A character ingests intoxicants — usually, but not always, alcohol from a hip flask — casually, without interrupting whatever else he's doing, without commenting on it, and sometimes without drawing comment from other characters.
This versatile bit of business turns up in both comedy and drama and, depending on context, can say any number of things about a character. It may be used to portray him as pathetically dependent
; or, conversely, to establish him as a low-grade Bad Ass
, Immune to Drugs
; or, if it's not habitual, to emphasize that he's under unusual stress
. Or the focus may be on the other characters' lack of reaction: they know this guy so well, they're used to it.
In Blacksmith Scene
, the first film ever, the characters share a beer before getting back to work, making this Older than Television
Contrast Bottled Heroic Resolve
. May be prone to declaring "No More for Me
" on seeing something too weird to handle. See also Drinking On Duty
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Anime and Manga
- In the second season of Darker Than Black, perhaps because she's become freelance, April has replaced her former can of beer with a more quickly accessible drink from a hip flask. Hei also is shown drinking from a hip flask, although in his case, it seems to indicate that he's become an alcoholic, another manifestation, along with Wild Hair and Perma Stubble that he's gone through a lot since the Time Skip.
- Attack on Titan: Dot Pixis' tendency to regularly reach for his pocket flask during important conversations is one of his Character Tics, and one of those little quirks that make him the Bunny-Ears Lawyer that he is.
- Ralph Dibny slowly descends into alcoholism and madness in 52 as he tries to revive his murdered wife Sue. Throughout the series he takes quick nips from a hip flask. It's all an act to fool Felix Faust. The flask is actually filled with Gingold, the extract that grants Dibny his stretching powers.
- Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody in the Harry Potter series is well known for drinking only from a flask (of juice, mind) he carries at his hip. This is a result of Moody's paranoia and fear of attack resulting from a long, enemy-gaining career as an Auror. (In Goblet of Fire Barty Crouch Jr. used this quirk of Moody's to full advantage, filling the flask with the potion that allowed him to assume Moody's appearance and drinking it once an hour to maintain the effects.) They neglect to mention the motivation behind always drinking from a flask in the movie version, making him look like an insane alcoholic instead.
- In Mike Carey's The Devil You Know, this is how the murderer is found.
- Discworld's Nanny Ogg keeps her hipflask hidden away in
- In Joe Abercrombie's Best Served Cold, Nicomo Cosca, an alcoholic, tries for a long time to do this and later does once he becomes Captain General of the Thousand Swords again.
Live Action TV
- House has been known to pop Vicodin while diagnosing patients. Justified by it being prescription medication for chronic pain that he needs to take at somewhat regular intervals.
- Mason, a Reaper from Dead Like Me, carried a hipflask with alcohol, except during that time when he actually was off the drugs and booze. (He got back on the booze at the start of the second season after he had to reap a family father during the man's daughter's birthday party, but tried to keep it a secret from the others.)
- TNA wrestler ODB brings a hip flask with her to the ring, and takes a nip from it just before the match starts. She'll take another nip just before making her big face comeback at the end of the match.
- In Los Simuladores' Mexican remake (a show about people who make a living pulling Batman Gambits to help people), Maximo Santana once cleverly posed as an antiacid guzzler in order to leave the place by faking a terrible reflux once he runs out of "antiacid".
- Oliver does this in the first episode of Slings and Arrows.
- Whenever Hawkeye Pierce of Mash isn't up to his elbows in somebody's gut (or using both hands to carry out this episode's Zany Scheme), there's a fifty percent chance that he's carrying around a Martini Glass.
- Mrs. Slocombe of Are You Being Served? often sips from a hip flask behind the counter.
- The Wire: Jimmy McNulty, whenever he gets really attached to a case. Or just makes one up.
- In Life On Mars Gene Hunt keeps alcohol in his office and regularly drinks from a hip flask. Lampshaded when he gets shot and pulls a dented flask from his coat to demonstrate why he's unhurt; a relieved Sam asks rhetorically, "What are the chances?" and Gene replies, "Pretty good, actually," as he pulls out several more flasks.
- On A Bit of Fry and Laurie, the characters John and Peter are perpetually discussing some kind of unspecified business crisis in their boardroom, shouting, swearing, cursing their Arch-Enemy Marjorie... and drinking. They refill their glasses over and over in a five-minute sketch; they slam them dramatically onto hard surfaces; they make huge gestures that result in liquid flung across the room (which probably explains some of the refilling); once, John says a line that ends with wordless liquid burbling because he decided to take a sip while he was still talking.
- Gossip Girl: Chuck Bass frequently does this, on occasion with flasks.
- A subversion in an episode of Veronica Mars features a poker game where one of the players periodically takes a swig from a bottle of Jack Daniels he keeps with him. Later in the same episode, Veronica (a very small blonde teenager, and the ex-girlfriend of the player in question) grabs the bottle and takes a long draw, much to the shock of everybody present. She then remarks on his abysmally low alcohol tolerance, and explains that the bottle contains tea.
- On The Big Bang Theory, Rajesh takes a nip from a flask. When the others notice, he explains that it's cough syrup (he was nursing a cold at the time), which he finds just as effective as liquor.
- The Colbert Report: Stephen Colbert does so in this segment (towards the end).
- A frequent habit of Colonel Tigh in the Battlestar Galactica remake. Even while on duty.
- Spike occasionally does this on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- Dean Winchester from Supernatural in "Houses of the Holy" and through most of season 7.
- Doctor Who: In "Planet of the Ood", Klineman Halpen kept taking quick nips, which was commented on by others. He explained that it was "hair tonic". He believed it was hair tonic, but instead it turned him into an Ood, one of the very aliens he had enslaved.
- In an episode of Good Eats that was about meat pie (and parodied Sweeney Todd of all things!), "Mrs. Lovett" asks for "a quick nip" from a flask produced by Alton. He hands it to her, and she takes a swig...only to spit it out. It turns out the substance in the flask is Worcestershire sauce.
- ODB is known to struggle as hard for another sip from her flask as she is for another pin fall attempt against her opponents, especially in TNA.
- In Feng Shui, the iconic Renegade Cop character was a hard drinker who was kicked off the force. He was found drinking himself to death in a gutter, but was recruited into the heroic Dragons and given purpose to rebuild his life. He was notable for his hip flask that he would still take a swig from even in a gunfight with zombies from the future. After his death, a friend found his hip flask and tried to take a drink from it, only to find it was filled with water, and had been for a long time.
- In William Gilette's Sherlock Holmes play, Holmes, while talking to Watson (in fact, finishing up a Sherlock Scan), produces a syringe, fills it with his beloved seven percent solution of cocaine and injects it into his left arm. As in "The Sign of the Four", Watson eventually grows embarrassed enough about Holmes's habit to ask about it, and Holmes suggests to Watson that he try it himself.
- Dr. Einstein in Arsenic and Old Lace is constantly reaching for his hip flask.
- At the top of Act Two of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mrs. Teavee — who has previously admitted that dealing with her Enfant Terrible son Mike requires her to "pour a shot of 'Mommy Water'" for herself each day — pulls a hip flask from her purse as he runs amok amongst the other members of the Golden Ticket tour group to attempt this. But Willy Wonka notices and tells her that there's to be no alcohol on the tour; she tells him that the flask contains "homemade lemonade". After sampling it, he gives the flask back to her and says "You must give me the recipe!"
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney:
- Detective Marshall regularly takes swigs from his hip-flask to punctuate his speech.
- Godot and his coffee don't really seem to apply to this trope, at least until you learn exactly why he drinks so much.
- Final Fantasy X: Auron, although being dead, it probably doesn't have an effect on him.
- Eternal Darkness: Edward Roivas starts with a flask of "liquid courage" in his inventory; quick nips raise his sanity. (That's right, getting drunk makes him more sane.)
- In Batman: Arkham Asylum, Officer Boles is seen taking a nip from a flask as Joker is taken to his cell. This turns out to be important later.
- In Team Fortress 2, the scout and his crit-o/Bonk cola seems to be like this. While it is important, he only takes a quick second to drink it. The demoman will also do this with his bottle, and some other things like a frying pan, so you wonder if he really just gets drunk by breathing.
- Or he might just already be so staggeringly drunk that he thinks he's drinking from a bottle, not a frying pan.
- Fallout: New Vegas has the DLC item, the Vault 13 canteen. While in the player's inventory, the Courier will take periodic swigs from it. Possibly subverted, because it contains plain-old water, which, in Hardcore mode, helps slow down the effects of dehydration.
- Oghren, the party berserker from Dragon Age: Origins, has, as his special equip item, "One for the ditch" - a canteen filled with a liquid that, per the description, smells foul - as does Oghren, on occasion.
- No matter what he's doing, as long as he's in a semi-private place (like his office), Sanderson of Something*Positive is always, always seen with whiskey in his hand. Davan can sometimes be seen with a hip flask, which he once left unattended for several months, leading to his roommate, father, and foster sister accidentally mixing him a Gargle Blaster.
- Subverted in Three Panel Soul. Ian gets a hip flask just to fill it with Tic-Tacs.