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Drinking Contest
"I shall win. You haven't the liver or the stomach of a first-rate winebibber!"
Duke of Clarence, Tower of London (1939 version)

Basically, a competition to see who can hold his liquor better. In its simplest form, participants drink equal amounts simultaneously and whoever quits or passes out first, loses. Variants may involve periodic tests of skill, often with the loser obliged to perform some humiliating forfeit.

Distinct from Drinking Game, in two ways. One, many Drinking Games are like closet dramas, never meant to be performed; a Drinking Contest exists only in performance. Two, a Drinking Game has as its object getting drunk, and is noncompetitive or only nominally competitive; a Drinking Contest has as its object not getting (as) drunk (as the other guy) and always has a winner and a loser.

A Drinking Contest is typically dreaded by a character who Can't Hold His Liquor, and may be subject to exploitation by one who Never Gets Drunk. Compare Eating Contest.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Oh My Goddess!, Belldandy ends up in one with either Chihiro (in the manga) or Sayoko (in the Flights Of Fancy TV series), and doesn't so much as burp (which could be somewhat justified— she's based on a goddess from the mythology of the ancient Norsemen, who were infamous for their drink). It's not until after, when Keiichi gives her a can of cola to wash away the taste, does Intoxication Ensue.
  • In Maison Ikkoku, Mrs. Ichinose intentionally threw a drinking contest in her youth to get her husband to marry her.
  • One Piece: In Whiskey Peak, Zoro and Nami give up after consecutively beating 13, or 15, respectively, opponents. And even then they're faking.
    • Nami is a self-proclaimed expert at this tactic, using it on pirates she intends to rob.
  • Black Lagoon: When Rock challenges Revy in the first episode/volume.
  • Done fairly early on in Saiyuki, when a tavernkeeper trying to avoid a brawl gets the protagonists to do this instead. Among other things, it turns out that Sanzo's even more homicidal when he's drunk and that Hakkai does not get drunk, period.
  • The reader's first sight of Sakyon in Ooku: The Inner Chambers is him winning a drinking contest with some luckless woman with a crush on him. It seems he makes a fair bit of money doing this.
  • Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu: The male protagonist's elder sister and his homeroom teacher are fond of these.
  • In his first appearance on Tekkaman Blade O'Toole goads D-Boy into a drinking contest, with the loser having to follow the winner's orders. The Irishman wins since D-Boy seems never to have drunk before and quickly passes out.

    Audio Adapation 

    Comics 
  • Wolverine often takes advantage of his healing factor to coax money out of suckers this way.
  • In Suske en Wiske - De stoute steenezel, Lambik wins one against the alcohol devil, by having Jerom getting him a vat of alcohol-free beer and the strongest beer he could find for the devil.
  • During Hercules' funeral/wake, Thor relates a tale about how Hercules, to prevent the Frost Giants from assaulting the Olympians, challenged Thor's usual foes to a drinking match. Thor joined in, the two heroes won, and the images (both of the flashback and Thor's very pleased look in the retelling) strongly implied that Herc and Thor both parlayed their success in drinking with some pleasurable time with large, shapely Frost Giant females.
    • Hercules actually challenged Galactus, devourer of worlds, to a drinking contest. Neither budge, but Galactus is amused enough to spare Hercules.
  • The Far Side parodies this with a coffee drinking contest in the Old West.

     Fan Works 
  • One of these happened offscreen in chapter three of Bait and Switch (STO). A Klingon lieutenant from the USS Bajor was called a traitor by his counterpart from a KDF warship docked at Deep Space 9, and they decided to settle it with a drinking contest instead of bat'leths. They both passed out after four shots of Romulan ale and had to be dragged home.
  • In Opening Dangerous Gates, Rangiku has a friendly one with Cana and Bacchus. While she gets drunk, the other two pass out.

    Film 
  • In Raiders of the Lost Ark, Marian's introduction comes as she is winning a drinking contest.
  • Tower of London interprets Clarence's legendary drowning (in a pipe of wine) as being inflicted on him during a drinking contest he had, indeed, been winning.
  • The Frat contest in Revenge of the Nerds had drinking as a part of it.
  • In Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Legolas and Gimli have a last-man-standing-wins drinking contest. By the end of the night, Gimli passes out on the floor while Leglolas is left perfectly sober except for a "slight tingling" in his fingers. However, if one looks closely it appears that Gimli has drunk quite a bit more than Legolas, making it an uneven contest.
    • Note that according to Tolkien, elves are supposed to be completely unaffected by alcohol. So Legolas having any symptoms at all is actually a pretty big deal.
    • Odd, given that in The Hobbit, the good guys manage to escape from Thranduil's halls when the elves that were supposed to be watching the cellar get drunk and pass out. The wines of Dorwinion are strong, indeed. The fact that they were drinking wines that were supposed to be drunk in small bowls, and diluted with water, by the flagon probably contributed.
  • The Adventures Of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert has a drinking contest between a transwoman played by Terence Stamp, and a local Broken Hill woman. Stamp wins.
  • Thor and Selvig go at it not so subtly. It begins with the two of them drinking their boilermaker before eyeing each other and each really chugs down their beer. Naturally Thor wins, though Selvig "makes his ancestors proud".
  • In Don Camillo in Moscow mayor Peppone engages in one of those with a Soviet official to stall for time so Camillo can get back to the hotel before the Russians discover that he is missing. When Camillo finally gets back he is shocked to find out that Peppone actually won the contest against a Russian.
  • Winning a beer-drinking contest is the main plot point of Beerfest.
  • In Leprechaun 2, Morty challenges the evil leprechaun to a drinking contest and beats him by cheating: while he served the leprechaun beer, he was drinking soda.

    Literature 
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy features the "periodic test of skill" variant, with the skill being psychokinesis. The rules: Use your Psychokinetic powers to tip the bottle of Ol' Janx Spirit into your opponent's glass, which they then have to drink. The trick is that Ol' Janx Spirit suppresses telekinetic powers, so once you start losing, you tend to keep losing.
  • The Devil May Cry novel #1 has one of these between Dante and Gilver.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Greatjon Umber takes on three of the Freys at Edmure Tully's wedding. He drinks all three under the table. It's a ruse to get him too drunk to fight as Robb Stark's party is ambushed and slaughtered. Even handicapped, he still proves to be a One-Man Army.
  • In The Stormlight Archive, we learn that the traditional form of dueling among Horneaters, referred to as an alil'tiki'i duel, is to see who can still sing coherently after drinking the most mugs of beer.
  • Redwall features one in Lord Brocktree, where a young haremaid goes up against the Scottish-accented mountain hare King Bucko Bigbones twice her size. She wins by virtue of taking a dainty sip for every three huge gulps he takes of strong cider, leaving her the winner by default (Bucko was used to large, brawny opponents who also thought the winner was determined by volume).

    Live Action TV 
  • In the 30 Rock episode, "Sandwich Day", the cast takes on the Teamsters in a drinking contest, but for various reasons, each character has a reason not to participate, such as Tracy's alcohol monitor and Kenneth's religious beliefs, leaving Jena as the only one taking them on, shot-for-shot. Just when thinks look bleak, one by one the other characters' reasons for not drinking fade away.
    Kenneth: "Alcohol? This smells just like Hill People Milk. I've been drinking this since I was a baby!"
  • Star Trek: The Original Series episode "By Any Other Name". Scotty has a Drinking Contest with one of the alien Kelvans who have taken over the Enterprise (though the Kelvan doesn't realize what's going on). When the Kelvan passes out Scotty gets his device and tries to take it to Captain Kirk, but passes out himself before he can do so.
  • In Heroes Nathan and Claire were trapped in Mexico. Nathan tried to use a Drinking Contest to win some cash with which to get home, but lost. Claire stepped up and won however, due to her Healing Factor making it impossible for her to get drunk.
  • Another example of rigged drinking contest was in Earth: Final Conflict. Boone used one of these to challenge a local into revealing some information. When Lili started arguing with him about it later, he revealed his alien implant made it impossible for him to get drunk.
  • Blackadder, second series, episode "Beer", features Edmund Blackadder trying to simultaneously have a quiet dinner with his fanatically religious relatives in one room, and have a bawdy drinking contest with some friends in the next room down the hall.
  • Red Dwarf: Lister has a drinking contest with his alternate universe female self, which leads to them sleeping together and him getting pregnant.
  • In an episode of Arrested Development, Lucille enters one of these against Kitty, intensified by having Lucille in rehab earlier in the episode. She wins.
  • Will Smith challenged another guy to a drinking contest in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, he lost badly.
  • On Parks and Recreation, when Leslie needs to get rid of Tammy One, Ron's evil, controlling ex-wife, she enlists Tammy Zero, Ron's mother. Tammy Zero challenges Tammy One to an old-fashioned prairie drink-off, the drink being a jug of moonshine whose only legal use is stripping paint off of speedboats. Leslie joins the drink-off too, but can't keep up. All seems lost until Ron steps up and drinks half the jug in one gulp.
  • In WKRP in Cincinnati, as a public service, the station on a holiday (July 4th?) held a one person drinking contest with Johnny Fever. They tested his reflexes with a machine, then had him down a drink every half hour (or something like that). After drinking it, they tested his reflexes again to show the audience what happens when you get drunk. The only problem was the Johnny's reflexes got faster the drunker he got.
  • Smallville: Lois Lane was expelled from Metropolis University for entering one of those.
  • Monk and Sharona entered a drinking contest against two frat boys and won. Monk didn't drink at all..

    Print Media 

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Funday Pawpet Show celebrated its 21st episode with a contest based on a WKRP episode...each cast memeber took a shot of Rumplemintz every half hour of the four hour program. It should be noted that all surrendered their keys and spent the night in the studio afterward.
  • In Avenue Q, the Bad Idea Bears suggest Kate and Princeton play a drinking game called "I Bet I Can Drink Faster Than You!"

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • When the God Emperor of Mankind came to Fenris to collect the lost primarch Leman Russ to lead the Space Wolves, Russ refused to pay homage until this stranger had bested him in a series of trials. First there was an eating contest, and then a drinking contest, both of which Russ won. But the Emperor rebuked him by calling the primarch nothing but a glutton and a drunkard, which led to the third contest: physical strength. One blow from a Power Fist later and Leman Russ was out cold, and the next day he laughingly agreed to follow the Emperor's command, all the while claiming that his headache was due to his hangover.
    • The Space Wolves are often known to participate in these as a result of that meeting. Of course, given the accelerated metabolism of the average Space Marine, the victory criteria is reversed: The winner is the first person to get drunk (Which generally involves more alcohol than a normal human could drink in a month... and live).

    Video Games 
  • In Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, one of the things Guybrush has to do is to win one of these, and he does it by switching grog for near-grog, which doesn't have any alcohol.
  • Usually in any fantasy RPG Game featuring Dwarves.
    • Neverwinter Nights
    • Baldur's Gate
    • The Witcher has these frequently. The twist is, each opponent has a set number of drinks he can handle, whereas Geralt is affected by the drinks' potency. Thus, it's wise to stock up on beer, the weakest drink in the game, before trying your luck (and to have a dose of Wives' Tears potion handy to clear your head afterwards).
    • In Icewind Dale 2 you can have a drinking game with a human barbarian during act 1 to win his wolf's head totem, but he won't compete with a dwarf so you have to use a non-dwarven player character to duel him.
  • Chrono Trigger has two of these, censored to soda and soup respectively in the original SNES release. One is a side game in the Millennial Fair, where Crono simply has to drink as much as he can in an effort to win some Silver Points, while the other is plot-related, when he has to out-drink Ayla to win the Dreamstone. For the latter the game will take pity on you if you fail enough times; Ayla gets so hammered that she passes out, and gives you the Dreamstone because, hey, you drank as much as she did and you stayed conscious.
  • In Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, one of the missions in the Outback involves a lemonade-drinking contest between Sly, Murray and Bentley and the miners they're battling, After you win, it leads to a bar fight because "that turtle spilled more than he drank!"
  • Temple Of Elemental Evil has one in the Homlet Tavern, winning allows you to loot the KOed losers for some starting equipment. Any party member (even if they aren't the Paladin) participating when a Paladin is in the party makes them fall.
  • One of the adventures in Kingdom of Loathing is a drinking game. You can win by out-drinking your contestants, cheating, or teleporting your drinks into your opponents' stomachs.
  • Harvest Moon 64 has a drinking contest. In fact to marry one of the bachelorettes you need to beat her in the contest. It's harder than it sounds.
    • For extra fun, it's possible to out-drink everyone in town in a single contest.
  • You have to win one against the Abbott in Conquests of the Longbow, and you can only out-drink him with the aid of magic. Those are some hard-drinking monks.
  • Sunset Over Imdahl deconstructs this. Even if the Kid Hero wins the contest, his light body weight causes him to pass out just outside the inn, and his winnings are stolen.
  • In Gothic II, a character holds a drinking contest in a wilderness tavern. It is rigged; but nothing prevents you from rigging it another way!
  • A variant with a Masochist's Meal is in Jade Empire. The Lethal Chef asks your character if s/he can stand up to three of their most revolting dishes. The reward (a boost to your persuasion skills) is pretty nice.
  • One minigame in Ephemeral Fantasia is a drinking contest. The key to winning is to mix the drinks the player drinks to be as low-proof as possible, while mixing the opponent's drinks to be as powerful as possible.
  • Recruiting Cass in Fallout: New Vegas normally requires a Speech check to convince her to sell her caravan, but if your Barter skill is high enough you can settle the matter with a dozen bottles of whiskey. This actually boasts the most dialogue options and voice acting for a single conversation in the entire game, given that Cass' reactions and your responses depend on your Endurance score.
  • In Mass Effect 3's Citadel DLC, your shore leave meeting with Ashley Williams involves a drinking contest with her. Sadly, very little about the situation changes if you're in a romance with her.
  • In Quest For Infamy, Roehm must win one of these to able to start on the Brigand quest-line.

    Webcomics 
  • In this Girls with Slingshots strip, "...just one drink..." turns into an impromptu drinking contest and the prize.... a free beer.

    Western Animation 
  • Family Guy does this. It's how Peter convinces his real Irish father that he's his son.
  • In Futurama it is mentioned that Bender and the ship's auto pilot engaged in a martini drinking contest.
    • Bender claims that the (probably) fictional robot holiday of "Robanzaa" takes the form of a drinking contest.
    • Keep in mind that early in the series, Bender notes that robots run on alcohol, so for them, it would also be an eating contest.
  • An episode of Codename: Kids Next Door has Numbah Five challenging Stickybeard to a sugar drinking contest in exchange for information ("Unless you're...sugar free!" "Oooooh!"). They compete to see who can drink theirs fastest, but Numbah Five finishes hers in the time it takes him to blink. Later, she challenges Black John Licorice to a contest to see who can drink the most, but John outmatches her easily. However, the contest was only a stalling tactic to wait until the sun came up, causing John's curse to take effect and turn him into black licorice.

    Real Life 
  • At one time a Russian agent was ordered to challenge a Turkish official to a drinking contest in order to get information out of him when drunk. Despite the fact that the Russian knew his employers were unforgiving it was the Turk that won and got information out of him. This was kind of an alcoholic Duel to the Death.

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