good as others.” Treating the stuff like a modern day blogger would Red Bull, Raymond Chandler would have been the first to admit that he didn’t control his drink, it controlled him. When he was commissioned to whip up the screenplay for The Blue Dahlia in 1945, he got writer’s block, forcing him to tell his new studio employers that the only way he could finish the script was to do so while blind drunk, which he duly did. The story goes that Paramount honcho John Houseman, who was earlier invited over for a lunch by Chandler (and by lunch we mean a small meal which involved three double martinis, three brandies and a crème de menthe), was the one who found Chandlder passed out at his desk having finished the script, all neatly stacked next to some empty bottles.

DRINK OF CHOICE – GIMLET

“Half gin and half Rose’s lime juice and nothing else”, as described in Chandler’s 1953 classic The Long Goodbye.

Oscar Wilde

How could we forget old Oscar? The playwright’s charming one-liners on the subject of alcohol were only matched by his love for quaffing it. One of his big loves was absinthe, reportedly developing a habit for drinking the green potion while living in Paris, and putting up with the mule-kick aftertaste of the green potion to reap the rewards of its hallucinatory nature. Fully befitting his stature of a man who had a taste for the finer things in life, champagne was his other love, even in his darkest hour. Morphine lacking the appropriate effect, he eased the pain of his final few days with a melange of opium, chloral and champagne, causing him to quip the bittersweet line, “And now I am dying beyond my means.”

DRINK OF CHOICE – ICED CHAMPAGNE

Served as dry as his wit we’d imagine.

Read the rest of the list at Shortlist.

One thought on “Your Favorite Authors’ Favorite Drinks

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  1. Association doesn’t prove causation. Many famous writers don’t drink themselves senseless daily. Alcohol does different things to different people, depending on their genetics, blood chemistry, diet, state of health, and so on. It’s my belief that alcohol never improved anyone’s writing who didn’t later pay for it with worse writing, or who didn’t eventually have to, as L. Sprague de Camp put it, “drink more and more to write less and less.” Alcohol alters the way the brain is wired, negatively affecting perception, making the drinker unable to see how messed up she is.

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