If you're anticipating a night of hard partying, skip the bourbon if you'd like a better morning after.
Photo by Experiment 33.
The best way to avoid of hangover is, obviously, to not drink. Barring that, you can opt to drink lighter-coloured liquor to decrease the effects of morning-after hangover.
Researchers at Brown University liquored up nearly a hundred study participants with various alcoholic drinks — all the different shades of alcohol were mixed into caffeine-free cola to mask the colour and flavour of the particular alcohol — and observed them. All the participants that consumed alcohol slept worse and performed worse on cognitive tests than the participants that didn't, but the participants that drank lighter-coloured liquor had less hangover-related symptoms the next day.
Overall, bourbon drinkers reported feeling worse than vodka drinkers, rating higher on scales that measure the severity of hangover malaise, including headache, nausea, loss of appetite and thirst. It should come as no surprise that alcohol drinkers said they felt much worse than those who had drunk only tonic water.
One reason for the different effects of vodka and bourbon, Rohsenow says, could be that bourbon contains 37 times more toxic compounds than vodka does, including nasty organic molecules such as acetone, acetaldehyde, tannins and furfural. A good rule of thumb for liquors, she says, is that the clearer they are, the less of these substances they contain.
If you're reading this and you're already worse for wear after a night on the town, you might want to make yourself a bacon sandwich to shake that hangover. Have your own tips or tricks for hangover prevention and recovery? Let's hear about them in the comments.