Will Drinking Liquor Before Beer Actually Prevent A Hangover?

By Beth Leipholtz 02/15/19

A new study examined whether drinking alcohol in a certain order or by a certain color could prevent a hangover.

man ordering beer after drinking hard liquor

There are many old tales about how to cure hangovers or prevent them altogether. 

Perhaps one of best-known "rules" to drinking is that the order in which you down your drinks—whether it is hard liquor, wine, and beer—can affect the severity of a hangover. There are even little rhymes to accompany this, such as "Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear," or "Beer before wine, you'll be fine.”

But a new study has discredited this idea, claiming that no matter what type of alcohol a person consumes first, their hangover will be the same. 

To determine this, senior clinical pediatrics fellow Dr. Kai Hensel of the University of Cambridge in the UK and his colleagues conducted a two-year study. 

For the study, they gathered 90 German students in the medical and psychology fields, ages 19 to 40. Each individual in the study, according to Time, was matched with two others of about the same age, body mass, sex, and drinking habits. 

After eating a filling meal, the researchers instructed one member from each group of three to drink around 2.5 pints of lager beer, or to drink until their breath alcohol concentration was .05%. Following that, they drank around four glasses of white wine, until reaching .11%. 

At the same time, a second member of the group drank the same amount but in the opposite order, while the third drank only wine or only beer. Then, each member was given cold water and instructed to go to bed.

The following week the participants did the same thing again, but opposite what they had drank in the prior week. 

Each week, according to Time, the participants tracked and rated the severity of their hangovers. Common hangover symptoms like headaches, nausea and dizziness were reported, and 21 of the participants said they vomited at some point. 

Despite the groups drinking alcohol in various orders, the researchers did not find any glaring difference from group to group. 

The researchers did determine that women seemed to feel worse than men when it came to hangovers. They also found that a person’s breath alcohol concentration did not correlate with the strength of their hangover, but vomiting and how intoxicated someone felt did. 

In conclusion, the researchers determined that using common sense and following moderate drinking guidelines is the best way to avoid feeling hungover. 

“Just asking the participant, ‘How drunk are you?,’ if they are really drunk, is the best predictor,” Hensel said, according to Time. “You don’t have to do all that research. Just ask yourself.”

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Beth is a Minnesota girl who got sober at age 20. By day she is a website designer, and in her spare time she enjoys writing about recovery at www.lifetobecontinued.com, doing graphic design and spending time with her boyfriend and three dogs. Find Beth on LinkedInInstagram and Twitter.