Vodka fan nearly kills self by glugging 2l rather than surrendering it at airport

A man nearly died at a Nuremberg airport security checkpoint after necking two litres of vodka rather than letting the security people confiscate it.
The incident occurred at the Nuremberg airport on Tuesday, where the 64-year-old man was switching planes on his way home to Dresden from a holiday in Egypt. New airport rules prohibit passengers from carrying larger quantities of liquid onto planes, and he was told at a security check he would have to either throw out the bottle of vodka or pay a fee to have his carry-on bag checked as cargo. Instead, he chugged the bottle down – and was quickly unable to stand or otherwise function, police said.


  1. *flagged as inaccurate*

    the article linked states it was 2 pints (1 litre).. I can’t imagine anyone physically being able to scull more than a litre, I think if they did they most certainly would have died.

    When i was a teenager i sculled about 600mls of straight vodka, & was prob. the most drunk i’ve ever been.

  2. I love the “Maverick Spirit” tag on this article

    I’m going to remember this every time I go through airport security and have to deal with that liquid-carry-on bullshit

  3. stupid, both the rules and this guy.
    I think I would have paid the extra luggage charge instead of drinking it on the spot. (Now he wasted a lot of precious vodka)

    Second this rule does nothing to increase security. It’s just some insane ruling against a phantom threat some year ago. (ie, a threat that never really existed and still doesn’t exist!)

  4. Madjo – agreed on the stupid rules (and this guy is and idiot, too). I used to love flying, but these days I hate it; ridiculous, arbitrary “security” procedures that do nothing but piss people off and empower some $9-an-hour lackeys to behave like complete jackasses.

    As for the vodka-drinking-idiot in question: why, exactly, did he need to bring 1L of vodka back to Dresden??? I mean, not only is it in eastern Germany (where alcohol is no doubt in abundant supply), but it’s right over the border from the Czech Republic and just a little further from Poland. I would think good vodka (or crappy, if you prefer) would be in plentiful supply (mmm, Belvedere).

    Are the liquor taxes really that bad?

    I just came back from traveling abroad (holiday in Republica Dominicana – woo-hoo!), and it reinforced to me that buying duty-free stuff is a waste of time. I like to drink, but it’s not worth the hassle to save $1 or $2 on a bottle of liquor…

  5. Necking, glugging, sculling? This article seems to be more about coming up with esoteric terms for drinking rather than the actual incident?

    What’s wrong with the old standbys, chugging and swigging?

  6. -might have been some swilling in there too, but I”m no expert textpert, just a choking smoker.

    Don’t you think the joker laughs at you?

  7. Necking is new to me.

    “Glugging” is an onomatopoeia.

    “Sculling” is an old term for downing the entire glass/bottle in front of you.

    “Chugging” is like sculling, but in my experience refers only to beer.

    “Swigging” is taking a single mouthful (a “swig”).

    But hey, not all of us are like you: not all of us want only a single word for a concept.

  8. The secret to swilling massive amounts of grain alcohol is to thoroughly coat your stomach with Pepto Bismol before drinking.

    Always carry Pepto Bismol!


  9. “In Soviet Union, vodka chugs you!” I LOL’d hard on that one. My office mate thinks I’ve lost my mind.

  10. Long ago I downed a liter of vodka. The first half was over an hour, the second half was in 90 seconds. Though I was already drunk, it was like being drunk on top of that, a great rising wave of intoxication that broke over me in the last 15 minutes of my night.

    When I woke up I was lying on my side, in my bed, with a trail of vomit leading from my mouth to a pool on the floor. The thin foam mattress was entirely soaked with my sweat. A mate from my work stopped by to check on me and said he’d been by earlier, knocking on the door, but had been unable to wake me.

    I’m quite sure that’s the closest I’ve ever come to death. Pride is a killer…

  11. I’m not sure coating the stomach with bismuth subsalicylate is such a great idea. If the ethanol isn’t absorbed through the stomach, it’s absorbed by the intestine, at which point it goes into portal circulation, straight to the liver, undiluted. I’d expect the concentrated ethanol hitting the liver to have greater hepatotoxicity. Then again, it’s the acetaldehyde that’s the problem, IIRC, and if the ethanol concentration in the liver is high enough to saturate your alcohol dehydrogenase, it may not matter so much.

    Yes, these are the kinds of things that biochem majors discuss at college parties.

  12. If you enjoy watching this sort of thing, head on over to and poke around. He’s got video of the popular Russian sport of paying homeless street drunks to chug a bottle of vodka down in one go and then laughing at the results.

    Death can and does occur (no video, alas). Not recommended. But you can’t really call it “waste” — vodka is horrible stuff. Real liquor has, you know, flavor.

  13. Had this unfortunate fellow died, the over-reaction to the liquid bomb threat would have taken more lives than the threat itself.

  14. Fnarf:

    vodka is horrible stuff. Real liquor has, you know, flavor.

    BLASPHEMY!!! (Okay, settling down now…)

    It all comes down to what vodka you drink; i.e. Grey Goose or Belvedere or such, as opposed to something clear in a plastic bottle.

    The former (and others of their ilk) are very specifically distilled spirits that have their own unique taste due to the method and ingredients involved (which is to say, I like vodka martinis and I’m VERY picky about my vodka). The latter, on the other hand, are simply watered-down grain alcohol, at least here in the States.

    BTW, is the subject of this article a vodka “fan”, or “enthusiast”? Because he did drink said vodka rather enthusiastically…

  15. An acquaintance of mine died from drinking two liters of vodka in about 20 minutes, about two weeks ago. He was 20.

    But thin as a rail, and not too smart…

  16. Mark Gordon, I have the advance of empirical testing, though. None of this hoity-toity ivory tower SCIENCE thinking. ACTUAL empirical testing under semi-controlled circumstances!


  17. FNARF: “vodka is horrible stuff. Real liquor has, you know, flavor.”

    Pfff! Seems to me vodka is the realest of the liquors, no volume in the bottle wasted on “flavor” molecules, and what is flavor anyway? Although I will drink scotch, bourbon, and tequila, most of the time their flavors leave something to be desired (how’s that for blasphemy?), tequila always reminds me of the time I ate dirt as a curious child. I’ll admit that really good scotch DOES taste quite good, but I can’t afford that stuff so why bother.

    Vodka is efficient. You want to sit and savor the flavor of your fancy liquors?– go ahead, some of us would rather get DRUNK!

    What I can’t really understand is WHAT was so special about this particular vodka that he needed two bottles, and would rather tempt death than surrender it . . . “Egyptian vodka?” That’s a borderline oxymoron.

  18. #20 (Mark Gordon): Acetylaldehyde is indeed the major cause of hepatotoxicity over time, but the usual cause of death from acute alcohol overdose is cardiorespiratory depression from the unprocessed ethanol (there’s only so much NADH to go ’round, natch, so the rest of the drug gets backed up into the bloodstream waiting its turn).

  19. I still love to Fly!

    That is, if you catch a plane at Santiago, Chile and go over to Buenos Aires (backwards is more annoying, but only because of taxes). Friendly service by the international police, no lines at the metal detectors and THEN, you fly over the Andes. A trully wonderful sight (and yes, I have seen the Rockies from the same vantage point). I might add that when LanChile says “snack”, they mean a small but tasty sandwich a softdrink and a sweet.
    As I said, I love to fly, but I hate going through American Airports.

  20. Moon: Yeah, so, how’s your liver? ;-)

    Crash: Understood, but I’d just as soon avoid doing even long-term damage to my liver, just in case I happen to survive this weekend’s bender. Part of me thinks that absorption of EtOH through the stomach is an evolutionary mechanism to give the liver a bit of a break; part of me recognizes that EtOH is just so soluble that we’d need a serious mechanism to *prevent* it from being absorbed through the stomach. And is NADH really rate-limiting? I thought alcohol dehydrogenase was the bottleneck. And “backed up” isn’t really an accurate characterization; if it makes it through portal circulation, it gets diluted into the rest of the bloodstream. It’s not like the EtOH is parked in the portal vein waiting for the liver to catch up.

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