There is an old adage supposedly intended to prevent hardcore boozers from suffering the savage savagery of a vicious hangover following a night debauched lunacy, and it goes something like this: Liquor before beer, never fear. Beer before liquor, never sicker. Yet, anyone who has attempted to manage his alcohol consumption – perhaps sticking to either whiskey or tequila shots before moving on to beer — may have noticed that the morning after concussions from these twisted, liquid affairs are all relatively the same. The severity of hangover can range from a few hours of the feel-bads – nothing that can’t be fixed with a greasy breakfast and few hours of sleep — to an all-day bout of aches and pains, the pukes and ultimately deep-seated regret.
Regardless of where a person falls on this scale, there always seems to be a plethora of excuses for their desperate state of affairs – someone must have slipped me a mickey — and a certain degree of bargaining – I’m only drinking beer next time – giving them some half-assed assurance that, if they are little more careful, preventing this miserable experience from happening ever again is well within reach.
But then the next weekend rolls around and guess who’s kneeling at the porcelain alter, praying and spraying, “Dear God…Oh, sweet Jesus…kill me now!”
Aside from the fact that avoiding alcohol altogether is the only sure-fire way to prevent the adverse physical and mental effects of drinking, scientific minds really don’t know much else about the anomaly deemed the hangover. They have no idea what brings on the diseased asshole feeling that often occurs after a fierce battle with the bottle. To that end, they know even less about preventing the body from reacting to booze in this way. This is the reason there is no effective hangover remedy on the market. Science just doesn’t have a firm enough grip on the situation for that to happen. Most of them agree, however, that drinking in moderation is the only way to avoid hangover.
One of the biggest myths on the alcohol scene is that mixing different types of booze in your party repertoire causes worse hangovers than just sticking to a specific drink all night long. In reality, this has very little to do with the severity of a hangover. Dr. Roshini Rajapaksa, a gastroenterologist at the New York University School of Medicine, told the New York Times several years ago that it is the amount of alcohol consumed and whether or not it was combined with food that is the real determining factor when it comes to how sick a person is going to get after a night of drinking.
Other medical professionals agree that hangovers are ultimately brought on by too much alcohol, not some mad science orgy that happens in the belly after a person hammers a variation of shots, beer and wine down the old gullet.
“I don’t think there’s any scientific evidence that mixing different types of alcohol makes you more likely to have a hangover,” Dr. Andrew Stolbach, a medical toxicologist and emergency medicine physician at Baltimore’s The Johns Hopkins Hospital, said in an interview with The Takeout.
There is, however, evidence that darker alcohols are more likely to cause hangovers than their lighter counterparts. These beverages contain more toxic chemicals called congeners, which are produced through fermentation, that have a propensity to rough up the individual who get overly ambitious at the bar. This means getting shitfaced on whiskey, beer and red wine is more likely to bring on the yacks and spins than vodka or white wine. Still, even the Alcohol Hangover Research Group admits that more study is needed before there is a firm understanding of how congeners affect the average drinker.
Now, if you’re one of those dudes calling bullshit on this article, because you and your buddies are always worse off after mixing booze, it should be noted that on those occasions when you’re out knocking back cocktails with recklessness you are consuming more alcohol in shorter spans of time than when drinking beer at home watching the game. Drinking in excess is the most conceivable rational for you bastards praying to the porcelain gods come Sunday morning, not some mysterious level of drunkenness manifested through the consumption of a bizarre cornucopia of libations.
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