What alcohol causes the worst hangovers?
You've found us because you're sick of feeling deathly after a night out. You're sick of waking up swearing off boozing for good. You're sick of spending Sundays hunched over a toilet or lying on a sofa unable to focus on anything other than a Kardashian instagram feed.
So how can you "drink better" to reduce your hangover? Well, it's remarkably simple; avoid dark coloured alcohol, drink clear spirits.
Alcohol consumption produces chemicals in the body, known as Congeners. These congeners tend to be what produces hangover symptoms. Classic congeners are Methanol, Acetone and Isopentanol. Methanol is the one which tends to get the blame for causing hangovers.
Research has uncovered that spirits like Whiskey and Dark Rum tend to contain a higher number of congeners compared with clear spirits like Vodka or Light Rums. The result is that clearer spirits tend to cause less severe hangovers. Some studies gave people equal amounts of low congener and high congener alcohol on different days and found that on the low congener day weren't hungover at all whilst on the high congener day were hungover.
What about the Beer Drinkers in the room? Congener content in beers varies in exactly the same way as other alcohols; darker beers tend to have higher congener content than lighter beers. So blonde beers with low alcohol content will be the safest bet on the nights when you're drinking a lot.
- Maxwell CR, et al. Acetate causes alcohol hangover headache in rats. PLoS One. (2010)
- Rohsenow DJ, Howland J. The role of beverage congeners in hangover and other residual effects of alcohol intoxication: a review. Curr Drug Abuse Rev. (2010)
- Mitchell MC Jr, Teigen EL, Ramchandani VA. Absorption and peak blood alcohol concentration after drinking beer, wine, or spirits. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. (2014)
- Verster JC. The "hair of the dog": a useful hangover remedy or a predictor of future problem drinking?. Curr Drug Abuse Rev. (2009)