The Wager Cup This silver cup originated in 16-century Germany was used at weddings. The cup took the shape of a woman with a wide skirt,but there was also another cup in the shape of a bowl the woman carried on her head, which swiveled to remain upright. During the feast the groom had to toast by drinking from the skirt cup without spilling from the pivoting bowl, from which the bride then had to drink.
Kottabos This was developed in 5th century BC and was popular at Greek drinking parties. It involved players drinking a lot of wine from a cup called a kylix and throwing the dregs at various targets. The kylix was wide but shallow, more similar to a bowl, with handles on each side.
Sumbel Heavy in Nordic tradition, Sumbel was regarded as a good way to bond. It was a social occasion where each person would make a 2 part toast: first to the gods, then to the heroes from legend, and lastly to their personal ancestors or friends who had died. They would then drink mead from a horn and pass it to the next person.
Buffalo Unlike the others, Buffalo requires a serious commitment. Once you agree to the Buffalo lifestyle, you become part of the “Buffalo Club.” Members must drink all alcoholic beverages with their non-dominant hand. If this is violated, other members shout “Buffalo!” and the offender has to chug. This allegedly originated in the Wild West, when gunslingers would prefer to keep their dominant hand free for shooting.
Jiuling Sometime around the Zhou Dynasty between 11th and 8th centuries BC, the simple game involved each player taking a turn to drink. During your turn you could tell a story or a joke, or have a contest where the loser would be the next to drink. Another form called literary Jiuling required participants to share riddles and idioms.
Sconcing The term was invented during the 17th century at Oxford University, and referred to a student misdemeanor. However, students adopted it as a drinking game. If you were ‘sconced’ for a breach in etiquette, you had to chug your beer until it was gone. Usually the senior scholar at the table could inflict a sconce on someone. Others could bring an offense about, but only if they spoke in ancient Greek or Latin.
Pitch-Pot It originated in ancient China and later spread to Japan, and involves throwing arrows into a pot. Players stand a set distance away from the pot and take turns throwing arrows. When a player scores an entry, the loser has to drink. Strict etiquette considers it polite to refuse to play not only the first time, but the second as well. Only on the third time is it okay to accept.
The Fuddling Cup First appearing in 17th-century England, the cup was made out of 3 or more cups clustered together and connected through hidden holes and tubes. The drinker would have to use all cups in a specific order so they wouldn’t spill everywhere.
Pennying Both Oxford and Cambridge lay claim to the origin, so origins are fuzzy. However, the game rules are clear: You have to sneak a penny into someones drink, and then they have to finish the whole thing to ‘save the drowning queen.’
Passatella This ancient Roman game required a minimum of 4 players, and the first thing to do was to determine a boss and an underboss. Once that happened, everyone chipped in to buy a round of drinks. Then, the boss offered drinks to all players he wished, but before they could drink they had to get permission from the underboss. Both the boss and the underboss could deny the players the drinks they paid for. They would also have to say why the drink was denied, which usually turned into drunken insults. This more often than not turned into a fight.