John Wayne. The Duke. The Ringo Kid. Besides being one of the most prominent figures in American cinema and a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity, Marion Robert Morrison was, as all your role models should be, a prodigious drinker of fine alcohols.
There are stories of Wayne putting back inhuman amounts of booze. He was fond of walking into random bars and shouting “Drinks on me!” paying everyone’s tab for the night. When writer James Bacon published a collection of the biggest lovers of the bottle in Hollywood and listed Gene Autry at the top with Wayne, the Duke cornered him and yelled “How dare you say Gene drinks as much as I do! That piker couldn’t carry my ice!”
So how do you model your life around the man who once owned Lassie, knew Wyatt Earp personally, and told Nikita Khrushchev he was going to “knock him on his bleeping ass?”
Have big pockets, even bigger cojones, and follow these 4 simple steps:
1. Drink Bourbon. Nothing Else Will Satisfy
When you’re John Wayne, you don’t settle for barley in your mash. You get down on your hands and knees and you beat the hell out of an ear of corn until it gives up its sweet nectar. John Wayne’s drink of choice was Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon. He drank it neat, and you should too. If you can’t handle the sweet fire of bourbon at its full strength, you don’t deserve the taste at all.
2. If There’s No Bourbon, Drink Tequila
Sometimes, the bourbon’s gone. If this happens, you can open up some agave spirit. John Wayne, being a man of the West, discovered tequila long before it got popular. According to his son Ethan, Wayne always drank it with a little crushed ice and a tiny sliver of lemon, because a man can be delicate too, damn it! If you do drink tequila, it sure as hell better be Extra Añejo.
3. Chill Your Drink With Glacier
Just because you don’t want to weaken your booze, doesn’t mean you can’t have it cold. John Wayne used to take his yacht, a reconditioned WW2 minesweeper called The Wild Goose, up to Alaska to break off pieces of icebergs for his liquor cabinet. Wayne said the sea ice “would last all night…[and] doesn’t water down the drinks.”
4. Don’t Be A Snob
Despite all this, don’t be overly picky. John Wayne understood that booze is a plant offering up its warm, liquid soul to you, and he always honored that sacrifice. He also kept a large collection of vodkas (gifted to him out of fear and respect by Khrushchev), high-end French wine, champagne, cognac and aquavit (Swedish Everclear). About his father, Ethan said “depending on occasion he drank everything.” Except beer, because all they had in the West was Coors back then, and you have to draw the line somewhere.
So there you go. Follow Wayne’s example. The Duke once famously said, “I never trust a man that doesn’t drink.”
You shouldn’t either..