Drink Lighter-Coloured Liquors To Avoid Hangovers

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.

Dark Liquor Makes for Worse Hangovers [Wired]


    I don't know man, some of the worse hangovers I've had have been due to drinking Gin and tonic. Sharp piercing headaches 'o plenty.

    And lets not forget the brain melting effects of absinthe.

    I think people get having a hangover confused with waking up dehydrated (symptoms including headaches). I changed to G&T and wake up with nothing more then a headache. Water, Dehydrations salts and a few pain kills do the trick. Premixed and darker colored alcohol will stop me from getting out of bed and wishing all day someone puts me out of my misery. Its those times you promise yourself (or god), you will never drink that much again. You know what im talking about.

    Two simple rules for a hangover free morning after:

    - Don't mix alcohol types. When you vaguely remember drinking red wine, bourbon, tequila and schnapps in the one night then you'll only gain that memory after a day of pure agony.
    - Intersperse with water. One decent sized glass for every three drinks. All night. And finish on another glass.


    The best rule I have found is to not have spirits mixed with soft drinks. There is an epic amount of sugar in the softies that you will be downing by the litre, for a much easier recovery try G&T, having your spirits on ice, or even just mixing with a little water. (water works much better than you would expect, softens the bite up a lot).

    A quick whiff of pure oxygen from a cylinder... Works awesomely, best hangover cure ever!

    Screw science, a better way to avoid hangovers is to take a teaspoon of cement and harden the f--- up.

    More seriously though, clear spirits are my recipe for long, painful vomit streaks. And real men drink beer anyway.

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