Conservation and Butterbeer

Harry, Hermione and Ron have a conversation over butterbeer, a beverage with light alcoholic content

Hermione: "Those poor Muggles, though. What if they can't get them down?"
Ron: "They will. They'll find a way."
Hermione: "Mad, though, to do something like that when the whole Ministry of Magic's out here tonight! I mean, how do they expect to get away with it? Do you think they've been drinking, or are they just -"
— Exchange between Hermione and Ron[src]

Alcohol is a type of drink containing ethanol with both intoxicating and medicinal properties. Its usage and consumption in both areas has long been established in both Muggle and wizarding societies. Beverages containing alcoholic content are often served at inns such as the Three Broomsticks Inn or the Hog's Head Inn.


Consumption of alcohol can lower inhibitions and give one a pleasant feeling, but overuse can result in impaired judgement, poor physical coordination, slurred speech, trouble walking and vomiting, commonly referred to as "being drunk" or intoxicated, and continued addictive consumption may result in alcoholism. At large quantities, alcohol can be dangerous and even poisonous for the body. The beverage butterbeer may contain a slight alcoholic content and produces effects similar to intoxication in house-elves.[1]

Known drinkers

Alcohol is regulated in magical society by the Department of Intoxicating Substances and licenced by the Licensing Wizengamot of Great Britain. Beverages with heavy alcohol are usually restricted to wizards that are "of age", that is, seventeen or older.

Bilius may have been an alcoholic. Both Rubeus Hagrid and Mundungus Fletcher were fond of alcoholic beverages, though the former seemed generally more able to handle them responsibly than the latter, as Fletcher was often known to smell of stale drink, though this also likely had some influence from Hagrid's knowledge that he is far more dangerous when intoxicated than the average person due to his sheer size and generally impulsive behaviour. It was also likely rather difficult for Hagrid to become intoxicated due to his outrageous size, as the amount of alcohol it takes to become drunk is relative to a person's size.[2] This, however, did not stop Draco Malfoy from once trying to slander Hagrid by stating that he was "...a sort of savage - lives in a hut in the school grounds and every now and then he gets drunk, tries to do magic and ends up setting fire to his bed."[3] After realising that he had given up the secret of how to calm Fluffy to Quirinus Quirrell due to being under the influence of drink, Hagrid claimed that he would never drink again.[4] Horace Slughorn was known to enjoy drinking as well, and once quipped that he knew the Three Broomsticks "back when it was just the One Broomstick."[5] Professor Trelawney was known to drink sherry when frustrated or angry and became increasingly tipsy and giggly upon doing so.[6]

The house-elf Winky became a heavy drinker of butterbeer after her sacking by Bartemius Crouch Snr. The effects of the drink made her quite tipsy, prone to continuous states of hiccoughing, hysterical behaviour, and a general disinterest in maintaining her personal health and the state of her clothes. It is uncertain, however, whether this was due to alcoholic content.[1]


Alcohol is used as an ingredient in certain potions, such as Elixir 7 and the Pepperup Elixir. A tincture is a type of medicine preserved in alcohol.


Alcohol is used recreationally in the following beverages:


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 28 (The Madness of Mr Crouch)
  2. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 22 (St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries)
  3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 5 (Diagon Alley)
  4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 17 (The Man with Two Faces)
  5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
  6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 25 (The Seer Overheard)
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