Want To Know The Reason Why Champagne Gets You Drunk Faster?

By May Wilkerson 12/31/15

It's all a matter of science.

Champagne toast
Photo via Shutterstock

Well, this could help explain why many of us ring in the New Year in a bathroom stall. The rumors are true: champagne does get you drunk faster, and there’s science to back it up.

It’s an age-old question, whether the bubbles in champagne can fast-track you to a messier night and a worse hangover. Back in 1924, researchers found that carbon dioxide causes alcohol to get absorbed into your bloodstream faster. Taking these findings further, a 2007 study found that drinking a shot of vodka mixed with soda actually raises your blood alcohol content (BAC) to peak levels faster than just drinking a shot of straight vodka.

The rate at which your blood reaches peak BAC impacts how the alcohol makes you feel, explains Dr. Reuben Gonzalez a pharmacologist at the University of Texas. “Within the first 15 to 30 minutes of taking a shot most people feel a level of stimulation that coincides with the alcohol levels rising in the blood, but as BAC levels fall, most people start to feel the sedative effects,” he said.

So, drinking a glass of champagne will lead to a steep, sudden feeling of drunkenness, whereas a glass of wine will get you drunk more gradually before the sedative effects of the booze kick in. 

Researchers explained this differing rate of alcohol absorption in the blood to something called “gastric emptying,” which is the way the stomach releases its contents into the small intestine, where most alcohol is absorbed. The bubbles in champagne or soda lead to a higher rate of gastric emptying, getting you drunk faster.

A higher peak BAC also means there is more alcohol in your bloodstream, which leaves you more hungover the next day. So if you want to start off the New Year without a pounding headache and wave of regret, you may want to opt for just one glass of bubbly or sip wine. Or play it safe and stick to Martinelli’s.




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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.