Anthony Bourdain Always Breaks This Pretentious Rule About Drinking Whiskey

Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain has no problem speaking his mind about any food or drink. He doesn’t jump on board with trends just because they’ve gotten popular. Similarly, he doesn’t follow rules just because everybody else does. So while you’ve probably heard plenty of rules about the “right” way to drink whiskey, Bourdain doesn’t feel obligated to follow those rules.

Below, check out what Anthony Bourdain has to say about drinking whiskey. You’ll also find out exactly how Bourdain likes his drinks, regardless of whether it raises eyebrows with bartenders, and the types of drinks he wishes would just die out already.

Anthony Bourdain does one thing that purists won’t

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According to Food & Wine, Anthony Bourdain often breaks one major rule touted by whiskey purists: that you should never put ice in a good liquor. On a recent trip to Antarctica, he and his crew stopped for a drink on the ice. One of the guides “dropped a chunk of thousand-year-old glacier in his glass,” according to Food & Wine. But that’s not the only time that Bourdain put a piece of ice in his whiskey. “I’m sure many people don’t like when I say it, but unless it’s something really, you know, rare and high-end like this, I’ll put a rock or two in,” he said. “It seems to open it up a little in a way I like.”

Next: He makes his own rules about whiskey.

He has his own rule about which whiskeys get ice

malt whisky in a glass

He makes his own rules. | pavelis/iStock/Getty Images

Food & Wine adds that Bourdain has his own rule about which whiskeys get a piece of ice. Any whiskey less than 23 years old gets a cube of ice. As for spirits older than that? “He shows a little more respect” and drinks it neat, the publication reports. Food & Wine adds that Bourdain doesn’t seem to care that purists would “balk at such a proclamation. The consensus among professional whiskey drinkers, by the way, is that adding ice to the drink inhibits the flavors by dropping the temperature of the liquor, making it taste ‘dull and flat.'”

Next: Bourdain doesn’t drink whiskey if he’s looking to get hammered.

Bourdain prefers whiskey to scotch

He’s not a huge scotch fan. | Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Anthony Bourdain certainly likes whiskey. So does that mean that he drinks scotch, too? Not so much. When Wine Enthusiast asked the celebrity chef if he regularly drinks scotch, he answered, “I don’t. I have friends who are into the really peaty, smokier stuff, which I’m not a fan of.” He added, “I’m not a whiskey nerd. It’s a special-event drink for me. If I want to go out and get hammered, it’s not on a good Scotch or whiskey,” likely endearing him to non-pretentious social drinkers everywhere. He also doesn’t just drink whiskey by itself, and says that his favorite winter cocktail is a classic Manhattan.

Next: Here’s what he drinks instead when he wants to get hammered.

If he wants to ‘get hammered,’ Anthony Bourdain drinks beer

Anthony Bourdain drinking beer

He drinks beer when he’s trying to get drunk. | Dylan Rives/Getty Images for Food Network SoBe Wine & Food Festival

As for what Anthony Bourdain drinks when he just wants to have a good time? You know you’re curious! Wine Enthusiast couldn’t resist asking either, and found out that Bourdain reaches for a beer. But, in contrast with beer enthusiasts who look for specific flavor profiles, he doesn’t get too particular about it. “If it takes more than three seconds to describe the beer I’m drinking, you’ve really defeated the purpose,” Bourdain explained to the publication.

Next: He actually gets hate mail about his beer choices.

He gets hate mail about his beer choices

beer flight served on a wooden board

Many people love tasting and analyzing craft beer. But Bourdain definitely isn’t one of them. |

Speaking to Adweek, Bourdain admitted of his beer consumption on Parts Unknown, “I don’t drink the best beer in the world on the show. It’s a problem that comes up a lot actually.” He explained, “The angriest mail I get is from beer nerds — people who are craft beer enthusiasts and see me drinking a cold, available beer from a mass production. And they get really cranky with me, and they assume that I’m plugging it or something. In fact, I just like cold beer, and my standards rise and fall depending on access to cold beer.”

The chef told Thrillist he drinks “whatever convenient cold beer is available in a particular place.” And he added typically, “I haven’t made the effort to walk down the street 10 blocks to the microbrewery where they’re making some Mumford and Sons IPA.” Bourdain said he’ll enjoy a good craft beer, but he won’t analyze it.

Next: He’s not pretentious about this type of drink.

He also enjoys wine, and isn’t pretentious about it, either

With family . #Arzak father and daughter. Great chefs both. #donostia

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Bourdain also tells Wine Enthusiast that he doesn’t want a ton of information when making his wine selection. “I don’t need to know what side of the hill it’s grown on,” he quips. But he admits that, like anyone else who appreciates a good bottle of wine, he does have his preferences. “The older I get, the more rough and rustic I’m enjoying my wines. I’m moving away from Bordeaux and toward unpredictable Burgundies, which [are] always a spin of the wheel and half the fun. Or Côtes du Rhône. Or no-name Italian.”

Next: You need to do this with your drink of choice.

Bourdain thinks you need to learn to appreciate your drink of choice

Figure out the intricacies of your drink. | Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

No matter what you enjoy drinking — beer, wine, or liquor — there will always be someone who knows more about it than you. There’s nothing wrong with that, just as there’s nothing wrong with wanting to know more. But Bourdain thinks that you don’t need to focus on that. He tells Bloomberg that drinking whiskey “takes some time before you learn to fully appreciate it.” You can start with something cheap and slowly learn to appreciate the finer options, Bourdain says. “You’ll eventually drink enough good whisky that by the time you drink a truly great whisky, you’ll hopefully be able to understand the difference. And that’s a magical moment.”

Next: You need to enjoy your drinks on your own terms.

All this to say: Anthony Bourdain doesn’t think there should be rules about drinking whiskey

whiskey and natural ice

There’s no one right way. | igorr1/iStock/Getty Images

Though Bourdain has his own preferences and tastes, he tells Bloomberg, “There is no wrong way to drink whisky.” He doesn’t think that you need to follow any specific rules when you drink your beverage of choice. And he certainly doesn’t think that you need to drink whiskey the same way that he does. If you enjoy a specific alcoholic beverage, you should feel free to enjoy it on your own terms — without worrying about the rules that the bartenders, mixologists, and purists want you to follow.

Next: The three types of drinks Bourdain can’t stand.

Juice cleanses

Young female bar employee making fruit juice

Though he finds juice bars intriguing, Bourdain doesn’t approve of juice cleanses. |

Eater reports when Bourdain did a Reddit “Ask Me Anything,” he was quick to identify some food trends he wishes would die already. Juices and juice cleanses were one. He wrote on Reddit, “I don’t understand the juice cleanse. I mean, if you’ve ever had a colonoscopy, the doctor gives you something that will cleanse you right quick, so I don’t really understand juice cleanses.”

Bourdain also mentioned the topic in an interview with Thrillist. He reiterated that he can’t wrap his head around “this sort of herd mentality around juice-cleansing.” Nonetheless, he admitted he finds the “proliferation of juice joints” interesting. “These people are selling little bottles of coconut water for like, two and a half bucks. … At least people are thinking about what they’re putting in their mouths. So, I mean, I guess that’s positive.”

Next: Enough with the pumpkin spice everything.

Pumpkin spice everything

Pumpkin Spice Latte Starbucks

Bourdain most definitely does not approve of your pumpkin spice latte. | Starbucks

With the pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin beer, and pumpkin spice pastries, pumpkin seems to show up everywhere each fall. But Bourdain is having none of it. In Bourdain’s AMA, he identified pumpkin spice anything and everything as a trend he’d like to die. He wrote, “I would like to see the pumpkin spice craze drowned in its own blood. Quickly.”

And it seems Bourdain wasn’t even aware of the impressive proportions of the annual pumpkin spice conspiracy. USA Today reports Bourdain has said of the pumpkin trend, “What? It slipped by me. How did this happen? I’m deathly against it.”

Next: Is this the worst drink in the world?

Unicorn Frappuccino

Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino

Bourdain hates the Unicorn Frappuccino, too — and Starbucks, for that matter. | Starbucks

If you thought the Unicorn Frappuccino was one of Starbucks’ most overrated drinks, you aren’t alone. Town and Country asked the Parts Unknown host for his thoughts on the Frappuccino. His response was pretty priceless.

“Wow, that’s like four things I hate all in one sentence: Starbucks, unicorns, and the colors pink and purple,” Bourdain quipped. “Also a Frappuccino! It’s the perfect nexus of awfulness. Just add pumpkin spice to that mix, and you can nuke the whole county.”

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