You’ve likely heard the rhymes before.
Wine before liquor, never sicker. Beer before wine, and you’ll feel fine. Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.
While these sayings are cute and easy to remember, the order you drink matters significantly less than they lead us to believe.
What does the saying wine before liquor mean? The saying “wine before liquor” means that if you drink wine before liquor, you will have a worse hangover the next day. You may have also heard the beer variation: “Beer before liquor, never sicker.”
The truth is that mixing drinks and drinking order matter much less than how much you consume in a drinking session. It’s not all disappointing news. There are easy ways to avoid that hangover altogether.
The Verdict? Volume Matters More Than Order
It’s true. Even if you stick to only beer or wine, how much you drink affects your odds of a hangover more than mixing alcohol types or the order of them.
What are the consequences of drinking wine before liquor? The consequences of drinking wine before liquor are the same as drinking beer before liquor. If you drink too much wine, beer, or anything else, you’ll end up with a bad hangover the next day.
How much you drink is a more accurate predictor of how drunk you’ll get and how bad you’ll feel the next day. If you drink too much, there's just no way to prevent intoxication and the adverse effects of alcohol.
Unfortunately, women have it even worse. Thanks to differences in body mass, hormones, and enzymes, women get drunk faster, no matter how careful they are about mixing different types of alcohol.
Let’s get into some things you can control to improve your chances at avoiding a bad hangover.
6 Tips to Drink Responsibly and Avoid a Hangover
There are ways to avoid hangover symptoms in the first place, though. Check out a few tips to add to your drinking habits and make for a better morning-after.
Eat before drinking.
Avoid drinking alcohol on an empty stomach; you could aggravate your stomach. You also want to give your body something to digest on its way to your small intestine besides the alcohol.
We know a plate of fries might sound better than a bowl of almonds after you’ve had a couple, but what you eat matters too. Go for protein and fiber before you start drinking or alongside that lager.
While we’re here, greasy food the following day isn’t a hangover cure. All those fats may actually keep you feeling crummy longer and add to any digestive symptoms.
Sip on water between drinks.
Hydration is essential to overall wellness, but a glass of water between drinks will also slow your drinking. That water in between might even help you reconsider that next alcoholic drink. At the very least, you won’t be dehydrated, which is always a good thing.
Watch what you drink.
We’ve already talked about drink order as a non-issue for avoiding hangovers. It does matter what you drink, however, even if you’re being mindful about drinking.
Dark liquors like whiskey, tequila, and red wine contain more congeners than clear liquors. Congeners are a chemical compound linked to hangover severity. This doesn’t mean you can drink vodka and white wine without limits. Ethanol is still the leading cause of intoxication and thus deserves the ultimate credit for your hangover.
If you are drinking a dark liquor, be extra careful with how much you sip.
Stick to one type of alcohol.
We know we made it a point to talk about how mixing drinks doesn’t matter, but it’s much easier to watch how much you’re drinking when you stick to one type of alcohol.
You can drink wine before liquor, but it can be hard to gauge which drink in front of you has a higher concentration of alcohol if you’ve been drinking all the things.
Again, the order isn’t the issue when you have a couple of tequila shots after several glasses of wine. It’s that you had all of that tequila and all of that wine. Stick to one thing on nights out, ideally an option with lower alcohol content, to keep better track of your drinking.
Drink less alcohol.
Drinking too much alcohol is the easiest way to guarantee a hangover the next morning. Consume alcoholic beverages in moderation instead.
If you want to follow official CDC recommendations to the letter, that’s just a single glass of wine for women and 2 standard glasses of wine for men per day. A standard pour is just 5 ounces, though — even less for wine with higher alcohol content, like a fortified port.
Skip drinking altogether.
You can’t get a hangover if you don’t drink. If you’re already sober curious, this one might be easy to try on. You don’t have to find the nearest sober bar to taste test delicious mocktails or find the alcohol alternative that speaks to you.
If you know you love wine, non-alcoholic wine is a great way to cool it on the alcohol while still sipping on what you enjoy.
Ditch the Hangover Forever with Non-Alcoholic Wine
If red wine is more your jam, try the non-alcoholic pinot noir. You can have your wine without a hangover.