Can Different Types of Alcohol Affect Your Hangover Severity? You Bet They Can! February 16 2015, 0 Comments

When talking about hangover severity, have you ever heard these phrases?

  • Beerthen liquor, never been sicker!
  • Liquorthen beer, have no fear!
  • Beer before liquor, never been sicker!
  • Liquor before beer, you're in the clear!
  • Beer before liquor, never sicker quicker!
  • Never mix your liquors!

"I drink to make other people more interesting."

- Earnest Hemingway

If you think these sayings are merely creative rhymes that are fun to say but don't hold any truth, think again. Different types of alcohol are not the same when it comes to predicting your hangover severity the morning after a night of heavy drinking. In reality, there are a number of factors that come into play when trying to determine your potential hangover severity.

"Everybody should believe in something;

I believe I'll have another beer."

-W.C. Fields

Here are some factors that impact how two people drinking the same amount and type of alcohol might affect two people differently:

  • The age, body type and weight of each person
  • How much each person eats (and what they eat) before, during and after they drink
  • The rate at which each person's body metabolizes alcohol

The above factors can certainly influence a person's hangover severity. But, many people do not realize that certain types of alcohol can also affect the harshness of a hangover.

“Here's to alcohol, the rose colored glasses of life.” 

-F. Scott Fitzgerald

According to extensive information published on The Oxford University Press on the topic of hangover severity, the following points are true: 

  • Hangover symptoms appear when the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) returns to zero after excessive drinking
  • A hangover can show its effects for 24 hours, and sometimes longer
  • Nobody knows why hangover symptoms surface after alcohol is eliminated from the body
  • Hangover severity is influenced by several factors not related to the amount of alcohol consumed - and one such factor is the type of alcohol and its level of congeners
  • The level of congeners in the alcohol consumed can have a direct effect on a person's hangover severity

“The only cure for a real hangover is death.” 
-Robert Benchley

About Congeners:

  • Congeners are substances that add to the taste, aroma, consistency and appearance of alcoholic drinks
  • Drinks that are darker in color generally contain a higher congener content
  • Alcoholic drinks that are high in congeners may have a direct impact on hangover severity
  • Consuming fewer drinks that are high in congeners can produce a hangover that is more severe than consuming more drinks that are lower in congeners.

“Alcohol, taken in sufficient quantities, may produce all the effects of drunkenness.”
-Oscar Wilde

Examples of Lower Congener Alcoholic Drinks:

  • Vodka
  • White Wine
  • White Rum
  • Gin
  • Light Beer

Examples of Higher Congener Alcoholic Drinks:

  • Bourbon
  • Brandy
  • Tequila
  • Whiskey
  • Single-Malt Scotch
  • Red Wine
  • Dark Beer

“There is no bad whiskey. There are only some whiskeys that aren't as good as others.”
-Raymond Chandler