‘The Vampire Diaries’: The Cast Wasn’t Actually Drinking Bourbon On Set

When vampire brothers Stefan and Damon Salvatore weren’t drinking blood, they were drinking bourbon. But according to The Vampire Diaries stars Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley, their characters weren’t actually drinking alcohol on set. 

Damon and Stefan famously sipped bourbon throughout eight seasons of ‘The Vampire Diaries’ 

vampire diaries bourbon
(L-R): Actors Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley attend the 2012 People’s Choice Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on January 11, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for PCA

Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Stefan (Paul Wesley) were over 100 years old. And in their long lives as vampires, they acquired great wealth, including a sprawling estate, exotic cars, and a gorgeous wardrobe. 

But rather than sip champagne or wine, the brothers always chose to drink bourbon. It was the one thing they bonded over. And it was the go-to drink they shared when having their most meaningful conversations. 

In The Vampire Diaries Season 7, Episode 4, Damon reveals that he had once saved a bottle of wine to open with his first love Katherine (Nina Dobrev). But when she betrayed him, he decided to switch to bourbon. 

“Eventually, I convinced myself that no sip of that wine could ever taste as good as I dreamt it would,” Damon recalled. “And that is the story of why I drink bourbon.”

Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley weren’t really drinking bourbon on the set of ‘The Vampire Diaries’ 

Damon and Stefan drank a lot of bourbon in The Vampire Diaries. But as Somerhalder and Wesley recalled to EW, what they were really drinking was iced tea. 

The actors noted that they had to drink lots of tea while filming. But as it turns out, it wasn’t as harmless as they first thought it would be. 

“We were obviously drinking the iced tea quite often and when you’re on set, you’re doing take after take after take after take and you take a sip in a scene, well for continuity you have to do it essentially from every angle,” Wesley said. 

“So the first season I couldn’t sleep,” he continued. “I was jittery, I thought I was nervous. Turns out I was just consuming so much caffeine. So season 2 we switched it out to decaffeinated iced tea.” 

Somerhalder added, “Season 1 we were lunatics because we were drinking this tea.” 

Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley started a bourbon line inspired by ‘The Vampire Diaries’ 

After working together for over eight years, and maintaining their friendship for over a decade, Wesley and Somerhalder are now business partners. In 2021, the pair launched their bourbon line, Brothers Bourbon. 

They told EW that they first bonded over bourbon while filming The Vampire Diaries. And they’ve been talking about starting the company for years. 

“Off-screen, Ian and I also bonded drinking bourbon,” Wesley said. “The reality is we would finish shooting and we’d go to the bar or we’d go to our homes or whatever, but we’d always kick back and have a bourbon so we developed this love for bourbon.” 

“So we fell in love with it,” he added. “And when the show ended we finally had some time and we really put this thing together. We’re just so proud of it” 

They also noted that the name, Brothers Bond, was inspired by Damon and Stefan. “The Brother’s Bond name, yeah okay it’s a nod to us, but at the end of the day, it’s a bond with whomever you’re sharing this drink with,” Somerhalder explained. “That’s so important for us to really note to our fans and to people that are buying this, to really enjoy this with someone.” 

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