In the late 1950s, you’d be hard-pushed to find a cooler bunch of drinking buddies than the Rat Pack. Entertainers like no others, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr sang themselves to the height of sophistication, hedonism and style.
They were crooning sensations, performers to the last and the men who almost single-handedly turned Las Vegas into a party town — with the help of a choice bottle or two…
And these bottles were the fuel that kept the Rat Pack going. Every party they gatecrashed was slunk into with whisky stowed under their arms. Every bar they propped up was liberally dotted with gold-tinged tumblers.
It’s even said that every Dean Martin opening night was interrupted by Frank Sinatra, strolling in pushing a portable bar and with a golf bag full of whisky slung over his shoulder.
But what whisky was this? Its distinctive yellow label, green glass and red writing is now the stuff of legend, but it was the Rat Pack who really put J&B Rare on the map. The cornerstone spirit of Justerini & Brooks — a heritage British bottler — this is a whisky enjoyed by everyone from Charles Dickens to Prince William.
Seen as a signifier of cosmopolitan prosperity, sophistication and virility, J&B Rare was even incorporated into the Rat Pack’s acts, with Dean Martin frequently ad-libbing comedy sets between his songs — joking about his skills on the golf course, his ex-wives and his favourite whisky.
So, if you’re looking to emulate the coolest characters of the last century, we’ve rounded up the three best bottles of J&B to stock your drinks cabinet — or golf bag — with. Buy now, pour a glass and toast to the Rat Pack.
Want more whisky? Here are the best new bottles of 2019…