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One of the most widely used pieces of shorthand for telling the audience about a character's personality: have the character order a drink.
Some drinks are particularly trope rich:
- Tea, the most popular beverage in the world after water. No surprise, given that besides Britain, Ireland, and the Commonwealth, tea predominates in the former Soviet Union, East Asia, and South and Southeast Asia, and is highly competitive in the Middle East and North Africa—a collection of regions that, all told, contains about half to two-thirds of the world population. Styles, strengths, sweetness, and other ingredients are strongly regional and indicative of class wherever you go.
- Coffee, its principal rival. A character gets extra Bad Ass points if he or she makes a point of ordering "Coffee. Black."
- Wine, reputedly sophisticated (unless it's the cheap stuff, in which case it's the tipple of choice for The Alcoholic).
- Beer, reputedly plebeian.
- Whisk(e)y: Depends on the type. If a character orders Scotch they may be portrayed as sophisticated, but if they order rye or bourbon they may be portrayed as a rough around the edges Badass. Regardless of the type, whisk(e)y is always portrayed as a manly drink—a woman who likes whisk(e)y is, if not mannish, than definitely tough and determined.
- Milk or water, when in a bar, represents an especially naive or straitlaced person. (Not to be confused with Drunk on Milk). Either that or a stone-cold badass who doesn't give a damn about what anyone thinks. Or, you know, the designated driver...
- Martini: The chosen drink of the Uptown Girl and the Upper-Class Wit, an elegant-looking cocktail that connotes style and grace — or possibly a wish to get very drunk, very fast, while still looking stylish.
- The Gargle Blaster is the choice of every madman with a death wish.
The drink order can be code for nationality, and social class. See National Drinks
for more details.
Sometimes though, characters make a special point of ordering against type, such as an hardboiled character ordering milk (as mentioned above) or something sweet and girly.
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Anime and Manga
- In an episode of RahXephon, Makoto Isshiki orders Bond's signature drink. Unlike Bond, he isn't a dashing spy, but (like Bond) he is a cold-hearted seducer.
- Monster uses whether or not one orders alcohol for character development. A recovering alcoholic orders whiskey, but then manages to stop himself from drinking it; a chronic lush orders coffee to indicate she's taking things seriously; and a workaholic orders whiskey to illustrate that he's actually treating his vacation as such.
- Black Lagoon: The Lagoon Company's drink of choice when on the boat is Heineken. When they're at the Yellow Flag, they'll usually knock back rum or whiskey, with the hardest drinker by far being Revy.
- Ricardo from El Cazador de la Bruja orders "Beer and milk" in any bar. The beer is for himself; the milk is for the Cute Mute orphan girl Lirio, whom he takes care of.
- The nameless Information Broker and her successors from Mnemosyne always introduce themselves by ordering a Grasshopper from the bar.
- Captain Haddock, of Tintin, will have a Loch Lomond whisky. In Tintin Tintin And Alph Art (never completed due to Author Existence Failure), he was actually suffering from ill-effects as a result of not drinking. However, if whisky's not available, he's been known to favour rum.
- Tintin himself, meanwhile, invariably goes with something softer.
- The drink of choice for John Constantine of Hellblazer is a gin over ice.
- Marv from Sin City ordered "a shot and a brew" and told the waitress to keep it coming. He seems to like whiskey and beer. Due to his size, he doesn't seem to get drunk easily.
- Bait and Switch:
- Kanril Eleya tends to order a Gargle Blaster of a cocktail called the Hathon hammer when she's off-duty. The drink uses Klingon bloodwine as its base, then you add two shots of kava juice and one shot of kanar, a syrupy Cardassian liquor, then you shake it over ice and serve it in a martini glass. Eleya has some serious Lad-ette tendencies, so it fits.
- Reality Is Fluid has Professor Atani Dukat of the Cardassian Science Ministry say she's never liked kanar and order a Samarian sunset instead. This after she verbally disowns her father, Gul Dukat, during the preceding Mission Briefing; she's working towards improved relations with Bajor.
Live Action TV
- Artie kills a lot of Salty Dogs over the course of The Larry Sanders Show.
- Sea breeze is the drink of choice for Dennis Q. Finch.
- J.D. and his appletinis on Scrubs.
J.D.: An appletini and the girliest drink in the house.
Bartender: Two appletinis coming up.
- A typical bar order for the main character of the Canadian TV series Butch Patterson: Private Dick consists of "eighteen gin and tonics, nine rum and cokes, three bottles of wine, six banana daquiries, fourteen whiskeys, and a large jug of draft beer."
- On Snuff Box, Matt Berry has a very distinctive way of ordering "Whiskeyyyyy!" at the gentleman's club he frequents.
- Don Draper will have an Old Fashioned made with rye, generally Canadian (and particularly Canadian Club, of which he keeps a bottle in his office). Before Season 4, anyway.
- Betty seems to prefer white wine and/or gimlets, although she goes for red wine in the earlier seasons when drinking alone around the house; her new husband (as of Season 4) Henry Francis seems to like brandy before bed. Roger Sterling seems to drink whatever's handy, but has a general preference for vodka, and starting in Season 4 there always seems to be a bottle of Smirnoff in his office. Product Placement, anyone?
- In a late episode of Mash Rosie's bar gets trashed and Rosie injured, so the surgeons fill in for her. She tells Hawk & BJ about an Australian MP who comes in and orders "coffee," but that's a code word for whiskey. If he doesn't get what he wants, for free, he'll shut her down. Unfortunately, Charles is the one tending bar when the guy comes in.
You put coffee in my coffee!
- Rumpole of the Bailey: Rumpole's drink of choice is "Pommeroy's Plonk," aka "Chateau Fleet Street," aka "Chateau Thames Embankment," aka whatever claret Pommeroy's Wine Bar stocks for two quid a bottle. She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed (i.e. his wife Hilda) is typically seen quaffing gin and tonic. The clerk Henry goes for Dubonnet and lemonade, while Claude Erskine-Brown fancies himself a wine connoisseur and Sam Ballard Can't Hold His Liquor and therefore drinks mineral water.
- The women in Cougar Town, despite being heavy drinkers, are never seen drinking anything stronger than wine. The men will drink wine but also beer.
- Fitz will have a Scotch and dry. Make it a double if someone else is paying.
- Henry Crabbe from Pie in the Sky always has "gin and tonic. No ice; no slice." He explains in the second episode that he doesn't trust any ice cube that he doesn't know where the water's been, and that too many places now use lemon slices that were pre-sliced in a factory somewhere and shipped to the bar in individual plastic bags; in context, he's clearly bunging it on a bit for his audience, but it's characteristic enough to be his real reason.
- A Running Gag on NCIS is Gibbs's love of bourbon-brand bourbon. Shepard drinks bourbon as well, which is a plot point in one episode when he finds a bottle of scotch in her study and realizes that someone else had been there. La Grenouille drinks reserve Courvoisier in one scene and serves some to Ducky-as-Harot, who brings it up frequently after. The rest aren't seen drinking as often, but when they are, Tony usually comes back to sake bombs, and Ducky, left to his own devices, drinks the Macallan.
- Vince Noir in The Mighty Boosh in keeping with his androgynous persona, prefers flirtinis with a twist of lime. Which becomes amusing when he makes the drink fashionable in a pub frequented by hoary old fishermen.
- On Insomniac With Dave Attell, Dave would usually order a couple shots of Jager at any bar he visited.
- 30 Rock:
- Jack is always drinking scotch. There is one exception, in the scene where he meets C.C.; she hears him ordering "white rum with diet ginger ale and a splash of lime" and remarks, "Wow. I never would've pegged you for a University of Tennessee sorority girl." She herself has a shot of whiskey. After she leaves, the bartender gives Jack his drink, saying, "Here's your Nancy Drew," and Jack stiffly tells him that "for men it's called a Hardy Boy."
- In Tracy's Establishing Character Moment, he asks for apple juice in a fancy restaurant, and, when told they don't have it, settles for a vodka tonic.
- At her high school reunion, trying to feel successful and sophisticated, Liz orders a Manhattan. The bartender says, "Sure, what kind of bourbon?" and she folds and amends her order to a white wine spritzer.
- Also, when Liz is suspended from work in "Jackie Jormp-Jomp", she runs into a group of middle-aged, wealthy women (who would probably read Real Simple if their income was reduced by a zero or two) who drink white wine in the afternoons and go out to spas and for meals on weekdays. Turns out, it's a fight club.
- Call the Midwife: The nurses smuggle in small bottles of whatever they can into Nonnatus House (most often cheap spirits, and most often gin) but Trixie has developed a fondness for Babycham sparkling perry, and Cynthia and Jenny join her (historically accurate; Babycham was very popular among young women in the late 50s). It also seems the nuns drink whisky sours before going carolling, and Constable Noakes likes himself some whisky.
- In season 3 of Chuck, Casey recommends Johnnie Walker Black to Chuck when the latter must contend with the guilt of burning his first asset
- Hawkeye, Trapper and, later on, B.J always have a martini from their still and Radar O'Reilly will always order a Grape Nehi
- Throughout the Star Trek franchise, Romulan Ale (a blue alcoholic beverage) pops up from time to time as a somewhat popular (If outlawed in the Federation) alcoholic drink amongst Starfleet officers, its popularity and contraband status evidently being on par with Cuban Cigars. Interestingly enough, in Star Trek VI, when Kirk and McCoy are on trial for assassinating Chancelor Gorkon, their previous consumption of Romulan Ale is not brought up to merely suggest intoxication, rather than impact their overall credibility (showing that nobody, even people plotting against the Starfleet officers, takes the ban seriously enough to use their violating it against them).
- In one instance, a Romulan diplomat is seen discussing the effectiveness of replicated 'kali'fal' (a blue drink implied to be 'Romulan Ale' by its proper name). He remarks that the replica is accurate in most respects, but not near as aromatic as the genuine article. Apparently real Romulan Ale should forcibly open one's sinuses well before the first sip.
- Chekov and Scotty once compare drink orders. Chekov likes vodka—which Scotty calls "soda pop." His drink of choice is scotch—which, according to Chekov, "was inwented by a little old lady from Leningrad."
- Paris Geller of Gilmore Girls drinks a triple esspresso, which symbolizes her painfully intensive nature.
- In Pretty Little Liars, Ezra Fitz was suspected to be the mysterious board shorts, after his regular order - boysenberry pie and board shorts ale beer, is revealed.
- A non alcoholic example is the Liars' regular coffee order. Emily drinks a straight Americano. Maya, Alison and Cece refer to her as "Americano" at a certain point in the series. Her simple taste is supposed to represent her unassuming nature, and also refer to the fact that she herself isn't straight (it was even lampshaded by Cece). Artistic Aria always orders a soy Latte. Her vegan diet is described in the seires is yet another aspect of her general hipster-ness. Girly Hanna always orders a Latte, sometimes with whipped cream (which goes back to her days as unpopular Hefty Hanna). Overacheiver Spencer is known for her notorious Must Have Caffeine ways, and always orders a strong drink. Her dependence on caffeine is somewhat reperesntative of her tendency for prescription drugs abuse.
- Sex and the City has the iconic Cosmopolitans, the drink of choice for Carrie and her girlfriends. When not drinking a Cosmo, Carrie usually alternates for a sdirty martini.
- Given the personal nature of tastes, what one drinks plays a very large part in identity politics. One extreme example is the "log cabin and hard cider campaign" run by William Henry Harrison in the US presidential election of 1840. The campaign started when an opposition newspaper mocked candidate Harrison's age by remarking "give him a barrel of hard cider, and ... a pension of two thousand [dollars] a year ... and ... he will sit the remainder of his days in his log cabin." Given that hard cider was the main beverage of the grain-poor Thirteen Colonies but had long past been replaced by beer and whiskey and the only people who still lived in log cabins were crazy old coots out in the middle of nowhere, this was basically the period equivalent of everything that has ever been said about John McCain. Harrison decided to turn this around, declaring himself "the log cabin and hard cider candidate" to promote an image of old-fashioned, working-class frontier values (i.e, "small town values"), which was actually very much against his background, as he had been born on his family's Virginia plantation.
- Billy Connolly routine: "Hey barman, is Jimmy 'Chainsaw' McHaggerty in here? How about Angus Kick-em-in-the-balls-first-and-ask-questions-later McGuinness?" Et cetera with similar scary names, to which the barman says no. Billy (in a sissy voice) "Then I'll have a Campari and soda please".
- In the VIPER sourcebook for 5th edition Champions, the titular villainous organization provides "Snake Beer" at all its bases. Quality varies, as they normally hijack beer shipments and slap a new label on the cans/bottles. But for the average VIPER recruit, the important thing is that it's free. (For the leadership, the important thing is that it keeps their members from getting sloshed in bars and talking too much.)
- Blanche from A Streetcar Named Desire is a heavy alcoholic, but loathes beer and only drinks whiskey.
- State Of The Union has a scene (shortened in the film version) in which Spike tells the Matthews' butler what drinks should be served: Judge Alexander (a Southerner) will "probably stick to straight bourbon"; his Lady Drunk wife requests Sazeracs and a lot of them. The only other character with a notably specific drinking preference is Sen. Conover, who takes Scotch and soda after dinner.
- In The Time Of Your Life, Joe likes to loaf around at Nick's and order champagne, though Nick's isn't the kind of high-class joint that would ordinarily stock up with it.
- In Margin for Error, the Consul acquired his taste for brandy when he was Consul in British South Africa. He is proud to note that his old stock of brandy was "reclaimed" from a Rothschild cellar. The fanatically pro-German Horst's preference is pale Hofbrau.
- In the world of Monkey Island, grog is a mixture of kerosene, propylene glycol, artificial sweeteners, sulphuric acid, rum, acetone, red dye no. 2, SCUMM, axle grease, battery acid, and/or pepperoni.
- Team Fortress 2 The Demoman is never without a bottle of scrumpy.
- According to Poker Night at the Inventory and Poker Night 2:
- In an early episode of Futurama Bender is seen ordering three very specific, high class wines at a dinner party... He then instructs the waiter to "Mix them all together"
- In The Venture Bros., Rusty is at a low-rent strip club where beer is the drink of choice - he orders a Rob Roy, and the burly bartender reaches down under the bar, looking like he's going after a baseball bat (but reaches for a drink recipe card.)
- Eddie Valiant, Hardboiled Detective of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, orders a Scotch on the rocks. And he means ice.
- Hunter S. Thompson was noted for his fondness for both rum and Wild Turkey 101, a fondness shared by his alter ego Raoul Duke (as anyone who's read or seen Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas can attest).
- His contract riders for speaking engagements are legendary. In Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist, Thompson says he typically received so much Wild Turkey he ended up giving quarts away before leaving town, and some schools actually took him up on his half-joking offer to reduce his speaking fee, should they provide him with cocaine.
- In "The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved":
"Yeah, what are you drinkin?" I ordered a Margarita with ice, but he wouldn't hear of it: "Naw, naw...what the hell kind of drink is that for Kentucky Derby time? What's wrong with you, boy?" He grinned and winked at the bartender. "Goddam, we gotta educate this boy. Get him some good whiskey..." I shrugged. "Okay, a double Old Fitz on ice." Jimbo nodded his approval."
- Frederick The Great was fond of coffee boiled in champagne, which combined perfectly two of his passions: modernity and French culture. Coffee was very modern in the early 18th century, and champagne is of course French. Note that this didn't keep him from banning coffee to commoners to protect the brewing industry, despite his hatred of beer (he found it too German).
- Charles, Prince of Wales, prefers Laphroaig scotch, the mesquite barbecue of scotches. It's the only scotch ever to carry the Prince of Wales' royal warrant (which means they are his official supplier and can use this fact in advertisements).
- Christopher Hitchens was famously an aficionado of Scotch, particularly Johnnie Walker Black Label—hence his amusement at its popularity among Middle Eastern and Third World autocrats.
- Bob Hope in Road to ... Utopia. Hope's character tries to fit in at tough-guy frontier bar, but then orders a lemonade. Realizing his mistake, he quickly turns to the bartender and growls, "...in a dirty glass!"
- Lovable Rogue Brodie Bruce of Mallrats spends much of the movie sipping from a dixie cup full of soda that he brought from home. At one point he successfully orders a fast-food cashier to "Fill this up with Coke. No Ice."
- In the epic comedy The Blues Brothers, John Candy in the role of a police detective attends the film's pivotal fund-raising concert in order to arrest the performing band, but decides he wants to see them perform first and orders three Orange Whips for himself and the much more "serious" uniformed state troopers he is with.
- The line was ad-libbed as an informal promotion of a non-alcoholic orange creame beverage sold by the family of the film's costumer. Since the film the beverage has morphed into a sweet alcoholic cocktail.
- When times get rough in 1885, Back to the Future genius Emmett "Doc" Brown heads to the bar. For him the bartender makes an exception to his usual lineup (when Marty tries to order a nonalcoholic drink, the barflies laugh while the bartender pours him a free shot of whiskey—that BURNS the bar top where it spills) and keeps some sarsparilla in stock just for him. Doc has, however, been known to hit the whiskey. It hits him back quite promptly.
- Used for humor in the first film, when Marty gets George to man up and try asking Loraine to the dance, he goes up to the counter of the diner and orders milk. slaps bar "Chocolate!" The glass slides in from off-screen, George takes a big sip, and heads off to talk to Loraine as Marty looks on, dubious.
- In Shane, a line is quickly drawn between the titular character and the drunken members of the Ryker gang when he walks into their bar and orders a soda-pop.
- Rustlers Rhapsody. When Rex O'Herlihan walks into a Western bar he first orders a glass of warm milk. When everyone in the bar in the bar stares at him he changes his order to a sarsaparilla. See the entry under "Strong Drinks" above for what happens next.
- Xander Cage in xXx orders club soda and cranberry juice. This could just be to contrast him against the James Bond-types who he's intended to be an inversion of, or because he's an extreme-sports fanatic and doesn't want his reflexes dulled while he's undercover. Some people theorise that Xander is in fact Straight Edge.
- In The Great Muppet Caper, Fozzie is messing with what appears to be a martini, or possibly champagne served in the wrong glass. He takes a sip, then turns around and informs the people behind him, "Hey, if you add enough sugar to this stuff it tastes just like ginger ale!" He gives the distinct impression that he finds this to be an improvement (possibly the fact that he was adding sugar to it was a pretty solid hint).
- Harley Stone in Split Second survives on nothing but heavily-sweetened coffee and chocolate since his partner was killed by a monster no one else believes in.
CONSTABLE: Would you like some coffee with your sugar, guvner?
- Film/Catwoman has Catwoman showing up at a bar after her transformation with a very specific order..
Catwoman: White Russian, no ice, no vodka... hold the Kahlua.
Bartender: Cream, straight up.
- In the Doctor Who novel The Infinity Casket, Rose orders water at a tough Space Pirates tavern, and the Doctor hastily adds the dirty glass.
- Ciaphas Cain, HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!!!', once trekked across an Ork-infested continent in order to get to the nearest available pot of tanna tea. (OK, to be honest, he actually made the trip because it was the closest point of relative safety on the planet, but the fact that he did get the tea at the end was certainly an added bonus.)
- Tanna is a national drink of all Valhallans, Cain just picked this habit from his long association with them. He's just as well would take an (alcoholic) amasec, a brandy analogue.
- Starting from the first major Star Wars Expanded Universe trilogy, Luke Skywalker's favorite drink is an exotic but very safe, comforting beverage called "hot chocolate". As his wife muses, it fits his farmboy personality perfectly.
- Wookieepedia says that toppings for hot chocolate include "orchid bean extract" vanilla, "tang bark" cinnamon and "mallow paste" marshmallows.
- Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze film. While at Captain Seas' dinner party, Doc's aides order lemonade, root beer and a glass of milk, and Doc himself asks for a Coke.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
- In The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Arthur Dent tries very patiently to get a simple cup of tea from the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Nutri-Matic Drinks Synthesizer which, while it claims to produce the widest possible range of drinks personally matched to the tastes and metabolism of whoever cares to use it, invariably produces a liquid which is "almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea" (possibly a Take That at coffee). Arthur's determination leads him to explain the process of making tea, from geography to the social aspects to preparation. In the end, it almost gets him and everyone else on the Heart of Gold killed by Vogons, but he does indeed get a cup of good tea out of it.
- The radio series had a sentient-machine that dispensed drinks apparently tailored to every customer's exact tastes and nutritional needs, provoking Arthur to exclaim "Wonderful, apparently I'm a masochist on a diet" before beginning another rant about tea, and the fall of a civilisation and the creation of a race of bird-men.
- Dragaera's Vlad Taltos is a wine connosseur and also favors "klava," a coffee derivative probably based on Hungarian egg coffee.
- Ubiquitous in Tamora Pierce books. Because her books take place in medieval settings, where beer at breakfast was common (they hadn't really figured out sanitation yet), but have child-to-teenage protagonists, she explains why they're going with the soft option:
- In the Circle of Magic books, mages are usually teetotalers for good reason—when the four protagonists tried some alcohol, they destroyed a barn.
- In the Tortall Universe, Keladry prefers cider and Beka Cooper drinks twilseynote at taverns because they dislike the uncontrolled feeling that alcohol brings. Lord Raoul is also a teetotaler after being The Alcoholic in his youth.
- Horatio Hornblower: Hornblower tries to drink very lightly when he's at functions with alcohol since he likes to be in control of himself at all times. (He does get drunk in The Commodore after having to prevent his aide from assassinating the Czar and winds up sleeping with a Countess... also, half the fleas in the Russian palace.) Usually he drinks coffee or whatever pitiful substitute is left on the ship, like burnt toast.
- Jonathan Coulton, on geek preferences: "Code Monkey like Fritos, Code Monkey like Tab and Mountain Dew..."
- Hawke from Advance Wars apparently like black coffee. Just look at his profile on the game.
Anime and Manga
- Roberta from Black Lagoon orders milk, and she's a human Terminator! It's a good way to provoke a fight. Also drinking milk in the series were Torch, a psychopathic Mormon pyromaniac and Rotton the Wizard a (not so) Badass Longcoat who can't hold his liquor. However, in a later appearance of Roberta, she orders tequila, signaling a return to her bloodthirsty past personality.
- One of the many ways that Devil May Cry showcases Dante's quirkiness despite his status as a Badass is in, among other things, his tendency to instantly assume that people who enter his shop are looking for the bathroom, his fondness for tomato juice, and his habit of ordering a strawberry sundae from any bar he walks into. The last one in particular is seen in the very first scene in the anime.
- Badass giant robot pilot Van of GUN×SWORD has as his drink of choice... milk. He does have an excuse, however - he Can't Hold His Liquor worth a damn.
- Same with above example, although the guy in question is Yusei Fudo of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds. Has a yellow shape on his face? Criminal. Wears leather or denim with shoulder, elbow and knee pads? Biker. Bar near a prison? This guy came form prison. Completely emotionless face? No Nonsense type of guy. What does he order? Get me Milk.
- Of course, he expects to ride in a high-speed motorcycle race at any time, so staying sober is probably a good idea.
- Fridge Brilliance and Justified Trope here. Previous episodes showed Yusei's age as 18 years old (at the time). The Japanese Legal Drinking Age is 20. Also a Casting Gag as above-mentioned Van shares a Seiyuu with Jack Atlas.
- The favorite drink of Afro Samurai: "Lemonade. Ice cold." (Lemonade is a major part of one of his few good childhood memories.) Do not interrupt the man while he's drinking, either.
- Colonel Paya Livingston from Dai Mahou Touge orders "the usual" at the bar and gives the barkeep a jar with "sake" written on it. However, "the usual" turns out to be chocolate milk, which the barkeep pulls from under the counter.
- Another classic example is when The Phantom goes to town in the guise of Mr. Walker, to extract information. He will invariably visit the grungiest bar in the seediest part of Morristown and order milk. And they will always have a bottle handy.
- Naturally. They need it to make Caucasians, which in turn is the girliest cocktail ever and only an acceptable guy's drink after The Big Lebowski was made.
- In the Marvel G.I. Joe comic, Zartan's Dreadnoks all drink grape sodas, usually served as if they were alcoholic.
- Many members of the Joe team drink the fictional Yo-Joe Cola, which reportedly tastes nasty.
- Jackie Estacado of The Darkness is a non-drinker, and only orders non-alcoholic items at the local bar because "likes himself the way he is."
- Batman seldom drinks alcohol, however, as he plays up the role of the Rich Idiot with No Day Job, he is known to order Ginger Ale and pretend that it is champagne or the like. On the rare occasions when he does, he favors bourbon.
- In the early days of the comic book, Lucky Luke would always drink lemonade or Coca-Cola when he was at a saloon. But ever since the comic changed its publisher, he always orders beer.
- In Mesmo Delivery, Rufo, a huge, broad-shouldered former boxer now working as truck driver, stops at a roadside diner and since he's working gets himself a glass of milk, unfortunately since he also has a rather pudgy, round face the other customers decide to call him a big baby.
- When Sam & Max hit up a bar before travelling to ancient Egypt, Sam orders a root beer and an Orange Julius; Max demands dish water in a dirty glass.
- A John Wayne quote (that he never said): "Get off your horse and drink your milk."
- Forgot the exact source, but a bartender in some western once explained he keeps milk around because people tough enough to dare order milk at his bar really aren't the kind of people he'd want to offend by not having any.
- Jean Girard from Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby daintily sips an espresso from a real china cup and saucer as he drives his stock car. It's against stereotype for NASCAR, but totally in-stereotype for a gay Frenchman. At least he's not downing Bordeaux during a race.
- The Mariachi from El Mariachi and Desperado, despite his Badass gunslinger persona, orders soda when visiting a bar. He explains that he doesn't drink because he's a musician and afraif that it would ruin his voice.
- When Bond loses it all in Casino Royale, he evidently does not give a damn about whether his martini is shaken or stirred.
- Billy Costigan in The Departed orders a cranberry juice. A mob flunkie who cracks a joke about it gets the glass in his face.
- In Clockers, one of the main characters is a low-level drug dealer who at one point walks into a bar and orders chocolate milk, specifically "Chocolate Moos." He thinks it will help his ulcer.
- In Sidekicks, Chuck Norris drinks milk... which automatically means milk is awesome.
- Charlie Chan is The Teetotaler, but in spite of the fact that he's Chinese and is a teetotaler he is no fan of a Spot of Tea; he prefers sarsaparilla (a root beer-like beverage).
- Rory, a badass Yardy gangster in Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels likes frothy drinks of the Umbrella Drink type. On one occasion, he does order a cocktail with a very high alcohol content, but that was only so he could spit it on someone who annoyed him and set them on fire.
- In Final Justice, Joe Don Baker's character is made fun of by a comically tiny Maltese Man for wanting to order milk (after trying and failing to procure some Maalox). This goes well for neither the tiny man nor the other Maltese guys in the bar.
- Invoked in Victor/Victoria when King Marchant goes to a working-class bar looking for a fight. He orders milk.
Cow's milk or mother's milk? King:
How 'bout your sister's? (cue Bar Brawl)
- Archie Goodwin of the Nero Wolfe series generally orders milk (although he doesn't completely avoid strong drinks).
- In The Thrawn Trilogy, Mara Jade Skywalker, a female Rambo and Mama Bear with a lightsaber, also loves hot chocolate. Of course, she used to be a courtier (well, court assassin), where the drink was too unsophisticated; after that she was a smuggler, and her business partners, "like the good smugglers they were, had turned up their noses at all nonalcoholic drinks in general." By the time she marries Luke, she's looking for the comforting, homey atmosphere. See above.
- Biggles is an absolute teetotaller, and is seen in one of the early stories taking enormous risks in competition with a fellow airman over a crate of lemonade. This makes rather more sense when you know that it was originally a crate of excellent pre-war whisky, but was retconned later when the books became popular among children. In the post-WWI books he's teetotal even in the original editions, but this is because a mix of PTSD and lovesickness led to him becoming an alcoholic, which nearly got him killed on the last day of the war.
- In Star Wars, Darth Maul opts to order pure water - dedicated warrior that he is, he'd not dull his senses on a mission with anything alcoholic. Woman at the bar is somewhat disdainful, partly that he's not spending much... she gets a glare, and a mind whammy to bring him his drink and leave him alone.
- Honor Harrington's drink of choice is hot chocolate when she's on duty. When she's not, then it's an Old Tillman in a frosty stein, and she and her hubby just love to snark at her brother-in-law, a known wine snob.
- In The Dresden Files:
- Sanya, a Russian-born Knight of the Cross, prefers brandy instead of stereotypical vodka, but will happily drink either.
- Father Forthill has been known to keep a hip-flask of good scotch on him.
- Harry himself will drink anything that contains enormous amounts of sugar and caffeine. His alcoholic beverage of choice is beer. Specifically, Mac's beer. It's brewed personally by Mac, every step of the way, and served at room temperature, old-world style. This has first-time patrons at Mac's skeptical, for about the first sip. Karrin Murphy, all-American to the core, once complained it had "too much flavor".
- In one of the The Adventures of Samurai Cat books, Miaowara Tomokato goes into a rough bar and orders a saucer of milk. And gets it, though he needs to disassemble most of the patrons before being allowed to drink it in peace.
- In the Discworld books, hard-boiled cop Commander Vimes drinks lemonade. Justified, in that he's a recovering alcoholic.
- In one of E. E. “Doc” Smith's Lensman books Kimball Kinnison goes into a bar and orders a pineapple pop, in order to deliberately provoke a fight.
- In the Mechwarrior: Dark Age novel Ghost War, intelligence operative Mason Dunne is at a party and notes that the bar has his favorite Irish Whisky on tap... but then deliberately avoids ordering it; his cover identity prefers a different drink, and he wants nothing, no matter how how small, to link back to his true identity.
- In "Gunmen of the Apocalypse", the Western episode of Red Dwarf:
Rimmer: I've seen Westerns. I know how to speak cowboy. Leave the talking to me. [turns to the bar woman] A dry white wine and Perrier, please.
- In Star Trek: The Next Generation, all Klingons take bloodwine (straight out of the barrel). Worf, who was raised on Earth, likes his bloodwine "very young and very sweet" but Federation replicators can't do it justice and Starfleet is rather more strict in their opinion of drunken revelry. His drink of choice? Prune juice, introduced to him by the ship's bartender, Guinan. (Expanded Universe novels suggest that prune juice has become a major Federation export to the Klingon Empire.)
Worf: This is a warrior's drink!
- Lampshaded the first time Worf walks into Quark's on Deep Space 9 in DS9: "The Way of the Warrior". Quark offers him bloodwine, he orders "prune juice, chilled". Quark does a double take and Worf glares at him until he supplies the beverage.
- One of the rules for Lone Ranger screenwriters was that he never touched alcohol - even the saloons had to resemble cafés.
- On Hustle, stylish con man Mickey Bricks seems to be a fan of orange juice.
- In one episode of ER, Mark Greene's father orders a fancy latte and explains to his son (paraphrased), "We're navy, but this is still California."
- The Middleman orders milk from bars. This wouldn't be against stereotype since he's such a boyscout, but he proceeds to torture his interrogation victim every time he takes a sip. The man cracks when he goes to get another bottle. "Lemonade. Ice cold".
- BA Baracus, the resident Scary Black Man from The A-Team is a strict teetotaller and only drinks milk.
- The McPoyles in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the criminal inbred rivals to The Gang, show up to the bar after word of mouth marketing reached them about The Gang's wild, total freedom policy:
Liam: I heard you got 'anything goes' going on in here. So can we get a couple glasses of milk?
- El Chapulín Colorado features the outlaw and horrible villian El Cuajinais, entering the bar and ordering... a glass of milk.
Waiter: A glass of milk?
Cuajinais: ON THE ROCKS.
Cuajinais: *grabs his shirt threateningly* And without pasteurizating. I HATE SOFT DRINKS.
- In the short-lived show Legend, Nicodemus Legend is well-known for never drinking alcohol. But Ernest Pratt, the writer who publishes under the alias of Nicodemus Legend, does not follow this practice. In order to get his liquor without upsetting all the people who know that Legend doesn't drink, he drinks his whiskey from a teacup.
- In the Community episode "Mixology Certification" Troy, to honor his deceased uncle, wants to order a Seven and Seven as his first drink after turning 21, but is convinced by Jeff and Britta not to since that is "a high school drink for girls". In the end, he ends up ordering it anyway, but ends up leaving it on the counter to go take his drunk-off-their-asses friends home.
- In one episode of The Young Ones where they go to the pub, Vyvyan cheerfully orders a Babycham.
- In the Supernatural episode Swap Meat, one of the first indications that Sam may not be quite himself comes when he orders an enormous sweet, fruity, frosted mixed drink instead of the Winchester brother standard of cheap American lager.
- When the brothers travel back in time to The Wild West, Dean annoys Sam by ordering sarsaparilla for his little brother and a straight whiskey for himself, only to end up gagging on his shot (due to either poor quality or high alcohol content) much to Sam's amusement.
Sam: You know, the sarsaparilla's not bad.
- In Final Fantasy IV, a sidequest sees Cecil having to go to a bar and buy some time by talking with the barmaid. So, he orders a drink. What does newly-reformed soul-full-of-light Cecil order? Milk, of course.
- Milk is Ramza's drink of choice, too.
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask has a milk bar. One character is visibly drunk on the final day if you do his part right. Drunk off of milk.
- The Heavy of Team Fortress 2, among other averted Husky Russkie stereotypes, happens to enjoy a nice peach bellini.
- In Brütal Legend the Heavy Metal loving humans of Ironheade are all beer drinkers. They even have a "Sacred Beer Tree" that naturally produces ice cold lager. Once you get to the Playable Epilogue you can even visit their beach party and enjoy a beer with them.
Eddie: How about when we get to town we have a big pow-wow with your whole army? We'll have a campfire, and I'll tell you all about what I do and where I came from over a big flagon of mead.
Ophelia: What's a flagon of mead?
Eddie: It's a drink. Aren't we in medieval times?
Ophelia: Uhh... we only have beer. But you can have as many kegs as you want.
Eddie: TO BLADEHENGE!
- The Flash's Rogues Gallery appears in one episode of Justice League Unlimited, planning a hit on The Flash in a Bad-Guy Bar. After claiming to be, in their own words, "The hardest men in town", their drink order is immediately revealed to consist of, respectively, an Arnold Palmer (lemonade ice-tea), a cherry coke, a decaf soy latte, and a glass of milk (Captain Cold's ulcer had been acting up).
- What makes this funnier is the fact that only the milk is treated as an odd order which is the only reason we know about the ulcer.
- In the The Super Mario Bros. Super Show episode Pirates of the Koopa, Mario and Luigi pose as pirates to infiltrate 'Blackbeard' Koopa's hideout. Luigi asks the bartender to "Gimme a milk." At their odd looks, Mario adds, "In a dirty glass!"
Anime and Manga
- A successful filmmaker in Four Rooms (played by Quentin Tarrantino) raves about his Cristal for almost 10 minutes of screentime. He shares it generously, but one of his buddies (played by Bruce Willis) drinks something brown in a chaser.
- Chocolate milk!
- In X-Men: First Class, it's subtle, but every time they're in a bar, Charles orders a cola, rather than alcohol, for Mystique, because he doesn't want her "slipping up" and exposing her true form.
- Dracula does not drink... wine.
- Neither do the Igors of Pratchett's Discworld... which is the cue to extract the ubiquitous canteen from its hiding place on your person and offer them a slug.
- Rogue Squadron pilots in the comics have lum as their general drink of choice during off hours; the squadron during the books prefers lomiin-ale. In Isard's Revenge a pilot from the comics lineup temporarily returned to the squadron and was a little shocked when he was told that they'd never drink lum. Whether these are alcoholic or not depends on who you ask.
- Harry Potter students will drink butterbeer, while their professors enjoy Firewhiskey or a Gilly water.
- The composition of butterbeer is up for debate. J. K. Rowling claimed she made it up but described it as probably tasting "a bit like less sickly butterscotch". It is mildly alcoholic, not enough to get humans tipsy but enough to get a house elf drunk. The Harry Potter wiki describes an actual beverage called butterbeer which was documented in a 1588 cookbook from Tudor England containing beer, butter, sugar, eggs, nutmeg and cloves, probably resembling early eggnog. Home attempts at Defictionalization tend to revolve around either these old beer recipes, actual butterscotch spirits, or for kid-friendly consumption, cream soda. A soda base is plausible when you consider that old-fashioned sodas got their carbonation from yeast—the same way beer gets its alcohol and fizz, the main difference being time—and do actually contain trace amounts of alcohol. "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" theme park serves its own, secret, soda-like butterbeer formula.
- Butterbeer is favoured by students visiting Hogsmeade, but at Hogwarts proper the most popular drink is pumpkin juice. Less unusual drinks seen in Hogsmeade and its surrounds include tea, coffee, and Madame Rosmerta's oak-matured mead.
- In Prisoner of Azkaban, the trio overhear some of the staff discussing Sirius Black with the Minister. McGonagall has a small gillywater, Hagrid has four flagons of mead (hey, he's half-giant), Flitwick a cherry syrup and soda with an umbrella, and the Minister has redcurrant rum.
- A Song of Ice and Fire:
- Stannis Baratheon is a hard and bitter man, and to reflect this, he drinks plain water with a pinch of salt.
- It probably doesn't hurt that his older brother is a massive alcoholic and he's spent his entire life trying to get out of his shadow.
- Aeron Damphair, a priest of the Drowned God, carries a water skin filled with seawater, which he drinks from.
- Roose Bolton, a health nut, drinks the medicinal wine hippocras.
- And then there's Robert/Robin Arryn's favorite drink. It's his mother's milk. He's far too old to be suckling.
- Steve Martin, in his book on writing, uses the following (roughly paraphrased) example to illustrate his point on demonstrating characterization through actions. (Frappe is, like many unfathomable terms, a regional term for what would otherwise be called a milkshake, or it can be a fancy coffee drink. Presumably it means he's considerably less of a threat than you might think.)
[A red guy walks into a bar.]
Bartender: What'll you have, red guy?
Red guy: I'll have a frappe.
- P. G. Wodehouse's Gussie Fink-Nottle has an addiction to orange juice which he drinks the same way as his friend Bertie Wooster drinks alcohol (whenever he has received bad news to strengthen himself for example).
- A Confederacy of Dunces: Ignatius will have a Dr. Nut (an almond-flavored soft drink produced in New Orleans at the time).
- In Fawlty Towers, Basil Fawlty insults another person's lack of sophistication by saying "they wouldn't know a Bordeaux from a Claret." The joke is, of course, that a claret is a type of dry, dark Bordeaux tailored to British tastes, and so in British wine parlance those two names are synonyms.
- Kenan & Kel: "Who loves orange soda? Kel loves orange soda! Is it true? Mmm-hmmmm! I do, I do, I doo-oo!"
- One episode of The Big Bang Theory had Penny practicing making alcoholic drinks, and got frustrated when Sheldon wouldn't order. When he does...
Sheldon: I'll have a virgin Cuba Libre.
Penny: That's rum and Coke, without the rum.
Penny: So, Coke?
Sheldon: Could you make it diet?
Penny: (Growls) There's a can in the fridge.
- In Kung Fu, Caine, being a Shaolin monk with appropriately simple tastes, usually just asks for plain water when at a bar.
- In Once Upon a Time, The Charming Family's signature drink order is hot chocolate with cinnamon. Snow White, her daughter Emma, and Emma's son Henry all either drink it on-screen or mention that they like it at one point or another.
- Some Star Trek captains have drinks they're always ordering, to the point of the order becoming a Catch Phrase on the level of "Energize" or "Engage." Picard's got his "tea, earl gray, hot," Sisko's got his Raktajino (Klingon coffee), and Janeway has her "Coffee. Black." (In fact, her coffee addition becomes a Running Gag sometimes.)
- John Lee Hooker's Blues song: "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" has said drink order as the chorus.
- "What your drink says about you" lists are practically their own genre of Internet humor. Examples here and here.
- Mass Effect:
- Being a classy and intelligent woman, Doctor Chakwas enjoys high-end spirits, particularly Serrice Ice Brandy. You can even obtain some and have a drink with her, reminiscing about the old crew and your adventures in the first installment.
- Shepard seems to favor 'whatever the bartender can throw at me, and keep them coming.' It almost gets them killed when one Jerk Ass batarian bartender poisons Shepard with turian booze. Depending on how you play Shepard, you can pay the bastard back by making him drink it.
- If the player is persistent enough at the bar in the Citadel, the bartender will ramp it up all the way to ryncol, a krogan drink that is insanely toxic. The barkeep warns Shepard that drinking it will make them set off radioactivity alarms for a while. If the player chooses to partake, Shepard (who is already well snockered at this point) passes out and wakes up on the floor of the bar's bathroom.
- In Mass Effect 3, vaguely Scottish engineer Donnelly declares that The Illusive Man's preference for bourbon over scotch is proof that he's evil.
- In Catherine, the protagonist Vincent often spends times drinking in the local watering hole, the Stray Sheep, with his friends. All of them have their own drinks of choice (Orlando and Tobias like beer, while Jonny favours Japanese sake), and you can order your own drinks: beer, sake, whiskey, or rum & cola. All of them offer a Booze-Based Buff, and as a nice touch, you also get some cool trivia on the drinks as well.
- Bar Oasis has several signature drinks, all of them alcohol, and are associated with characters. Boa Noite is for Carla, Caol Ila a la Murakami and Desree is for Desree Mboshi, the titular drink Oasis for Risa, Ile de Re a la Eric for Eric Lang, and Guinness for Sheila.
- As for the gameplay, the game zig-zags this trope. You may have men order June Bugs or women ordering a Black Russian. And it's possible for both to get drunk on Cinderellas (basically, a juice cocktail) and Shirley Temples.
- Barney's girlfriend (a Yoko Ono pastiche) in the Be Sharps episode of The Simpsons orders "A single plum, floating in perfume, served in a man's hat." Moe conveniently has exactly that behind the bar.
- An amusing scene in one episode of Disney's Aladdin: The Series had Mechanicles enter the Bad-Guy Bar and order mint tea. Abis Mal mocks him for it.
- Played with surrealistically in South Park., Officer Barbrady's "usual" at Tweak's dad's coffee joint is a slap across the face with a cat.
- Late-19th century rairlroad magnate and famed gourmand "Diamond" Jim Brady loved orange juice (or as he called it, his "Golden Nectar") and would often wash down his huge meals with a gallon of the stuff.