20 Useful Drinking Idioms, Phrases and Sayings

Last Updated on November 21, 2023

We all know that language can be both colorful and creative, especially when it comes to idiomatic expressions. Drinking idioms are no exception, and they can be quite entertaining as well as informative. These amusing phrases often have culturally rooted meanings that can reveal a lot about how societies view and enjoy their favorite beverages. In this article, we’ll explore the fascinating world of drinking idioms, where language and libations come together in ways you might not expect.

List of Idiomatic Expressions about Drinking

  • (See the) Glass (as) Half Empty/Half Full
  • 110 Proof
  • Amber Nectar
  • Back Burner (On The)
  • Bend an Elbow
  • Champagne taste on a beer budget
  • Do 12-Ounce Curls
  • Drink the Kool-Aid
  • Dutch Courage
  • Go Cold Turkey
  • Hair of the Dog (That Bit You)
  • Hold One’s Liquor
  • In His Cups
  • On the Wagon
  • One for the Road
  • Paint the Town Red
  • Wet Your Whistle
  • Spill the beans
  • Under the table
  • Tapped out
  • Sober as a judge
  • Three sheets to the wind

Drinking Idioms, Phrases and Sayings | Image

15+ Useful Drinking Idioms with Meaning and ExamplesPin

Drinking Idioms with Meaning 

Idiom Meaning
(See the) Glass (as) Half Empty/Half Full To be pessimistic (half empty) or optimistic (half full) about a situation.
110 Proof Refers to very strong alcohol; also used to describe something that’s undeniably true.
Amber Nectar Beer, often used humorously or affectionately.
Back Burner (On The) To put something on hold or to reduce the level of attention given to it.
Bend an Elbow To drink alcohol, usually in a social setting.
Champagne taste on a beer budget Expensive or extravagant tastes or preferences that are beyond one’s financial means.
Do 12-Ounce Curls To drink beer, usually humorously referring to the action as a form of exercise.
Drink the Kool-Aid To blindly follow or believe in something, often without questioning it.
Dutch Courage The false sense of confidence gained from consuming alcohol.
Go Cold Turkey To abruptly stop a habit or addiction without tapering off.
Hair of the Dog (That Bit You) Consuming alcohol with the belief that it will help cure a hangover.
Hold One’s Liquor To be able to drink alcohol without becoming obviously intoxicated.
In His Cups To be drunk.
On the Wagon To abstain from drinking alcohol, especially if one has had problems with alcohol before.
One for the Road A final drink before leaving a place.
Paint the Town Red To go out and enjoy oneself flamboyantly, to engage in a wild spree.
Wet Your Whistle To take a drink, especially a first drink.
Spill the beans To reveal secret information or to confess something.
Under the table In secret or illegally; often referring to payments made secretly.
Tapped out Having no more money; financially depleted. Also, to be physically or mentally exhausted.
Sober as a judge To be very sober, clear-headed, or serious.
Three sheets to the wind To be very drunk or inebriated.

Drinking Idioms with Examples

Idiom Example 
(See the) Glass (as) Half Empty/Half Full She’s an optimist and always sees the glass as half full, even in tough times.
110 Proof That homemade whiskey must be 110 proof because it’s so strong!
Amber Nectar After a long day of work, he likes to sit back and enjoy a glass of amber nectar.
Back Burner (On The) We’ve put the project on the back burner until we get the funding to proceed.
Bend an Elbow Let’s go bend an elbow at the bar to celebrate your promotion!
Champagne taste on a beer budget She has champagne taste on a beer budget, always eyeing things she can’t afford.
Do 12-Ounce Curls Instead of going to the gym, he joked that he’d rather do 12-ounce curls with his beer.
Drink the Kool-Aid They were so convinced by the company’s culture that they drank the Kool-Aid without question.
Dutch Courage He needed a bit of Dutch courage before he could face the stage and speak to the audience.
Go Cold Turkey She decided to quit smoking and go cold turkey rather than tapering off.
Hair of the Dog (That Bit You) He had a bit of the hair of the dog that bit him to recover from last night’s party.
Hold One’s Liquor He can hold his liquor well, never seeming to get tipsy no matter how much he drinks.
In His Cups After several rounds of drinks, he was quiet in his cups and couldn’t walk straight.
On the Wagon After years of heavy drinking, he’s on the wagon now.
One for the Road Before leaving the party, he grabbed one for the road.
Paint the Town Red They went out to paint the town red for her 30th birthday celebration.
Wet Your Whistle Come on in and wet your whistle with a refreshing lemonade on this hot day.
Spill the beans He finally spilled the beans about the surprise party they had been planning for weeks.
Under the table They agreed to a deal under the table to avoid taxes, which was clearly illegal.
Tapped out After paying all the bills, I’m completely tapped out until the next paycheck.
Sober as a judge Despite being at the bar all night, he remained sober as a judge, sticking to water.
Three sheets to the wind By midnight, he was three sheets to the wind and could barely stand straight.
 
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