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"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.
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 on in Saiyuki.
- 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 the Big Finish Doctor Who audio adventure Doctor Who and the Pirates, the Sixth Doctor gets into a drinking contest with Red Jasper's first mate Mr Merryweather before tricking him into walking the plank.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
Live Action TV
- In the Thirty 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 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..
- Modern Drunkard Magazine had a series in which prominent historical drunks were pitted against each other in an Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny drinking tournament. (Read it starting here.)
- 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.
Tabletop Games (?)
- Warhammer 40000: 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 contest. 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.
- 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.
- 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, 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 then 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.
- Family Guy does this. It's how Peter convinces his real Irish father that he's his son.
- Ulysses S. Griffin won the American Civil War by beating Robert E. Lee in a drinking contest.
- 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.
- 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.