Vintage Ad Archive: Cold Weather Drinking

Detail from a 1945 Four Roses ad
Detail from a 1945 Four Roses ad

We’re only one week into February, and this has already been one of the more intense winters in recent memory – the US has been crushed with an endless string of blizzards, ice storms, extreme temperature shifts, and even a “polar vortex” or five, just for good measure.  It’s been deeply unpleasant outside, so I’ve been taking time to dig deep into the archives, and pull out some more classic liquor materials…  This time, ones themed around various aspects of wintertime, snow, and cold weather.

A 1948 ad for Calvert Whiskey.
A 1948 ad for Calvert Whiskey.

When one thinks about it, it’s a fairly natural thing that liquor brands would launch winter-centric ad campaigns.  And as could be expected with such a open-ended theme, they’ve found many ways to tie their brands to various elements of the season.

There’s a few approaches in particular that proved popular over the years. One, of course, is the “sophisticated and urbane” type of ad, looking at winter from the point of view of the ruling class at a lodge in the French Alps (or some such similarly swank setting).


There’s the “winter adventure” type, which tacitly implies that by drinking this liquor, YOU TOO could be skating along the edge of a glacier, all but immortal, and largely immune to the cold.

AlcProfCanClubWinter1956 AlcProfCanClubWinter1943 AlcProfWinterCanClub1942

Another favorite is the “pastoral romance” style, which presents the world outside as a glistening land of wonder and flirtation.


And then there’s the ever-popular “swingin’ ski trip” style, which is pretty self-explanatory.

But my personal favorite is the “forget the outside, it’s cozy in here” ad.  Bring me whiskey, a fireplace, and a giant furry dog, and I’m set for a good while.

AlcProfWinterKinsey1944 AlcProfWinterFourRoses1941 AlcProfWinterOldOver1947

And advertisers have also been quick to suggest their product as the perfect base for hot toddies (and other warming beverages).  Some went for the tried-and-true…


Some offered unfortunate variations on a theme…


And some promoted their own varieties of hot beverages.

Have a stuffed penguin and a drink! Smirnoff, 1975.

And though it’s not actually commissioned by a liquor company, I can’t resist sharing this 1959 apres-ski ad hyping 7-Up as the ideal wintertime accompaniment to whiskey.  (Looking for a “modest” mixer for your highballs? We have just the thing for you!)


So, as you can see, there are many fine retro recommendations for what to sip on while waiting for spring to return.  And as tonight marks the beginning of the 2014 Olympics, I’ll sign off with this beautiful Seagrams ad from 1960, promoting the “spectator’s favorite” of the 1960 Winter Games.  Cheers!


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