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"I'm sorry. I saw what looked like beer, and my mind just... took me to Drunk Town."
—Deputy Clementine Johnson, Reno 911!
Wallowing in misery at a bar isn't exclusive to realist and noir works, even the Wide-Eyed Idealist in a Sugar Bowl can drown his sorrows... Thing is though, he does it with milk, malts, root beer, soda or odder fare. Despite the beverage being non-alcoholic and in fact being loaded with sugar and stimulants, for some reason rather than make him hyper, the drink makes him act drunk and melancholy. In the case of aliens and other nonhumans, this could be the result of Bizarre Alien Biology.
If the drinker has had a tiny amount of actual alcohol, it's Can't Hold His Liquor. If the drinker thinks that he's drinking real alcohol and getting drunk on the placebo effect, it's Fake High. Not to be confused with Frothy Mugs of Water, a type of censorship where words and imagery pertaining to alcohol are edited out.
Anime and Manga
- Misaki in Futaba Kun Change drinks steins of honey: not mead (fermented honey), actual beer steins of honey. This plays into her inhuman Sweet Tooth — the girl eats so many sweets that the swim team she's a member of doesn't know how to swim in normal water, since the pool water she swims in turns to sugar water.
- Lum and Ten from Urusei Yatsura wreak havoc when they get extremely drunk on umeboshi (pickled plums, usually regarded as a hangover cure). It turns out that alcohol actually cures them of being drunk, though all this is somewhat justfied by Bizarre Alien Biology.
- Belldandy from Ah! My Goddess can guzzle down hard liquor like water without even getting tipsy, but one can of soda and she's plastered. What gets a goddess drunk varies for each goddess: Belldandy's sister Urd can only get drunk off of saké.
- In Kogepan the breads get drunk off of milk.
- From Sora no Otoshimono Tomoki and Sohara hilariously get drunk on soda when Ikaros lies to them. Suguta mentions that they need to take care of themselves if they can get drunk on cola.
- Hatchin from Michiko to Hatchin manages to get drunk from juice.
- This was lampshaded by Michiko.
Michiko: Are you actually getting drunk off of orange juice?
- Lizzie from Seikon no Qwaser can get drunk from soda.
- Carbonated beverages get Mermaids drunk in the manga version of Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch. This happens to Lucia while trying to take care of a sick Kaito. In the anime, it's replaced with a magic MacGuffin mood changer that goes haywire.
- Panyo Panyo Di Gi Charat has "Inspector Holic" who gets drunk on orange juice!
- Vamp from Tentai Senshi Sunred drowns his sorrows in Coke. He's a mean 'drunk', too.
- Invoked in a Christmas-themed title page for CLAMP School Detectives, where Akira and Nokoru appear tipsy from "carbonated champagne" without alcohol.
- In one episode of Hanasaku Iroha Ohana gets completely drunk from drinking soda.
- Akikan's Najimi gets drunk off something carbonated. She also gets a lot more honest and ends up Kissing Under the Influence.
- Plant Aliens Celine of To Love Ru gets drunk from drinking cola.
- Kisaragi from GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class can even get drunk on grape soda if she hasn't had sugar in a while.
- An odd variation is Charlie Brown from Peanuts, who drowns his sorrows in haircuts.
- Another from Peanuts: When Snoopy is the World War I flying ace, he sometimes drowns his sorrows in root beer.
- Obelix in Asterix sometimes drinks alcohol (Asterix and the Laurel Wreath, for example), but when he and Asterix disagree over the newcomer to the village who's opened a tavern in Asterix and Caesar's Gift, he heads straight to the tavern and orders a goat's milk. Getafix comments "If he's drowning his sorrows in goat's milk, he must have had a fight with Asterix".
- A non-Drowning My Sorrows Lampshading in one issue of The Avengers: Beast, Wonder Man, Scarlet Witch and Vision are having a night out together, and Beast declares they're going to get "good and sauced". When the waitress points out they've ordered virgin pina coladas, Hank replies "But we've got great imaginations!"
- In Iron Man #178, the opening story shows a kid cosplaying as the eponymous hero getting expelled from a group of kids pretending to be the Avengers, and subsequently drowning his sorrows on soda. It's a Breather Episode for the depressing "Tragic Tony Stark" storyline that was going on at the time. You can read it here.
- In one of the early, pre-Isodoro Patoruzu strips, Patoruzu goes with Julian de Monte Pio for a night in town, and passes out after only two glasses of champagne. Worse, Julian then reveals that the "champagne" was just apple soda.
- Inverted in the second Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire story:
Woman from Galactic Temperance society: Surely you don't think I'll be letting you drink alcohol.
- The Old West cliche of the gunslinger going into the bar and ordering sasparilla/sarsparilla. (Also, possibly, Getting Crap Past the Radar, since sasparilla was used to treat syphilis)
- In Miss Congeniality, we see the heroine ordering a pint of something at the bar. The bartender asks whether she really wants that much. It then turns out to be a pint of ice cream. She even refers to it as getting "chip-faced" (it has chocolate chips).
- In Bye Bye Birdie, after failing to get drunk at a bar, the underage Hugo reappears in the next scene, soused. When asked what he's been drinking, he responds "Milk... but it worked."
- In Death to Smoochy, Sheldon laments the lack of control over his show by sitting at the bar, a bit drunkenly talking about old kid show hosts... while drinking orange juice.
- In Alien Nation, the Newcomers get drunk off spoiled milk. Both the lactic acid in the fermented milk and alcohol are both produced by anaerobic digestion.
- There's a film about a kung fu fighting toddler who gets drunk on milk.
- In A Clockwork Orange, Alex and his violent droogs are first seen with glasses of milk in their hands at their favorite hangout, the Korova Milk Bar. Alex's narration is quick to point out, however, that the milk is laced with various psychotropic drugs to "sharpen you up for a bit of the old ultraviolence."
- The Further Adventures of Dr A.A.A. McGurk M.D. by Osmar White, opens with a depessed Dr McGurk drowing his sorrows in malted milk at the Explorer's Club. When he comes up with the idea of seeking the Pole of Impossibility (somewhere in the Antarctic) by camel, the other explorers comment "You've put too much malt in your milk."
- In Men At Arms, the Watch all Need A Freaking Drink after finding the first victim of the gonne. Three of the six have beer, Nobby has an Umbrella Drink, Detritus has a molten sulpher (because the heat affects troll brains) ... and Carrot has a glass of milk.
- Harry Potter: Winky the House Elf gets drunk on butterbeer, a non- (or very low-) alcoholic beverage usually drunk by underaged wizards without any intoxicating effect.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, the Dothraki use fermented horse milk to get drunk.
- Used by Dolphus Raymond in To Kill a Mockingbird who plays the town drunk, swigging from a bottle of Coca-Cola in a paper bag, as a convenient excuse to keep the bigoted townspeople from harassing his family for his marriage to a black woman.
Live Action TV
- In Babylon 5, Vir can be seen drowning his sorrows with a Shirley Temple, a nonalcoholic children's cocktail.
- One episode of Reno 911! has Clementine get drunk from drinking at Kimball's Christian singles mixer what is revealed to be non-alcoholic beer.
- Eureka has this exchange between Zoe and Vincent, which is then followed by a standard sympathetic-bartender conversation:
Zoe: Hit me.
- She's drinking milkshakes.
- Mork of Mork and Mindy gets drunk quickly on ginger ale.
- In an episode of Night Court, when Christine and Roz go to a bar, Christine drinks Roz' signature drink. Typically, Christine makes an ass of herself. Later when she asks "What was in those things?" it turns out it was pineapple juice and soda water.
- In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode Gamera vs. Zigra Joel and the bots throw a root beer kegger--and get just as drunk as they would drinking real alcohol.
- In one episode of Bottom, Richie needs a quick shot of booze to settle his nerves. Eddie gives him a shot of Tizer (a soft drink), which does the trick anyway.
- In an episode of Murphy Brown, Miles gets "drunk" off of punch that he assumes must be full of alcohol. There wasn't a drop of anything remotely alcoholic in that punch.
- A pub sketch from A Bit of Fry and Laurie has Hugh go off on a long series of inebriated complaints about his wife after having several glasses of ribena.
- Simon from Prozzak drowns his sorrows in milkshakes.
- Gorman does this and lampshades it in Majora's Mask.
- Although it's not completely a straight example. The Japanese version of the game describes the best-quality milk sold as "milk mixed with magic liquor".
- In Phantom Hourglass, there's a milk bar on Mercay Island, where your adventure begins. Try to order something, and the bartender says Link is too young to drink there.
- Several of the protagonists of Persona 4 get drunk off of non-alcoholic beverages they get at a night club. Unusually, they were just hanging out, with no implications of drowning sorrows- they just happened to get drunk off of regular fruit drinks. It's only Yukiko, Rise and Teddie (the last of whom isn't human and could very well actually get drunk off nonalcoholic drinks) who get hammered, while everyone else is perfectly sober and wondering what happened to them. Even better, the sloshed ones don't know the drinks aren't alcoholic until after they're drunk, and in-story the others speculated that it's either a placebo effect or a result of "the atmosphere."
- This also happens in the Anime of the Game, except the main character also gets hit by the effects.
- Happens with Pepsi in this VG Cats comic.
- Happens on multiple occasions with orange soda in Housepets
- Narbonic's Dave Davenport can get stone drunk on half a glass of vanilla Coke. (And pathos.)
- Robin of Shortpacked (a sugar-powered super speedster) apparently drowns her sorrows by drinking Hi-C and getting on those 25¢ animal-or-vehicle-moves-back-and-forth-for-a-couple-of-minutes rides outside stores.
- New Year's gets a new spin in this Life in the Analog Age comic.
- In Questionable Content, Raven once told a story about getting drunk on eleven Shirley Temples. She is then informed that said drink is non-alcoholic.
Raven: Really? Well, there goes my excuse for dancing topless on the coffee table and making out with some random girl, then.
- In one Arthur, King of Time and Space strip manic-depressive teetotaller Lancelot stops at a tavern and orders a milk. "And leave the bottle."
- In Captain S, the titular captain drowns his sorrows in milkshakes after losing his powers and failing to save videoland, complete with bartender cutting him off.
- RandomVerse Spider-Man gets plastered on milkshakes. The first time it's done straight, but ever since then the Hulk and Iron Man have been drugging his milkshakes to get wacky movie-trailer related hallucinations for their own entertainment.
- The Strong Bad e-mail personal favorites finds Strongbad remembering a time where he "drank a glass of soy sauce and thought [he] could fly Bubs' Concession Stand."
- In the same e-mail, The Cheat also gets drunk on soy sauce and tries to eat Bubs' Concession Stand.
- Another e-mail has Strong Bad performing a science experiment of the effects of caffeine on Strong Sad. So he slips a spoonful of Sanka — instant decaf — into Strong Sad's orange juice, and Strong Sad instantly goes into a caffeinated blitz.
- An artist by the name of Liednar draws mystical animal characters who can become drunk off of SODA. The reason? The mystic animals can't handle the carbonation of the drink. Hilarity ensues!
- The Nostalgia Critic does this at one point to spoof the pointlessness of the bar scene in Jack. He goes through the standard I'll Tell You When I've Had Enough! conversation, spanks a stuffed monkey and then apologizes to it, declaring it his best friend, and then bemoans having drunk the 2%.
- Vernon from the 1987 version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles gets drunk on root beer floats. Phelous theorized that they are spiked with rum.
- In one episode of Adventures in Care-a-Lot, Love-a-Lot, bummed out because Cheer apparently forgot her birthday, drowns her sorrows with cups of hot chocolate. After her fourth cup, Funshine asks her if she's had enough.
- In The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, SpongeBob drowns his sorrows on ice-cream floats at Goofy Goobers. He goes on a bender and wakes up the next morning with a hangover.
- Much like the explanation for the Vernon example above, several people explained it as the ice cream floats having rum raisings.
- He also passes out from a glass of milk in another episode. (Well actually, this was his "ancestor".)
- On Arthur, Buster has drowned his sorrows in chocolate shakes on more than one occasion.
- K'nuckles gets drunk on maple syrup. At least, that's what the label on the bottle says...
- The Veggie Tales episode "Silly Singalong 2: The End of Silliness?" opens with Larry, distraught over the cancellation of "Silly Songs with Larry", drowning his sorrows in ice cream. Then he gets a nasty ice cream headache.
- In one old Tom and Jerry short, "Blue Cat Blues", Tom goes on a milk binge when depressed.
- In an episode of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Mac is depressed and goes to an ice cream shop and orders a sundae. However, being one of those kids who's not allowed to have sugar, he goes completely drunk (a la Spongebob) and has even more ice cream. He leaves with a hangover.
- An episode of Freakazoid had his then-sidekick hospitalized with a minor injury. Freakazoid proceeded to drown his sorrows in papaya smoothies.
Freakazoid: Pour me another one.
- Happened to Homer Simpson in "Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming". He thought the air force base served cups of free beer only to reveal to be alcohol free beer for $6. He appears drunk (possibly hysteria) when the cashier charge sums up.
- In another episode, Bart and Milhouse buy a Squishy that is all syrup, and proceed to get "drunk" from the extreme sugar rush. Bart wakes up the next morning with a hangover, and discovers to his horror that he joined the Junior Campers (Boy Scout expies) during their binge. His sister offers No Sympathy.
Lisa: <tsk, tsk, tsk> The remorse of the sugar junkie.
- In the same episode, Milhouse (who also drank that same Squishy with Bart) woke up with a profanity tattooed on the back of his head.
- Somehow, in another episode detailing the life of Lisa's Saxaphone Mentor, Bleeding Gums Murphy, we find that he spent all of his earnings from his one record on Fabergé Eggs, which is treated like an addiction to alcohol, complete with him telling the man at the store "I'll tell you when I've had enough!".
- When Homer and Barney join NASA, Barney excels while sober but becomes instantly drunk with a single glass of non-alcoholic champagne.
- They don't get visibly drunk from it, but when the Swat Kats throw themselves down on the sofa and pop open a couple of cans of condensed milk (being, after all, cats), the certainly treat it as if they are about to down a few brewskis.
- On Home Movies, Jason acts like an angry problem drinker when he binges on candy.
- In the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode "The Best Night Ever", Spike is feeling left out after his friends split up at the Grand Galloping Gala, and near the end of the episode he's seen drowning his sorrows... in donuts and hot chocolate.
Spike: Hey, Pony Joe, another donut.
- In "Over a Barrel" we see a pony who's had a few too many salt licks...
- Taken to an extreme on Codename: Kids Next Door where Sodas and Root Beer is treated as if it was an alcoholic beverage, even sporting an legal drinking age of 13.
- Gumby may be the Ur Example, if not the Trope Maker. The little clay boy falls off the milkshake wagon more than once; since he's made of clay, the icy cold confections leave him stiff as a board if he overindulges. "You know what happens if you drink too much ..."
- In an episode of Clone High, all of the students get drunk at a party by drinking non-alcoholic beer.
- In an episode of Rocko's Modern Life, Heffer finds out that he was adopted, and goes off in search of his real father (who turns out to be a real Jerkass). He finds himself at a diner (clearly a Shout-Out to the famous "Night Hawks" painting), and orders tons of food. (Again complete with telling the man behind the counter, I'll Tell You When I've Had Enough!.)
- In another episode, Rocko and Heffer take Filbert to an ice cream parlor for his bachelor party...and wind up with an ice cream hangover (and only minutes to spare to get to the wedding.)
- Subverted in the Hey Arnold movie. When Arnold and Gerald follow the bad guy's goons into a place that says Must Be 21 to Enter, they're drinking a milk in what appears to be a vodka bottle.
- In episode 5 of The Legend of Korra, Bolin gets "drunk" on noodles after he sees Korra kiss Mako and gets very sad. The next day he acts hungover. Many fans like to think there was some alcohol just offscreen.
- Oil is treated this way in Transformers Animated: the Constructicons (as construction worker stereotypes) treat it like brewskis, Megatron sips "fine vintages" of the stuff from a goblet (made from a crushed oil drum), and the Autobots even indulge in festive Christmas "oil nog."
- We have an example of this in the episode In Like Flint from Oban Star-Racers. Even though she won the rematch against Grooor, Don Wei said her manner of racing had disgraced the team and they would be dropping out. Molly ran out and the next we see her, she's at the local bar with four empty drink pouches sitting in front of her.
Molly: Another grenadine milk! Pronto!