Intoxication is prohibited but sometimes don't we drink medicine and thus HAVE to get intoxicated?
I remember reading somewhere in Buddhist sutra that it is OK to be intoxicated for medicine. Common sense would agree. If one is ill, taking care of the body--one's vehicle for Awakening--is the highest priority.
For example I remember my teacher Master Nan saying that when past masters had "Zen sickness" (a feverish state of intense, overwhelming, unstoppable creativity) their teachers often got them drunk to help them fall asleep and snap out of it. When they woke up, they had progressed past the stage safely.
Thus, the next question is how much is OK if not sick and trying to walk the fine line of intoxication and still be "Buddhist"?
Scientifically speaking, reversatrol is most potent in red wine. There is research that says that it reverses aging and is neo-cardiac in nature (builds and repairs heart cells!)!!
There is plenty of scientifically verified evidence about this, look it up.
I believe that taking it with such an aim is medicinal because one's intent is to heal the body--not to become intoxicated.
Thus, what does it come down to? The 2nd part of the Eightfold path: Right Intention.
Remember that the Buddha forbids intoxication NOT medication.
But if you find that you are using alcohol "medically" or "socially" and have become reliant on it for sleep, etc. ... then recognize that as a form of chronic intoxication! There is no independently valid reason for it.
You gotta think about it and decide what is going on... if you're doing it merely for pleasure or if there is some benefit.
Despite all this, I myself do not do ANY sort of intoxication, drinking or smoking and try to eat only what is necessary and specifically nutritional (foods can be considered an intoxicant as well!), keenly aware of the things that I am putting in myself and why.
At the worst, I use herbal tea to refreshen myself and warm my hands.
Proper meditation and yoga are powerful techniques as well which obviate the need for most worldly addictions including TV, weed, alcohol, cigarettes, etc. I say this with experience because I used to be heavily involved in such a year ago when I did not have stable practices.
Summary: So use your thinking muscles and remember that the Buddha forbid intoxication but also forbid self-harm and upholds taking care of your body and mind (but not babying it or getting it addicted, which is intoxication).
"And how does a monk know moderation in eating? There is the case
where a monk, considering it appropriately, takes his food not
playfully, nor for intoxication, nor for putting on bulk, nor for
beautification, but simply for the survival & continuance of this
body, for ending its afflictions, for the support of the holy life,
thinking, 'I will destroy old feelings (of hunger) & not create new
feelings (from overeating). Thus I will maintain myself, be blameless,
& live in comfort.' This is how a monk knows moderation in eating." --
If drinking alcohol is for the survival/continuance of your body (e.g. red wine) then it is OK. If it is to intoxicate, then it is not.