The Viral "Three Drink Theory" Is the Trifecta You Need to Take On the Day

According to this theory, having three drinks by your side at all times that "caffeinate, alleviate, and hydrate" is key for getting through the workday.

Caffeinate, alleviate, hydrate: These three words are the foundation for the internet's favorite beverage trend known as the "three-drink theory"—a practice many consider not only a mood booster, but vital for getting through the day. Social media creator and comedian Sophia Wilson Pelton originally posted about the concept on Twitter in 2021 and made a video about it on TikTok, which has recently surged in popularity as a sound on the app, being used in over 12,000 videos showcasing other users' own selections. 

Three cold drinks with fruit on beige background

Mila Naumova / Getty Images

Having three drinks on your desktop at all times is "the height of luxury," Wilson Pelton said in their video. With nearly 70,000 likes, it's clear that others feel the same way. "It could be water, matcha, Spindrift. It could even be water, vodka, Red Bull... In those moments, I just feel like I have it all. I'm living large, and I am a little prince."

TikTok creator @annikaizora took the three-drink obsession a step further by calling her trifecta of sippables her "emotional support trio" and a work-from-home essential in a video that now has over 19,000 likes.

While Wilson Pelton may have helped the theory go mainstream, Atlantic magazine explained the phenomenon in a 2019 article called "Always Have Three Beverages." Along with the requisite water and caffeinated options, "completing the desk-bev triumvirate is where the magic happens," staff writer Amanda Mull wrote. "A third beverage is your wild card, a chance for a little bit of random pleasure in a period of the day that is otherwise not your own."

If you'd like to jump on the triple-drink trend, here are some combos to get the full benefits and cover the caffeinate, alleviate, and hydrate categories.

As the theory continues to grow in social media popularity, it will become easier and easier to find TikToks with increasingly interesting, unique suggestions. Of course, as with most viral trends, credit for it may be taken by others—but Wilson Pelton is totally alright with that.

"For a long time, I don't think I was fully aware of how viral it really was," they said. "I would say that I created an Internet meme at this point. It no longer belongs to me; it belongs to the Internet."

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles