We’ve all heard the saying “Beer before liquor, never been sicker! Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear!” But why exactly should we follow this advice?
Turns out, the saying is just a myth. It doesn’t actually matter whether you drink beer or liquor first. There’s no actual chemical reaction if you chug a can of beer and then take a shot of vodka. If you get sick after a night out, it’s because you drank too much and/or didn’t eat enough.
Why You Feel Sick After Drinking
The reason you get that yucky stomach feeling after partying with friends is because alcohol increases the production of stomach acid. It also delays stomach emptying, and these factors combined can cause nausea and vomiting. Alcohol can also decrease your blood sugar causing fatigue, moodiness, and shakiness. So when you only have a little bit, you’ll be fine. But if you drink too much, you’ll likely get sick — regardless of the types of alcohol you’ve had or which came first.
The headache you get after a night out is a result of dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic that makes you pee more liquid than you take in. If you drink water between each alcoholic drink, or even just chug a few glasses before you pass out at the end of the evening, you’ll feel much better the next day.
So since it doesn’t actually matter whether you drink liquor or beer first, why do people believe that it does?
Where the Saying Comes From
Well, according to the New York Times, this myth originated from the way we digest alcohol and was continued through confirmation bias. Carbonated beverages like beer or champagne irritate our stomach lining, increasing the rate of alcohol absorption. So it was assumed (incorrectly) that drinking beer or wine before liquor would make the liquor absorb faster too and get you sick. But many people also mix their liquor with carbonated soda so by that theory it’d absorb just as fast anyway.The confirmation bias comes in because people who drink liquor first tend to have less beer later on. Contrarily, people who drink beer first tend to work their way up to liquor. When people get sick at the end of the night, they tend to blame the last thing they drank, which is usually liquor. So, there ya have it. Drink your favorite alcoholic beverages in any order you want! Just make sure to eat some food and drink some water so you’ll feel fine the next day.