If you drink, you will get a hangover. But what can you drink to get the least hung over?

bartender pouringThe technical term for a hangover is veisalgia which means uneasiness followed by debortuary (yes that sound about right). So you drink alcohol and it gets all up in your guts and stops your brain from making something called vasopressin. No vasopressin means your kidneys don’t absorb water and it shoots it straight into your bladder and you urinate it out. So, you then become dehydrated. You are washing out a lot of needed potassium, sodium, and magnesium from your body. Your muscles, nerves, and cell functions then gets all jacked up. Alcohol also breaks up the stuff in your liver into glucose which floods you with sugar. It’s all no good, and you probably know what that feels like, i.e., the worst.  So what can you drink to minimize those effects?

Nothing, because that is how alcohol works. But, certain alcohols add even more nightmare stuff in there that causes a worst hangover and we can minimize those. So, when alcohol is fermented, you get these impurities called congeners, and congeners are great because they give the alcohol its taste and color. But they suck because they’re toxins. Since they are responsible for the color of the alcohol, you may have already guessed what I’m about to type. The darker the alcohol, the harsher the hangovers.

Drinks like gin and vodka should be easier on you than bourbon and whiskey. And that’s exactly what a 2010 study comparing the hangovers and cognitive abilities of people who drank bourbon and people who drank vodka found.

The alcohols with the most congeners from highest to lowest:

  1. Brandy
  2. Red wine
  3. Bourbon
  4. Dark Rum
  5. Whiskey

Bourbon has eight times the congeners of gin and thirty times the congeners of vodka. You also may have heard that more expensive alcohol causes less severe hangovers. Well, that’s not entirely true. You see, filtering and distilling a liquor more removes more of the impurities. It also adds to the cost of making the alcohol. So, more expensive can mean more filter which leads to a slightly less nasty morning after drinking it. It also means that some cheaper vodkas and gins can be almost as bad as some expensive bourbon.

Now it’s not all about impurities. Sugar content also adds to hangover symptoms. Cheap wines, fancy cocktails, any flavored liquor (like a raspberry vodka, which you should not be drinking anyway) is going to have extra sugar. That sugar added to the sugar overload that you are already experiencing makes things even worse.

Now what about liquor before beer, beer before liquor, etc.? Well any carbonated alcoholic beverages actually absorbs into your body more quickly than a noncarbonated one because increased pressure from the gas in your stomach forces the alcohol into your system through your stomach lining. That means, anything you drink after it while there is still that pressure in your stomach is going to get absorb faster to.  So I would say beer OR liquor is safer than any mix of both. Basically, if you are looking to minimize your hangover, you should drink nothing but the most expensive of vodkas through a Brita pitcher (I guess). But look, you drink anything to excess you will get a hangover and do damage to your body.

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