We’re all familiar with Abraham Lincoln’s famous quote: “If it’s in quotations on a picture on the internet, it’s probably real.” Probably. It’s a real pain when the truth gets in the way of a good drinking quote. You shared it on all your social media channels, you bought a shirt with the quote on it, and all your friends think you’re so well-read and witty. Too bad that quote is fake.
It’s time for a truth bomb, though. Here are seven famous drinking quotes that are either attributed wrong or made up entirely by some meme prankster.
“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” — Benjamin Franklin
It’s a nice thought, right? So quotable, so sharp and to the point. What Franklin really said was, “We hear of the conversion of water into wine at the marriage in Cana as of a miracle. But this conversion is, through the goodness of God, made every day before our eyes. Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards; there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy. The miracle in question was only performed to hasten the operation, under circumstances of present necessity, which required it.”
“In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria.” — Benjamin Franklin
Who wouldn’t want to believe that one of America’s most important founding fathers — especially one who was known for consuming his fair share of drinks — didn’t also spew wisdom about said drinks? In this case, he did not say this. Bacteria was first observed in 1676 by Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, but he called it animalcules. The word “bacteria” become more well-known with Louis Pasteur’s germ theory in 1870, which is a full 80 years after Franklin died.
“In victory, you deserve Champagne; in defeat, you need it.” — Napoleon Bonaparte
The classic excuse for drinking Champagne no matter what happens comes from Napoleon. Bonaparte may have followed the logic as he took over Europe, but there’s no record of him ever actually saying it. The closest thing to someone saying this is from another commonly misquoted famous figure, Winston Churchill, who is on the record as saying, “I could not live without Champagne. In victory I deserve it, in defeat I need it.”
“Beer, if drunk with moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit, and promotes health.” — Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson was a classy drinker who was known for having a penchant for French wine (also for having fake wine bottles inscribed with his name, but that’s another story). This quote is as fake as the Jefferson bottles. The first time this quote was seen was in 2004, long after the third president of the United States died. It’s still solid advice, though.
“Write drunk, edit sober.” — Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway’s drinking habits make it easy to believe any heroic story and life-guiding quote. But sorry, thirsty writers looking for an excuse to drink: Hemingway never said this one. The first known use of the quote was from writer Peter de Vries in his book “Reuben, Reuben.”
“Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the Bible says love your enemy.” — Frank Sinatra
This “Sinatra quote” has been making the rounds since at least 2003, but there’s no definitive evidence that he actually said it. If he did, he was likely just misquoting vaudeville actor Stuart Barnes in 1917, who actually said, “People say that whiskey is a man’s worst enemy, but the Bible says that we should love our enemies so what is a fellow going to do?”
“I always feel sorry for people who don’t drink, because when they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re gonna feel all day.” — Dean Martin
Stop trying to put words in the Rat Pack’s mouth. Other people who have been given credit for this one: Sinatra, W.C. Fields, and Sammy Davis, Jr. Any of those men might have said it and lived by it, but none of them should get the attribution. The quote is from the 1963 movie “Under the Yum Yum Tree”.