Alcoholic beverages

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This entry should contain ONLY quotes about alcohol in general; quotes about beer or wine specifically should go in those respective entries.

A selection of alcoholic drinks: red wine, malt whisky, lager, sparkling wine, lager, cherry liqueur and red wine

An alcoholic beverage is a drink containing ethanol, commonly known as alcohol — although in chemistry the definition of alcohol includes many other compounds. Alcoholic beverages are divided into three general classes: beers, wines, and spirits.


  • If all be true that I do think,
    There are five reasons we should drink:
    Good wine, a friend, or being dry,
    Or lest we should be by and by,
    Or any other reason why.
    • Henry Aldrich, Oxford Book of Seventeenth Century Verse, H. J. C. Grierson and G. Bullough, eds. (1934) Oxford University Press.
  • Fill up the goblet and reach to me some!
    Drinking makes wise, but dry fasting makes glum.
  • No substance in nature, as far as yet known, has, when it reaches the brain, such power to induce mental and moral changes of a disastrous character as alcohol. Its transforming power is marvelous, and often appalling. It seems to open a way of entrance into the soul for all classes of foolish, insane or malignant spirits, who, so long as it remains in contact with the brain, are able to hold possession.
    • Timothy Shay Arthur, Grappling with the Monster; Or, The Curse and the Cure of Strong Drink (1877), Ch. 4.
  • Or merry swains, who quaff the nut-brown ale,
    And sing enamour'd of the nut-brown maid.
  • Nose, nose, jolly red nose,
    And who gave thee that jolly red nose?
    Nutmegs and ginger, cinammon and cloves;
    And they gave me this jolly red nose.
    • Francis Beaumont, The Knight of the Burning Pestle (c. 1607; published 1613), Act I, scene 4.
  • "Nose, nose, nose, nose!
    And who gave you that jolly red nose!
    Sinamont and ginger, nutmegs and cloves,
    And that gave me my jolly red nose!"
    • Version of the above in Ravencroft's Deuteromela (1609).
  • Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!
  • BRANDY, n. A cordial composed of one part thunder-and-lightning, one part remorse, two parts bloody murder, one part death-hell-and-the- grave and four parts clarified Satan. Dose, a headful all the time. Brandy is said by Dr. Johnson to be the drink of heroes. Only a hero will venture to drink it.
    • Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Dictionary (1906); republished as The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
  • What harm in drinking can there be,
    Since punch and life so well agree?
  • He saw Hawks, grunted, hefted the bottle and said, “I hate the stuff. It tastes lousy, it makes me gag, it stinks, and it burns my mouth. But they keep putting it in your hands, and they keep saying ‘Drink up!’ to each other, and ‘What’s the matter, Charlie, falling a little behind, there? Freshen up that little drinkee for you?” Until you feel like a queer of some kind, and a bore for the times you say you don’t want another one, positively. And they fill their folklore with it, until you wouldn’t dream you were having a good time unless you’d swilled enough of the stuff to poison yourself all the next day. And they talk gentleman talk about it—ages and flavors and brands and blends, as if it wasn’t all ethanol in one concentration or another. Have you ever heard two Martini drinkers in a bar, Hawks? Have you ever heard two shamans swapping magic?”
  • What's drinking? A mere pause from thinking!
  • Oh brother, be a brother, fill this tiny cup of mine. And please, sir, make it whiskey: I have no head for wine!
  • I drink when I have occasion, and sometimes when I have no occasion.
  • I taste a liquor never brewed –
    From Tankards scooped in Pearl –
    Not all the Frankfort Berries
    Yield such an Alcohol!
    • Emily Dickinson, "I taste a liquor never brewed", st. 1, in R. W. Franklin, ed. The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Reading Edition (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press, 1999)
    • Variants (ll. 3–4):
      Not Frankfort berries yield the sense
      Such a delicious whirl.
      Springfield Daily Republican (4 May 1861)
      Not all the vats upon the Rhine
      Yield such an alcohol!
      Poems: First Series (1890)
  • A man who doesn't drink is not, in my opinion, fully a man.
    • Anton Chekhov (1860-1904), Russian author, playwright. Letter, 8 May 1895, to N.A. Leikin. Complete Works and Letters in Thirty Volumes, Letters, vol. 6, p. 59, "Nauka" (1976).
  • After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.
  • It is most absurdly said, in popular language, of any man, that he is disguised in liquor; for, on the contrary, most men are disguised by sobriety.
  • The money expended for liquor and tobacco is the difference between a young man making a success in life and making a failure.
  • The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this.
  • Once … in the wilds of Afghanistan, I lost my corkscrew, and we were forced to live on nothing but food and water for days.
  • There's alcohol in plant and tree.
    It must be Nature's plan
    That there should be in fair degree
    Some alcohol in Man.
  • There is in all men a demand for the superlative, so much so that the poor devil who has no other way of reaching it attains it by getting drunk.
  • Deep-seated preferences cannot be argued about — you cannot argue a man into liking a glass of beer...
  • Well I ain't seen my baby since I don't know when,
    I've been drinking bourbon whiskey, scotch and gin
    Gonna get high man I'm gonna get loose,
    Need me a triple shot of that juice
    Gonna get drunk don't you have no fear
    I want one bourbon, one scotch and one beer
    One bourbon, one scotch, one beer.
  • The sway of alcohol over mankind is unquestionably due to its power to stimulate the mystical faculties of human nature.
    • William James, Varieties of Religious Experience, Chapter: Mysticism.
  • “Did God set grapes a-growing, do you think,
    And at the same time make it sin to drink?
    Give thanks to HIM who foreordained it thus—
    Surely HE loves to hear the glasses clink!”
  • The last time I seen my father, he was blind in the cedars from drinking. And every time he put the bottle to his mouth, he don't suck out of it, it sucks out of him...
  • When alchemists first learned how to distill spirits, they called it aqua vitae, the water of life, and far from considering it the work of the devil, they thought the discovery was divinely inspired.
  • I'll stick with gin. Champagne is just ginger ale that knows somebody.
    • M*A*S*H, (spoken by Hawkeye), Ceasefire (1973).
  • The chief reason for drinking is the desire to behave in a certain way, and to be able to blame it on alcohol.
  • Never cry over spilt milk. It could've been whiskey.
  • The harsh, useful things of the world, from pulling teeth to digging potatoes, are best done by men who are as starkly sober as so many convicts in the death-house, but the lovely and useless things, the charming and exhilarating things, are best done by men with, as the phrase is, a few sheets in the wind.
  • Candy is dandy
    But liquor is quicker.
    • Ogden Nash, Reflection on Ice-Breaking (1931) p. 83.
  • I have very poor and unhappy brains for drinking* I could wish courtesy would invent some other custom of entertainment.
  • This bottle's the sun of our table,
    His beams are rosy wine;
    We planets that are not able
    Without his help to shine.
  • To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems.
  • In man, social intercourse has centred mainly on the process of absorbing fluid into the organism, but in the domestic dog and to a lesser extent among all wild canine species, the act charged with most social significance is the excretion of fluid.
  • The horse and mule live thirty years
    And nothing know of wines and beers;
    The goat and sheep at twenty die,
    With never a taste of scotch or rye;
    The cow drinks water by the ton,
    And at eighteen is mostly done.
    Without the aid of rum or gin
    The dog at fifteen cashes in;
    The cat in milk and water soaks,
    And then at twelve years old it croaks;
    The modest, sober, bone-dry hen
    Lays eggs for nogs and dies at ten;
    All animals are strictly dry;
    They sinless live and swiftly die,
    While sinful, gleeful, rum-soaked men
    Survive for three score years and ten.
    And some of us - a mighty few -
    Stay pickled 'till we're ninety-two.
    • Attributed to Harlan F. Stone; reported in Alpheus Thomas Mason, Harlan Fiske Stone, Pillar of the Law (1956), p. 731.
  • There are two things that will be believed of any man whatsoever, and one of them is that he has taken to drink.
  • Of the demonstrably wise there are but two: those who commit suicide, and those who keep their reasoning faculties atrophied by drink.
  • Some writers take to drink, others take to audiences.
    • Gore Vidal (b. 1925), U.S. novelist. First published in the Paris Review (1981). Interview Reprinted in, Writers at Work, Fifth Series.
  • "They question thee about strong drink and games of chance. Say: In both is great sin, and (some) utility for men; but the sin of them is greater than their usefulness."
    • Quran 2:219 (translated by Muhammad M. Pickthall)

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 204-07.
  • When the liquor's out, why clink the cannikin?
  • There's some are fou o' love divine,
    There's some are fou o' brandy.
  • Inspiring bold John Barleycorn,
    What dangers thou canst make us scorn!
    Wi' tippenny, we fear nae evil;
    Wi' usquebae, we'll face the devil!
  • I drink when I have occasion, and sometimes when I have no occasion.
  • And broughte of mighty ale a large quart.
  • If you are invited to drink at any man's house more than you think is wholesome, you may say "you wish you could, but so little makes you both drunk and sick; that you should only be bad company by doing so."
  • Non est ab homine nunquam sobrio postulanda prudentia.
    • Prudence must not be expected from a man who is never sober.
    • Cicero, Philippicæ, II. 32.
  • Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die.
    • I Corinthians, XV. 32. Isaiah, XXII. 13. Convivæ certe tui dicunt, Bibamus moriendum est. Seneca the Younger, Controv, XIV.
  • Nothing in Nature's sober found,
    But an eternal Health goes round.
    Fill up the Bowl then, fill it high—
    Fill all the Glasses there; for why
    Should every Creature Drink but I?
    Why, Man of Morals, tell me why?
  • The thirsty Earth soaks up the Rain,
    And drinks, and gapes for Drink again;
    The Plants suck in the Earth and are
    With constant Drinking fresh and fair.
  • Let the farmer praise his grounds,
    Let the huntsman praise his hounds,
    The shepherd his dew scented lawn,
    But I more blessed than they,
    Spend each happy night and day
    With my charming little cruiskeen lan, lan, lan.
  • Did you ever hear of Captain Wattle?
    He was all for love and a little for the bottle.
  • When I got up to the Peacock—where I found everybody drinking hot punch in self-preservation.
  • "Wery good power o' suction, Sammy," said Mr. Weller the elder…. "You'd ha' made an uncommon fine oyster, Sammy, if you'd been born in that station o' life."
  • Inebriate of air am I,
    And debauchee of dew,
    Reeling, through endless summer days,
    From inns of molten blue.
  • How gracious those dews of solace that over my senses fall
    At the clink of the ice in the pitcher the boy brings up the hall.
  • Come landlord fill a flowing bowl until it does run over,
    Tonight we will all merry be—tomorrow we'll get sober.
  • Landlord fill the flowing bowl
    Until it doth run over:
    For to-night we'll merry be
    To-morrow we'll be sober.
    • Version of Fletcher's song in Three Jolly Postboys. (18th century song).
  • Drink to-day, and drown all sorrow;
    You shall perhaps not do it to-morrow.
  • Tell me I hate the bowl? Hate is a feeble word;
    I loathe, abhor—my very soul and strong disgust is stirred
    Whene'er I see or hear or tell of the dark beverage of hell.
    • Attributed to John B. Gough; denied by him.
  • It's a long time between drinks.
    • The Governor of South Carolina required the return of a fugitive slave. The Governor of North Carolina hesitated because of powerful friends of the fugitive. He gave a banquet to his official brother. The Governor of South Carolina in a speech demanded the return of the slave and ended with "What do you say?" The Governor of North Carolina replied as above. It is also attributed to Judge Ædanus Burke.
  • Where the drink goes in, there the wit goes out.
  • If you'd dip in such joys, come—the better, the quicker!—
    But remember the fee—for it suits not my ends
    To let you make havoc, scot free, with my liquor,
    As though I wore one of your heavy-pursed friends.
    • Horace, Book IV. Ode XII. To Vergil. Translation by Theo. Martin.
  • Well, as he brews, so shall he drink.
    • Ben Jonson, Every Man in His Humour, Act II, scene 1.
  • Let those that merely talk and never think,
    That live in the wild anarchy of drink.
    • Ben Jonson, Underwoods, An Epistle, answering to One that asked to be sealed of the Tribe of Ben.
  • Just a wee deoch-an-doris, just a wee yin, that's a'.
    Just a wee deoch-an-doris before we gang a-wa',
    There's a wee wifie waitin', in a wee but-an-ben;
    If you can say "It's a braw bricht moon-licht nicht
    Y're a 'richt ye ken.
  • And I wish his soul in heaven may dwell,
    Who first invented this leathern bottel!
    • Leathern Bottel.
  • Now to rivulets from the mountains
    Point the rods of fortune-tellers;
    Youth perpetual dwells in fountains,
    Not in flasks, and casks, and cellars.
  • Myrtale often smells of wine, but, wise,
    With eating bay-leaves thinks it to disguise:
    So nott with water tempers the wine's heate,
    But covers it. Henceforth if her you meete
    With red face and swell'd veynes, modestly say,
    "Sure Myrtale hath drunk o' th' bayes today?"
    • Martial, Epigrams (c. 80-104 AD), Book V. 4. Translation in a Manuscript, 16th Century.
  • Attic honey thickens the nectar-like Falernian. Such drink deserves to be mixed by Ganymede.
    • Martial, Epigrams (c. 80-104 AD), Book XIII. 108.
  • Let Nepos place Cæretan wine on table, and you will deem it Setine. But he does not give it to all the world; he drinks it only with a trio of friends.
    • Martial, Epigrams (c. 80-104 AD), Book XIII, Epistle 124.
  • Provocarem ad Philippum, inquit, sed sobrium.
    • I would appeal to Philip, she said, but to Philip sober.
    • Valerius Maximus, Book VI. II. Ext. 1.
  • One sip of this
    Will bathe the drooping spirits in delight,
    Beyond the bliss of dreams.
  • Then to the spicy nut-brown ale.
  • When treading London's well-known ground
    If e'er I feel my spirits tire,
    I haul my sail, look up around,
    In search of Whitbread's best entire.
    • From, "The Myrtle and the Vine." A Complete Vocal Library. A Pot of Porter, Ho!
  • Drinking will make a man quaff,
    Quaffing will make a man sing,
    Singing will make a man laugh,
    And laughing long life doth bring,
    Says old Simon the King.
    • "Old Sir Simon the King", reported in Durfey's Wit and Mirth, or Pills to Purge Melancholy; referring to Simon Wadloe, tavern-keeper at the "Devil," Fleet Street, about 1621.
  • Inter pocula.
    • Over their cups.
    • Persius, Satires, I. 30.
  • There St. John mingles with my friendly bowl
    The feast of reason and the flow of soul.
  • They never taste who always drink.
  • Drinking will make a man quaff,
    Quaffing will make a man sing,
    Singing will make a man laugh,
    And laughing long life doth bring,
    Says old Simon the King.
    • Old Sir Simon the King. Found in Durfey's Wit and Mirth, or Pills to Purge Melancholy. Referring to Simon Wadloe, tavern-keeper at the "Devil," Fleet Street, about 1621.
  • Je ne boy en plus qu'une esponge.
    • I do not drink more than a sponge.
    • Rabelais, Gargantua, Book I., Chapter 5.
  • Il y a plus de vieux ivrognes qu'il y a de vieux medecins.
    • There are more old drunkards than old physicians.
    • Rabelais, Gargantua, Book I., XLII.
  • Die Limonade ist matt wie deine Seele — versuche!
    • This lemonade is weak like your soul — try it.
    • Friedrich Schiller, Cabale und Liebe, V. 7.
  • I have very poor and unhappy brains for drinking: I could wish courtesy would invent some other custom of entertainment.
  • This bottle's the sun of our table,
    His beams are rosy wine;
    We planets that are not able
    Without his help to shine.
  • Si bene commemini, causse sunt quinque bibendi;
    Hospitis adventus, prjesens sitis, atque futura,
    Aut vini bonitas, aut quaelibet altera causa.
    • If all be true that I do think,
      There are five reasons we should drink;
      Good wine — a friend — or being dry—
      Or lest we should be by and by—
      Or any other reason why.
    • Attributed to Pere Sirmond by Menage and De la Monnoye. See Menagiana, Volume I. P. 172. Given in Isaac J. Reeve's Wild Garland, Volume II. Trans by Henry Aldrich.
  • Back and side go bare, go bare,
    Both foot and hand go cold;
    But belly, God send thee good ale enough,
    Whether it be new or old.
  • I cannot eat but little meat,
    My stomach is not good;
    But sure I think that I can drink
    With him that wears a hood.
    • Bishop Still, Gammer Gurton's Needle, Act II. Authorship of the song claimed for William Stevenson of Durham. (Died 1575) In Hutchinson's Songs of the Vine. Said to be found in old Manuscript. See Skelton Works, Volume I. Note to pages VII-X. Dyce's ed. Gammer Gurton's Needle claimed for John Bridges.
  • Absentem tedit cum ebrio qui litigat.
    • He hurts the absent who quarrels with a drunken man.
    • Syrus, Maxims.
  • While briskly to each patriot lip
    Walks eager round the inspiring flip;
    Delicious draught, whose pow'rs inherit
    The quintessence of public spirit!
  • We're gaily yet, we're gaily yet,
    And we're not very fow, but we're gaily yet;
    Then set ye awhile, and tipple a bit.
    For we's not very fow, but we're gaily yet.
    • Vanbrugh, Provoked Wife, Act III, scene 2. Song — Colonel Bully.
  • They drink with impunity, or anybody who invites them.
  • Lariosik. Actually, I don’t drink vodka.
Myshlaevski. Excuse me, how can you eat herring without vodka? I absolutely don’t understand!

See also