Experiment Aims to Brew Hangover-Free Booze

Experiment Aims to Brew Hangover-Free Booze

By Chrisanne Grise 10/23/12

A controversial professor says that it's time to move on in the way we intoxicate ourselves.

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An experiment is under way that seeks to produce a new version of booze, without the negative impact on drinkers' health. It's controversial—but then how could it not be, when it's run by Professor David Nutt, an ever-provocative drug expert from London’s Imperial College? He's aiming to develop a liquid cocktail that mimics alcohol's intoxicating effects, while negating the risk of addiction, hangovers and other health damage. To ward off those painful mornings after and all the other problems, the substance would need to contain an antidote to immediately reverse its own effects. "Every aspect of life, science has moved us on with the one exception, how we intoxicate ourselves,” says Nutt. “I think it's time for science to do something there as well.” He's already invented pills that act as an alcohol alternative, but believes a liquid version would be more popular, since people want the experience of imbibing. But Nutt is having some trouble financing his project; he says the drinks industry feels threatened, while the pharmaceutical industry worries that the UK government will block the resulting substance. If the product does end up on the market, the outcome is dubious. Taking the physical consequences of drinking out of the equation sounds good in theory, but Nutt's concoction would do nothing to reduce alcohol's other side effects—such as drunk driving, violence and self-destructive behaviors. For those inclined to overindulge, a substance that promises to "mimic" the effects of alcohol, without also promising a thumping headache in the morning, could prove, well, addictive.