What Does Candy Is Dandy But Liquor Is Quicker Mean?

Candy is Dandy But Liquor is Quicker Meaning

Definition: Candy is a good thing to offer someone to get them to do something, but liquor will work more quickly.

Origin of Candy is Dandy But Liquor is Quicker

This expression is a quote from the American poet Ogden Nash, from his poem “Reflections on Ice Breaking” in the year 1931.

The expression became even more popular after it appeared in the movie, “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” in the year 1971.

Examples of Candy is Dandy But Liquor is Quicker

liquor is quicker sayingIn this conversation, a mother and daughter are discussing the daughter’s birthday party.

Daughter: So I really want all my friends to have a great time. I was thinking it would be a good idea to have some candy out on the tables for people to snack on.

Mother: Well, if you want them to really enjoy themselves, candy is dandy but liquor is quicker.

Daughter: Mom, obviously we can’t drink alcohol! We’re all still in high school!

Mother: Oh yeah, that’s right. Sorry! I forgot about that. In that case, candy it is!

candy is dandy poem In this example, two coworkers are discussing asking for a raise.

Dave: I really feel like I deserve a raise. I think I’m going to ask our boss for one.

Ben: That’s a great idea! You should definitely do that. I did it last year, and it worked brilliantly.

Dave: Really? What did you do? Did you give the boss a small gift first to get him in a good mood?

Ben: No, that might seem like bribery. Anyway, candy is dandy but liquor is quicker. I took him out for a few drinks and asked him over a beer.

Dave: Hmmm. I guess I could do that.

Ben: Good luck!

More Examples

This excerpt is from an article about a study on beer and how it acts as a social lubricant.

  • Perhaps the researchers weren’t familiar with the wisdom (and wit) of mid-20th century poet Ogden Nash, who famously observed, “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.” –LA Times

This excerpt uses the expression to note that marijuana is becoming more prevalent, like liquor already is.

  • Ogden Nash once wrote that “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.” But the famous poet never sampled the marijuana-laced sweets that were available at today’s championship parade for the Lakers. –USA Today


The expression candy is dandy but liquor is quicker is a line from a poem, and subsequently a line from a movie, which became a popular rhyme.

It means that a person can use alcohol to convince someone to do something.