Some people's "discreet" is a little more liberal than others.
Heroes will every once in a while be offered a drink that they'd rather not partake of. Maybe they don't trust the one who gave it to them. Maybe it looks like an Alien Liquid Lunch
or the product of a Lethal Bartender
. Maybe they just don't do alcohol, Can't Hold His Liquor
, or need to be on the top of their game for an upcoming fight, and can't just say so without giving something away. Whatever the reason, they'll discreetly pour it out or pass it off while no-one's looking.
Compare Slipping a Mickey
and Discreet Dining Disposal
. Overlaps with That Poor Plant
when the drink is poured on a potted plant.
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Anime & Manga
- This is standard operating procedure for dealing with Kodachi's home cooking in Ranma ½, which typically includes stuff like paralysis powder, poison, or sleeping powder. Her brother, Tatewaki, even has a small dog he uses to test his meals for him. People would gladly do this with Akane's cooking too, if she weren't watching them like a hawk when getting them to taste her recipes.
- Considered a cliché in Rubrique-à-Brac by Gotlib.
- In the Tintin album Flight 714, Captain Haddock was presented with a weird-smelling soft drink that he poured over a plant. Said plant died within seconds.
- In the Blake and Mortimer story "Professor Sato's Three Formulae", Mortimer discreetly pours on the floor a cup of sake which he (rightly) suspects of being drugged.
- Everyone in The Boys, save Wee Hughie and Love Sausage, pours shots of a rather potent blend of vodka over their shoulder. Lucky for them because, as Love Sausage states, "This shit would probably kill the AIDS virus!". Unlucky because it actually counteracts the poison in the borscht that is served to them later.
- Stranger still when it is revealed that it is not so much vodka as it is brake fluid. Hughie develops a taste for it.
- In the German comic of the TV series Lindenstraße, politician Rudolf Scharping is invited to "Saumagen" by then-chancellor Helmut Kohl. Which he gets rid off by feeding it to That Poor Cat (at the end, with brute force). Kohl comments that the cat always seems to get sick when he invites people for Saumagen, but doesn't make the conclusion.
- Bruce Wayne tends to do this at social functions, as his public persona needs to be seen to be drinking and occasionally appear to get drunk, while his true persona is a teetotaler. When he needs to be seen drinking while at home, he tends to drink things like seltzer water in champagne glasses.
- In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, a conversation with Jim Gordon reveals to the reader that Bruce started drinking for real after he hung up the cowl. When he returns to being Batman he picks up his old habits.
- This is an obligatory element of the fairy tale "The Twelve Dancing Princesses". The princesses offer the hero a drugged drink every night which he must dispose of without letting them know that he hasn't been safely sedated.
- In Robin McKinley's version of the story, he does this by pouring it into the luxurious cloaks he is given to wear.
- Other versions of the story sometimes involve a hidden sponge.
- The Faerie Tale Theatre version had the hero refusing to drink (drugged) wine at dinner, then distracting the eldest princess while he poured the (again drugged) milk in a convenient plant.
Films — Animation
- The Emperor's New Groove has a villainous example, when Kronk and Yzma dispose of their potion-tainted drink. Ysma quickly dumps hers on a nearby cactus. Kronk pretends to drink his, using forced perspective to make it look like it's going in his mouth while he's actually spilling it on his shoulder. Their victim is so self-centered and oblivious that it is hardly necessary.
Films — Live-Action
- In Russian film The Irony of Fate 2, Kostya is The Teetotaler because he Can't Hold His Liquor—one drink will knock him flat. So when the cop who arrested him on New Year's night starts pounding vodka shots during Kostya's interrogation, Kostya dumps his shots in a potted plant.
- The Villain Protagonist of Lacombe, Lucien, a teenager who has joined the French Gestapo, attempts to impress the Jewish family he's staying with by getting them champagne. The grandmother scornfully pours hers out when his back is turned.
- Coyote Ugly: Cammy teaches Violet a way to avoid getting drunk from all the shots customers buy for her: drink the shot without swallowing it, then pretend to chase it with a sip of beer while actually spitting the shot into the beer bottle.
- The Dark Knight: Bruce pours out his champagne on the balcony of his penthouse during the Harvey Dent fundraiser.
- In Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, Harry disposes of spiked tea in a plant.
- In Jaws, after one horrified sip, Brody dumps the rest of his serving of Quint's super-strength homebrew into a nearby container (and stops Hooper from drinking his shot.)
- Mr. & Mrs. Smith: John disposes of the drink Jane hands him into a potplant when he is suspicious of her motives after they discover each others' secret identities.
- Three Ages: Buster Keaton winds up drunk in one of the Modern Age sequences (which are taking place during Prohibition) when he imbibes a discreetly disposed drink.
- Zombieland: Tallahassee pours shots of whisky for him and Columbus and toasts them. While he knocks it back, Columbus throws his out the car window.
- Seven Days in May. Senator Clark is investigating a planned Military Coup, and is told that a Colonel Henderson might know something. When he turns up at a military base demanding to speak to Henderson, the conspirators place Clark under temporary detention, sending in a bottle every half hour so he'll be too drunk to talk sense. Clark has to keep pouring the booze down the toilet, which doesn't improve his disposition when Henderson does turn up.
- The Monster: Mad Scientist Dr. Ziska has imprisoned Betty and Amos in an Old Dark House, but is polite enough to offer them a decanter of liquor. Nervous that the liquor might be poisoned, Amos pours the decanter into a water flask. Their friend Johnny, also being held prisoner, later accidentally drinks it. It isn't poisoned, and it gives Johnny some Liquid Courage.
- William de Worde in The Truth, when he discovered that the lemons his host dropped in the tea he's drinking were fished out of the river Ankh. After spitting out his first sip with an excuse about it being too hot, he "accidentally" kicked his cup of tea when he stood up to leave.
- Moist von Lipwig in Raising Steam has to negotiate with elderly aristocrats who look like amiable old duffers but have minds like razors and keep offering him brandy. He comes prepared with a rubber tube leading to a hot water bottle concealed in his clothing.
- Judge Dee, title protagonist of Robert van Gulik's series of detective novels, does this once to get out of the poison-in-teacup situation.
- When Herald Alberich of Heralds of Valdemar is undercover in Haven's bad neighborhoods, he carries a drinking jack with a slow leak, to get rid of the alleged beer he's been served without having to actually drink the stuff.
- Bored of the Rings. When Frito Bugger tries to get rid of his Orca-Cola drink by pouring it into a potted palm, the plant takes the glass from him and sets it carefully on the floor.
- In one of the Young Jedi Knights books, Luke Skywalker, farmboy extraordinaire, does this with his drink while digging for information in the resident Bad-Guy Bar. He dumps it in a plant, which turns out to be an alien.
- Ringworld. Triggered by the sight of an unusual creature. The plant doesn't complain; the alien lifeform living there does, loudly.
- Averted in Busman's Honeymoon. When Lord Peter Wimsey is offered some homemade parsnip wine, his wife Harriet, realizing the distress of a world-class oenophile, suggests he dump it in a nearby potted plant. However, Lord Peter goes ahead and drinks it (not without a shudder) after observing that the plant already appears unwell.
- In the Angel episode "Guise Will Be Guise", Wesley (while disguised as Angel) disposes of the blood they offered him in a flower vase. Poor Wesley clearly wasn't at his best, because the vase was clear and the water was then visibly red.
- In an episode of The Office (US), Karen pours shots into the trash while Andy and Jim drink them, leaving her sober and them hammered at the end of the evening.
- Catherine on NewsRadio did this with the Rocket Fuel Malt Liquor.
- In the Doctor Who story "The Brain of Morbius," the Doctor and Sarah are guests of the Mad Scientist Solon. The Doctor drinks the Mickey-laced wine Solon serves them, but Sarah wisely pours hers on a plant (then fakes passing out).
- In 2006, JBL challenged Steve Austin to a beer drinking contest on Saturday Night's Main Event. After setting up the rules that the two would drink as much beer as they could in one minute while standing back to back, JBL proceeded to dump beer down the front of his shirt as opposed to ingesting it.
- Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge: Guybrush has to do a Drinking Contest with Rum Rogers Jr. Because he's such a lightweight, he has to empty his drink inside a potted dead plant, while replacing it with near-grog. The lightweight implication gets subverted when the other guy passes out, showing that the stuff is really undrinkable.
- Return To Zork: You may have to do this a couple of times during your Drinking Game with Boos in order to get his keys to East Shanbar. If you don't you get drunk, and lose.
- Vampire: The Masquerade: there is a separate character skill that deals with such things ("Sanguine Disposition" in the tabletop game.) It allows the characters to pass for humans in mixed company (since most vampires can't ingest anything but blood and refusing a drink might be impolite).
- When Zuko makes tea for Iroh in Avatar: The Last Airbender, Iroh takes one sip, barely chokes it down and calls it "bracing," then dumps what's left out the window behind him as soon as Zuko is looking the other way.
- Happens in Batman: The Brave and the Bold with that shake Wildcat makes.
- Leela does this when Zapp offers her "sham-pag-n" in an episode of Futurama.
- In another episode, Lethal Chef Bender notes that the potted plant in the kitchen gets more withered every time he cooks.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Party of One", after Rarity finds out Pinkie Pie's pet baby alligator has been swimming in the punch bowl, she politely continues drinking, but once Pinkie's back is turned she discreetly spits her mouthful of punch into a potted plant.
- Prohibition agent Izzie Einstein had a funnel and tube setup in the lining of his coat which allowed him to have any alcohol he got out of illegal bars poured into a flask he kept in an inside coat pocket - the contents of which he would use as evidence in court.