If you’re sick of getting really hammered each time you go drinking, and would like to wake up the next morning with your dignity, then you might want to explore ways to avoid getting so tanked. If beer and wine aren’t your thing, and drinking straight liquor involves too much cringing, then your road to drunkenness probably involves a lot of mixed drinks. If so, you may be curious to know if certain mixers slow down the effects of alcohol.
Or, if you have no problem guzzling back beer or hard liquor, and as a result, are frequently asking “What happened last night?”, then you may be thinking about switching to mixed drinks. But is drinking highballs or cocktails really a good way to avoid getting loaded? Are there certain mixers that can prolong your partying and stave off the worst hangover ever? Yes and no.
Aren’t mixed drinks better to have than straight booze?
You may have heard in your drinking travels that drinking straight liquor, which means just booze and nothing else, is a surefire way to get wasted, really, really fast. Not only does hard liquor have a lot of alcohol in it, typically you don’t get served very much of it in a glass. As a result, the argument goes, it’s easy to drink very fast and before you know it you will have downed a ton of liquor. If you don’t want to get completely soused, but want to stick with spirits, then you must add mix.
While this may be true for some people, the reality is that not everyone can drink hard liquor like it’s water. In other words, hard liquor isn’t exactly the kind of thing you look forward to guzzling back, unless you’re on a mission to end your night early. So, by the time you finish your scotch, your buddies may have already pounded back five Long Island Iced Teas, since they “can hardly taste the alcohol.”
On the other hand, if you really love drinking highballs and have a problem with pacing yourself, then ordering them tall may be a good way to slow down how much you drink. If you’ve never worked in a bar, or have yet to step foot in one, drinks that are “tall” come in bigger glasses.
For example, if you just order a single gin and tonic, but order it “tall”, then you’ll have to go through a lot more tonic before you’re ready to order another. The longer it takes you to finish a drink, the less troublesome booze your liver will have to deal with.
What about soda?
So, if you want to stick with mixed drinks, is soda a good way to go in terms of staying sober longer? That depends. While, by ordering beverages that are tall you may end up drinking less alcohol, studies show that carbonated drinks build pressure in your stomach and can irritate its lining. As a result, alcohol gets pushed into your bloodstream faster than if it ended up there without the help of tasty soda. The more carbonated drinks you have, the faster you could get tanked.
According to studies, diet soda is even worse for you than regular soda. Since soda is often packed with sugar and calories, a lot of people like to order diet soda with their drinks. While this may help in terms of battling your waistline, it actually makes it harder for your body to battle the alcohol. That’s probably not a good thing.
Since diet mix doesn’t have sugar, and it’s also carbonated, the body absorbs the alcohol in your drink much quicker. The alcoholic content is the same as if you ordered regular soda; however, you’ll end up getting buzzed sooner.
Ironically, eating food before you drink, and while you’re out, is a great way to help your body process the alcohol. So much for losing weight, huh?
Do energy drinks help?
Once energy drinks became all the rage, it didn’t take long for bars and “mixologists” to come up with the bright idea of trying them with alcohol. After all, since alcohol has a way of making you woozy, or unconscious, what better way to prolong the party then by adding energy drinks to it, right? Wrong.
While energy drinks are crammed full with caffeine and other stimulants, and you may feel like those 11 cocktails did “nothing,” that doesn’t mean you’re not completely tanked. You may feel more alert, and might think embarking on a midnight triathlon is a good idea, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’re in no physical condition to do so.
In fact, studies show that people are more likely to make stupid and rash decisions when they’re mixing energy drinks and alcohol.
What about alcoholic drinks with water?
While it may not be the greatest-tasting drink, if you enjoy the flavor of diluted liquor, you might be hard pressed to find a better mixer than water. Unlike soda, regular water isn’t carbonated, so it’s not likely to irritate your stomach and quicken the alcohol’s absorption. Sure, it may not have sugar to slow this down either, but at the end of the day its better for you than soda, either regular or diet.
In addition, the human body needs water to function, particularly when it’s trying to purge itself of alcohol. This is why you’ve had an unquenchable thirst for water the day after you thought it was a good idea to order that ninth round of drinks.