How to Drink Like a Celebrity
Some of the world’s biggest stars share their own rules and philosophies for enjoying cocktails and spirits.
Since July we chatted with nearly twenty actors, musicians, celebrity chefs, authors and athletes about their own personal drinking rules. No matter if they prefer wine or neat whiskey, they have specific opinions. Read on for a selection of some of our favorite Drinking Rules answers from 2016.
What’s your favorite song to play on a bar jukebox? “I’m more than likely to do something by Merle Haggard. Maybe the Texas Playboys, Bob Wills. I listen to all kinds of music, but Merle was the man and he passed away this year. I make it a point to do a short tribute to him during the shows and make sure that nobody forgets about Merle’s legacy.” —George Strait
You drink while you cook but do you drink while you eat? “While I’m eating, [I drink] wine but not whiskey. Whiskey for me is a Scotch, which is an experience unto itself. I can’t do Scotch with food. Or I’ve yet to experience a good Scotch tasting with food.” —Hannah Hart
Is there a musician dead or alive that you would like to have a drink with? “Oh, man, that is a great question. Clifford Antone, he’d started a nightclub in Austin and he would always tell stories about hanging out with some of the blues guys, like Ben E. King and Albert Collins. They would hang out and drink whiskey and play cards. So I think I would want to sit down with Ben E. King and have a drink.” —Gary Clark Jr.
What has been your traditional cocktail of choice? “Tequila and tonic with a lemon twist. It was taught to me by Timothy Leary, my good friend. He came up with this blend and turned me on to it. And then I started turning everybody on to it. All the members of Green Day are buddies of mine. So I said, ‘Hey, you should try this drink.’ Then every night after their concert there was a little stand. And they call it the Cheech. And then it started to spread. People on the road, other bands. We had a Cheech over in Minnesota….” —Cheech Marin
How do you drink your rye? Neat? In cocktails? “In a glass. My favorite cocktail of all time is a Boulevardier and so I like rye in that. But my really good sipping rye, I’m just putting in a glass. I don’t want it cold. I don’t want a rock. I just want it in a glass.” —Alton Brown
How do you think you would fare on an Iron Chef–like show for bartenders? “If it’s all about bartending, it would be very difficult for me. Pairing drinks with food, that sounds fun.” —Masaharu Morimoto
Some episodes of Top Chef are pretty intense. Do you ever have a drink before filming? “Usually I don’t drink before I go to film. I drink a lot less on Top Chef than it looks like I’m drinking because I don’t have a head for alcohol. So I try to be really careful about that.” —Padma Lakshmi
Do you like to drink with other authors? “I know all my fellow authors for the most part, and I’m not close with any of them because, of course, we are rivals and that will never break down. So I could never imagine collaborating with anybody, or being buddies with anybody, or showing them my manuscripts, or drinking with them either. One exception is Tom Steinbeck, John’s son, who just died recently. He was a good friend here in Montecito. And he was one exception. I would often run into him at our local bar and we would talk. And often talk craft. I don’t know what it was. It was something about Tom’s wonderful, generous personality that he had. He was just great. He, by the way, drank a water glass of tequila with no ice. This was his drink of choice.” —T.C. Boyle
Do you have a favorite film or TV bartender? “Sugar from Banshee and Coach from Cheers.” —Wanda Sykes
Over the years you’ve had some long nights and seen some great parties. Do you have a favorite hangover cure? “Sleep in. Lots of water and stay in bed as long as you can. If you wake up at six in the morning and you went to bed at two and you over drank, you’re going to feel like shit the whole day.” —Sammy Hagar
Do you ever have a drink while you write? “No. If I had one beer, I couldn’t write a postcard afterward. I don’t know how these guys used to do it, Hemingway and Faulkner. I don’t know, honestly, how they functioned. I’m such a wimp. If I work all day, my wife and I go out and I love to have a Tanqueray & Tonic and it feels great. But if I had it in the morning or the afternoon or any kind of alcohol, I’m telling you the words don’t look the same on paper. Nothing that my brain is spitting out is going to be as sharp or as good if I have any. It requires every ounce of sobriety just for me to get a paragraph right.” —Carl Hiaasen
Since your show, Roadies, is all about musicians, what is the perfect music to listen to while enjoying a drink? “That depends on the vibe of the moment. Sometimes you want Billie Holiday, sometimes you want Prince.” —Carla Gugino
Is there a cocktail you would retire from bar menus? “I am not going to ban anyone else from drinking anything. But I can’t stand when people use the moment of ordering a drink to demonstrate to the bar in general how much they know. I think the bartender should be able to pull out a red flag and throw it. ‘I’m sorry. You’ve taken too long demonstrating your knowledge of single malt Scotch. You’re out of the bar. We can’t have you here. Other people are just trying to just order drinks.’” —Dave Barry
Do you remember the first drink you ever had? “The first drink that my parents made for us was Campari on ice with lime. It was a drink [they] had just about every night. That was the first one and I did not like it very much. But things got better after that. You know? Margaritas were my favorite in college.” —Giada De Laurentiis
How particular are you about the ice you use for your drinks? “Nothing says the party is over more than when you run out of ice. It’s definitely one of those things that I always have plenty of. Big cubes, small cubes—it’s all ice. I’m not that fancy.” —Rande Gerber
Do you prefer beer in a glass or in a bottle? “Bottle. Just because it’s more convenient. It’s a straight line from the bottle to me. There are no pit stops. No changing of planes.” —Benicio Del Toro
Do you believe in the liquor-before-beer adage? “I 100 percent do and I learned from a young age that liquor before beer is a much safer way to live your life. And as you get older, not only is it smart, it’s absolutely necessary.” —Landon Donovan
Are there any bottles in your collection that are off-limits? “I have this rule: If I have more than 40 people over, I bring some of the good juice down to the basement, especially with my soccer buddies because they have no clue. If it’s a party of five or six let’s keep all the good stuff up and out and talk about it.” —Marcus Samuelsson