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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 chemical substance with both intoxicating and medicinal properties. Its usage in both areas has long been established in both Muggle and wizarding societies. Use of alcohol can lower inhibitions and give one a pleasant feeling, but overuse can result in impaired judgment, referred to as "being drunk," and continued addictive use may result in alcoholism. 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.[1] 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."[2] 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."[3] Professor Trelawney was known to drink sherry when frustrated or angry and became increasingly tipsy and giggly upon doing so.[4]

Beverages containing alcoholic content are often served at inns such as the Three Broomsticks Inn or the Hog's Head Inn. Beverages with heavy alcohol are usually restricted to wizards that are "of age," that is, seventeen or older.

Alcohol has a particularly pronounced effect on house-elves, such that even butterbeer is enough to get them drunk.[5]

Alcohol is regulated in magical society by the Department of Intoxicating Substances and licensed by the Licensing Wizengamot of Great Britain.

Alcohol is used medicinally in potions as part of Elixir 7 and Pepperup Elixir. A tincture is a type of medicine preserved in alcohol.

Alcohol is used recreationally in the following beverages:


Notes and references

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

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