You'd think blood? Well you'd be wrong... probably. Serial killers have incredibly similar tastes to me, to you, to everyone, they are (deep down) just "normal people" (sort of), so whether you're sat in a pub supping a pint, standing in a queue in the off-licence with a bottle of Chianti, or heading out for a boozy session, you have to ask yourself, "what is a serial killer's favourite drink?" and do I share a preferred tipple with a mass murder. Murder Mile blog investigates...
Dennis Nilsen – Rum & Coke: Widely dubbed Britain’s most notorious serial killer, Nilsen would lure homeless men into his Muswell Hill lair with the promise of a meal, a place to sleep, companionship and a little libation – Nilsen’s favourite being Captain Morgan’s Black Label rum mixed with a full-fat Coke, ice but no slice. Seasonally, Nilsen was famous for his mulled wine, which - those who’ve been on my tour can testify – he boiled himself, but probably never drank.
John Wayne Gacy – J&B Scotch: “The Killer Clown” would often drink himself into such an alcoholic stupor that – after a whole bottle of Justerini & Brooks (J&B) whiskey - he’d blackout, and would later claim not to remember any of his actions, during the 36 rapes and murders of young men he would go on to commit. Psychiatrists have questioned whether his need to “blackout” helped justify his homosexual fantasies, given that he was in fact a heterosexual.
Ian Brady & Myra Hindley – White Wine: Without doubt the most vile couple in Britain, but had we known how their thirsts were quenched, we’d probably have hated them more, as “The Moors Murderers” liked white wine; a cheap German Hock known as ‘Blue Nun’. Brady was also partial to brewing his own brand of beverage in a drum, full of vegetable scraps, wine dregs, sugar and alcohol).
Jeffrey Dahmer - Rum & Coke and Beer: “The Killer Cannibal” was a notoriously heavy drinker who’d lace the drinks of his victims with sleeping pills, before strangling and dismembering them. Dahmer would start the night on beer – Miller or Pabst – before moving onto blended scotch whiskey, or any brand of Jamaican rum, both with coke (any brand).
Dr Harold Shipman – Gin & Tonic: Dubbed “Dr Death”, the infamous Hyde GP, who was found guilty of murdering fifteen patients before his suicide (later confirmed as 218 victims… and still counting), he liked to relax after a hard day at work with a Gordon’s gin, with Indian tonic, ice and a slice.
Theodore “Ted” Bundy – Malt Liquor: Often being introverted, shy and retiring, many serial killers drink to dampen down their inhibitions before conducting any act which persons of sound mind would consider heinous. Bundy’s drink of choice was Mickey’s Big Mouth Malt Liquor… although, with a meal, he would be partial to a nice glass of red wine.
John George Haigh – Sherry: Although ‘The Acid Bath Murderer’ often claimed he drank a cup of blood from each of his victims – Haigh was a notorious fantasist and consummate liar – but would always partake of a glass or two of wine with dinner (red with meat, white with fish) as well as a sherry beforehand. But he would never, ever drink beer. He considered it “vulgar”, said the man who dissolved a woman in a vat of sulphuric acid, and then bragged about it.
Peter Sutcliffe – Beer with Whiskey Chasers: “The Yorkshire Ripper” had simple tastes, often never sticking to one brand, but instead opting for whatever was cheapest or - as a lorry driver – limited to whatever was in tonight’s pub of choice, whether Skol, Carling Black Label, Harp, Hofmeister or McEwans, with a neat shot of Famous Grouse, or… gulp… a rum and coke. Currently as an inmate in Broadmoor prison, his favourite tipple is Diet Coke.
Anthony Hardy – Rum & Coke: Not wishing to cast aspersions now, but like many serial killers listed above, Anthony “The Camden Ripper” Hardy was prone to drinking rum and coke (no preferred brands, but in lethally high quantities, so he often pick the supermarket’s cheapest) as well as whiskey and coke.
Aileen Wuornos – Black Coffee & Miller Beer: The Florida prostitute and serial killer, who claimed that all of her seven victims were punters, and each murder was in self-defence, loved nothing more than a black coffee throughout the day and a few Miller beers at night. Wuornos loved black coffee so much, that was all she had as her final mean on death row. Read more about the last meals of Death Row inmates.
Edmund Kemper – Tequila: Dubbed ‘The Co-ed Killer’, Edmund Kempner (serial killer, necrophile and cannibal) would often knock back shots of Tequila or Mezcal in a bar called The Jury Room with some of his friends from the Santa Cruz police department. Unlike the serial killers above, Edmund drank the tequila neat, never with a mixer such as Coke, and often in high quantities with little effect. Kempner had an IQ of 145. Read about more serial killers with abnormally high IQs here.
Dr Thomas Neil Cream – Guinness: Known as “The Lambeth Poisoner”, Dr Thomas Neil Cream, a man of ample means and supposed respectability would lure prostitutes into his home with the promise of money, warmth, a “good time” and – they would hope – a drink which reflected his refinement, whether white wine, champagne or a sherry? But no. The appropriately named Cream treated them to a frothy white-headed bottle of Guinness… laced with Strychnine.
Obviously, this article is entirely non-scientific but, if you know anyone who’s partial to a rum & coke? Run! And if - having read this - you're worried that (given your preferred tipple) that you might be a serial killer in the making, feel free to check your name, job title, IQ, music tastes and diet against other mass murderers. Oh, and if any drinks companies would like to hire me to work on their next advertising campaign, call me.
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a writer, crime historian and tour-guide who runs Murder Mile Walks, a guided tour of Soho’s most notorious murder cases, hailed as “one of the top ten quirky & unusual things to do in London” and featuring 18 murderers, 3 serial killers, across 21 locations, totalling 75 deaths, over just a one mile walk.
Michael J Buchanan-Dunne is a crime historian, writer and tour guide of Murder Mile Walks.