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The Secrets of the Alcohol Universe Have Been Revealed VIDEO]

If you’ve ever been to the Warehouse on a Friday night, you know that we like to drink. A lot. But, as is often the problem when consuming mass quantities of alcohol, some times truth and reality blurs into a booze-fueled delirium where we no longer can tell (or remember) what actually happened from what we think happened.

Luckily for us, the good people at Gizmodo are helping us confirm or deny some long held beliefs about what happens when you drink. Is it REALLY true that when you drink beer before liquor you’ll never be sicker? Or how about having different kinds of drunk depending on what you drink? All the questions of the alcohol consuming universe have been answered. Below is a small taste of what they have to say…for every thing else, click HERE.

Beer Before Liquor

The old saying goes, “Beer before liquor; you’ve never been sicker. Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.” This violates a rule I try to live by—never trust advice that rhymes—but it actually turns out that there is some evidence to support it. I spoke to Dr. Rueben Gonzales, a professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Texas, and he had some interesting things to say on the subject. The difference in alcohol concentration between beer (4 percent ABV) and hard liquor (40 percent ABV) is roughly ten-fold, give or take, depending on proof. Even in a mixed drink, you’re probably talking 10 to 20 percent ABV. So if you start out drinking beer at a certain rate, and then continue drinking a mixed drink at the same rate, it’s like driving slowly and then stepping on the gas. Your mouth may not know the difference in the alcohol concentration, but your body will. In contrast, if you start off drinking hard liquor, you’re likely to be drinking at a slower rate and feel drunk faster. Switching to beer and then drinking at the same rate will result in a decreased stream of alcohol by volume.

There actually is a controlled study that lends some more credence to this one, which Dr. Gonzales sent me. The study, called “Alcohol concentration and carbonation of drinks: The effect on blood alcohol levels,” was conducted in 2007 by the Universities of Manchester and Lancashire. The small, 21-subject test group reached some interesting conclusions. One finding was that diluted concentrations of alcohol will be absorbed faster than more potent blends. In other words, alcohol in a mixed drink enters the bloodstream faster than the equivalent amount of alcohol taken as a shot. From the study:

It is thought that in the absence of food in the stomach, small amounts of concentrated alcohol pass through the stomach at much the same rate as larger volumes of more dilute alcohol, allowing little time for gastric metabolism.

In other words, because it’s larger in mass and volume, the mixed drink spends more time in your digestive system, which is where it gets absorbed. Makes sense. So, if you’re filling your stomach up with beer and you’re then upping the alcohol concentration by adding hard liquor, you’re essentially making a mixed drink inside your stomach. It’ll sit there for longer, getting you more liquored up. On the other hand, if you start with hard liquor, the solution in your stomach begins with a higher concentration of alcohol, and it will pass through you more quickly. You’ll feel more drunk, and you’ll probably be less likely to drink as much beer afterwards. Just pace yourself, you maniac!

Different Drunks

You ever hear people say that “Gin makes me angry,” or “Rum makes me really mellow?” We all have. But is there any truth behind it? The experts I spoke to say no. “It’s the amount you drink. Period,” Bill Owens proclaimed. There are zero controlled studies published that test this, so from a pure science standpoint it is impossible to prove or debunk this. But I have some evidence of my own.

Sense memory is an incredibly powerful psychological phenomena, and it’s been well-proven that our senses of smell and taste are the most potent for evoking memories. I would therefore bet that the reason that whiskey makes me feel calm and relaxed is because I associate it with fishing with my dad. Gin doesn’t make me angry, it makes me want to party. This is probably because I first started drinking gin and tonics at dance parties in college, or maybe because because the notes of citrus remind me of playing soccer as a kid. In contrast, Southern Comfort makes me feel despondent, slow, and gross, probably because I had one of the worst nights of my life when I was 18 and I drank half a fifth of it.

There’s another possible culprit: congeners. Congeners are a byproduct of the fermentation and distillation process. These may include acetone, aldehydes, other forms of alcohol, and esters. They are, generally speaking, not good for you. But they are an essential part of the distillation process, because all spirits contain a small cut of these ingredients. The distillation run’s beginning and ending phases, known as the heads and tails, blend with the heart of the distillate to give the spirit its characteristic flavor. But different processes and ingredients result in different congeners. Different toxins affect people in different ways, and a distillate from, say, agave, affects physiology in a distinct way compared to fermented rye. We all have a unique response to different types of chemical stimulus.

Again…all that is from Gizmodo. You can read all about it there. Read up, be educated and become a real barroom hero!

 

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