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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 Badass, 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.

Examples of Quick Nip include:

Anime & 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.

Comic Books

  • 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.


  • In Charade, when Bartholomew is introduced, he is rubbing dry-cleaning solution into his tie as he talks to Reggie. When he finishes, he gives the rag a quick sniff, stuffs it in his pocket, and keeps talking as though nothing had happened. In retrospect, she should've known he was no good.
  • Clive Owen's character from the movie Children of Men has a small bottle of whiskey that he keeps on his person. He stands on the street and dumps a slug of it into his coffee before going to work, and no one seems to notice.
  • Sky Captain (played by Jude Law) from Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow (2004). In a subversion, he's actually drinking Milk of Magnesia for his stomach ulcer.
  • Dr. Einstein in Arsenic and Old Lace.
  • Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver.
  • Jayne takes a drink like this at least once in Serenity.
  • In Unforgiven, William Munny takes a drink of whiskey just before going in to fight the assembled lawmen in the saloon. This was probably to demonstrate a return to the lawbreaking ways he followed before marrying his late wife, who had convinced him to give up alcohol.
  • The second thing Eddie Valiant does after his first appearance in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is take a swig of Wild Turkey.
  • In Reign of Fire, Gideon has one of these that he carries around and drinks from for most of the movie. It's subverted near the end when he gives the protagonist a drink.

"Hey, this is just water!"

  • Ghostbusters. After they're thrown out of their university laboratory, Peter Venkman tries to sell Ray Stanz on the idea of going into business for themselves. While talking, both of them take a drink out of a bottle of an alcoholic beverage.
  • The dance instructor in Shall We Dance takes sips from a flask during classes as a sign she considers the numbskulls she is teaching to dance something she needs a shot of whiskey to get through. Eventually the class grows better at dancing and become friends and she has a moment where she goes to take a sip, shrugs, and puts it away untouched.
  • The Comedian drinks from a flask at least once during the Watchmen movie adaptation.
    • Although it is commented on in this case; another character suggests that maybe there should be a rule about drinking at meetings. The Comedian just laughs.
  • In Empire Records, Corey occasionally pops a pill when under stress, which turn out to be speed, hence her ability to stay up studying and making cupcakes and so on. However, later in the film Gina confronts her over it.
  • One of the passengers -a cook- in Titanic as it goes down does this as he and the protagonists hang on for dear life on the upturned bow of the ship. Considering his position, it'd probably be his last chance to do so.
    • It wasn't. In reality, his decision to swill brandy as the ship went down ended up saving his life.
  • In Cheech and Chong's Up in Smoke, during their trial for possession, Man is severely messed up, due to trying to eat the evidence. Despite the judge's protests, Pedro goes up to get him a glass of water from her pitcher. Man takes a swig, then spits it out, and says, "It's fucking vodka!"
  • Toyed with in Back to The Future. Before asking Lorraine to the dance, George McFly orders, "Lou... give me a milk. Chocolate." He takes one swig, then goes to try his luck.
  • The main character in Bad Lieutenant Port of Call New Orleans does this all the time. In one scene, he pauses from interviewing a suspect to light up a joint...with almost his entire squad sitting on the other side of a closed door.


  • 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.)
  • 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 TrouserKnicker Space.
  • 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 painkillers even while diagnosing patients.
  • 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 Beauty and the Beast (1991 film) 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • In Doctor Who, 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 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.

Tabletop Games

  • 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.

Video Games

  • In 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.
  • Auron, although being dead, it probably doesn't have an effect on him.
    • Well, he's still affected by potions and such...
  • Edward Roivas starts with a flask of "liquid courage" in his inventory; quick nips raise his sanity.
  • 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.

Western Animation

Web Comics

  • 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.

Web Original

  • Qrow Branwen of RWBY never goes anywhere without his flask, and is likely to take a swig from it in the most inappropriate of places — like a meeting with government officials.