The Duke Sure Loved Cocktails, Celebrate John Wayne’s Love of Cocktails on National Whiskey Day

john wayne and wife
Instagram/John Wayne Estate

Iconic western star John Wayne loved a good cocktail. On National Cocktail Day (March 24), Wayne’s estate celebrated the day by sharing a throwback photo of Wayne and his wife, Pilar sharing a drink and having some laughs. The estate captioned the photo, “Happy National Cocktail Day! John Wayne with wife Pilar aboard his converted Naval minesweeper the Wild Goose. Duke dons a silly wig while holding a cocktail in one hand and his wife in the other.​​​​​​​​​” Perhaps he had some whiskey in his glass as today (March 27) is National Whiskey Day!

In addition to sharing the fun throwback, his estate posted about The John Wayne Official Cocktail Book. The book is now available to purchase and features drinks inspired by Wayne, his most memorable characters, and films. It includes seventy recipes for handcrafted cocktails and some bar bites that would pair well with the drinks.

Celebrate National Whiskey Day with the late John Wayne


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A post shared by John Wayne “The Duke” (@johnwayneofficial)

Wayne’s drink of choice, according to his son Ethan, was generally bourbon or tequila. He was known to love drinking cocktails after a long day on set so Ethan was inspired by his dad to create a bourbon line called Duke Spirits. The CEO of Duke Spirits, Chris Radomski shared, “We had the opportunity when Ethan showed us what he uncovered to taste a lot of the spirits that his dad had in the archives. And there really was a definitive profile…It’s our pleasure to follow the legacy.”

American actor John Wayne (1907 - 1979) holding a glass of wine at an event, circa 1965.

Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

As of now, the line of spirits includes three different types of bourbons and three different types of tequilas. The brand helps with special events for the John Wayne Cancer Foundation, created by his family to honor Wayne’s memory and help provide funds for cancer research, awareness, education, and support for those battling cancer. Wayne died from stomach cancer in 1979.

LOS ANGELES - JULY 1971: John Wayne buys a few drinks at a charity costume party in July 1971 in Los Angeles, California.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Want to celebrate and pay tribute to an icon? Try a recipe from his cocktail book… a John Wayne twist on a classic Old Fashioned.

You’ll want to gather your spirit of choice (may want to grab a Duke Spirit for this one!),
1 Demerara sugar cube
2 dashes angostura orange bitters
¼ oz club soda.
Muddle your sugar cube with club soda and bitters. Add 2 oz. of your spirit and stir with ice. Strain and add into a glass with one large ice cube and an orange twist for garnish and voila… you’re ready to celebrate! Click here if you’re interested in The John Wayne Official Cocktail Book or click here for Duke Spirits.

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