Central to every Greek symposium was the presence, presentation, and consumption of alcohol. The universal use of wine and the paraphernalia associated with it are some of the most common identifiers of symposium scenes across the archaeological and literary record.
The consumption of wine, however, was far from a passive amusement; alcohol played an active and complex role in the life of every symposium, and was vital to engaging members of the symposium in the experience of the symposium itself.
There were many methods through which symposiast participation was possible:
Additionally the consumption of alcohol and subsequent intoxication acted as a social lubricant that freed participants to more fully enjoy and engage in the sympotic experience, although the experience was not without ideological caveats.