Despite being a mediocre poet, The Doors’ vocalist, Jim Morrison, was a terrific lyricist whose legendary antics were often fueled by alcohol. Although Morrison would drink just about anything and everything, his preferred drink when ordering at a bar tended to be whiskey, specifically Jack Daniel’s or scotch.
Jack Daniel’s grew in popularity in the 1950s due to its consumption by celebrities and other notable persons, bringing it into the mainstream as a symbol of success as its popularity created higher demand than supply. Morrison likely drank Jack Daniel’s as a result of the popularity of the brand.
Jim Morrison’s love of alcohol is apparent in The Doors’ songs. In the lyrics to “Roadhouse Blues,” Morrison quotes his friend and drinking buddy Alice Cooper in the line “I woke up this morning and got myself a beer.” His cover of “Alabama Song” from Kurt Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny solidifies his love of specifically drinking whiskey in the memorable line “Show me the way to the next whiskey bar.”
In a story recounted by Alice Cooper as told to him by The Doors’ guitarist Robby Krieger, while drinking together he and Morrison were discovered dangling by their arms from a balcony in a competition to see who could hang on the longest. The fact that Cooper does not remember this incident further displays the extent to which Morrison would enjoy his drinks.
Morrison was arrested for indecent exposure after a performance in Miami. He fled to France after this incident where his life was cut short from an apparent heart attack at the age of 27 in Paris. Despite his premature death, the legend of Jim Morrison would not be the same without his alcohol-fueled antics.
Jack Kerouac often wrote about alcohol-fueled escapades in his mostly autobiographical novels. In his numerous travels, the beat author took frequent trips to Mexico, where he gained a fondness for the margarita.
Tequila, one of the main ingredients in a margarita, is made from the agave plant, which is prevalent in Mexico. Although the margarita may not have been the libation Kerouac consumed on a daily basis, his travels make it important in helping to define his personality.
Other drinks consumed by the author in his works also include whiskey, wine, and beer, among others. Drinking a margarita when in Mexico shows the author’s ability and willingness to adapt to local culture and the extent to which he did not care what he was drinking as long as he was getting drunk.
Kerouac’s ability to handle himself after a few drinks was apparent in his manner of speaking to others. John Clellon Holmes described this persona in that his mind loosened up leading to dialogue that was “always brilliant, always interesting, and always disturbing.”
Despite this, there were also occasions where Kerouac would lose control, on one occasion passing out in the woods on the way home from the bar. Kerouac’s drinking habit caught up with him, leading to his death from an internal hemorrhage as a result of cirrhosis at the age of 47.
Kerouac’s long-term abuse of alcohol is tragic in that we may have missed out on works he would have written later in life, but if he did not have these experiences, we might not have had some of the greatest works of that generation.
Throughout centuries, writers have shown a fondness for indulging in the occasional libation or ten. The goal of this weekly blog post is to highlight a particular drink or cocktail that an author preferred, and why the drink is important to his or her life/work.
*Disclaimer* We at the Jet Fuel Review do not promote the use of alcohol. This blog is for educational purposes.
William Faulkner was known to drink while he wrote, claiming, “I usually write at night. I always keep my whiskey within reach.” The author’s preferred cocktail was the mint julep, which has a strong bourbon base. Bourbon, being almost exclusively produced in Kentucky (many argue bourbon can only come from Kentucky), became a popular spirit throughout the Southern United States, which is where the mint julep was created.
Faulkner, being from Mississippi, probably took a liking to the mint julep due to its prevalence. The high alcohol content and the tendency for the drinker to sip it more slowly over a longer period of time than other cocktails may have also made it a refreshing drink for Faulkner to keep nearby when writing. Faulkner’s fondness for the mint julep is apparent in his owning of a cup specifically used for the cocktail, which is traditionally served in a metal cup.
The author drank throughout much of his adult life; in one event, he burned his leg on a radiator after blacking out. After suffering injuries in a horse-riding accident, Faulkner’s drinking increased and he began taking other medication to alleviate the pain. The author died of a heart attack in 1962. Although Faulkner’s drinking had a severe impact on his life and those around him, those libations were likely with him when he wrote his most famous works.