After DMing a battle where the players were heavily outnumbered and to offer some DM’s mercy (because I planned the encounter too large), I allowed the players to drink their potions in an easier manner than normally allowed.
I read the following discussions after the fact to get a better idea as to how it should have been done according to RAW/RAI, as well as how to alter that to make it more rewarding to drink a potion.
Potions are a magic item and require activation, thus a character would have to take the “Activate a Magic Item” Action. The user ELAdragon posted on 2015/03/25 this thought on why potions should take the normal method.
"Potions need to be unsealed. You’re dealing with highly volatile magical compounds here! They’re tightly capped! And if you walk around with one exposed to open air for more than a few seconds it could go “flat”! That’s really why it takes a full action.
A flagon is just ready to go."
So given that, I present some of my thoughts.
A potion is a magic item which needs to be activated before consumption, thus it requires the activate a magic item action. I’d like to make an amendment to this that drinking a potion can instead be the combined use of a free action (draw and pop cork) and a bonus action (activate and drink). There simply aren’t many bonus actions (as these are generally a class feature), and after doing a battle that outnumbered the PCs, short of a retcon, allowing them to drink one as a free action was what allowed them to survive. Clearly potions, even a healing g potion, is strong, but to demand it use a full action isn’t rewarding. Requiring the use of a bonus action to quaff it would allow a player to reap the benefit, utilize an underused resource, but still be a meaningful expenditure. Administering a potion to another should still be an action. You can still drink one as an action.
Thus I present the following “Drink a Potion” Action.
Once per turn as an action or a bonus action, you may draw and drink a potion to gain its benefit. The potion must be readily accessible, such as hanging from a belt or stored in a pouch. By using your free action to interact with an object on your turn, you draw the potion, pop its cork, and consume its contents as part of one action or bonus action.