Do the painful hungover mornings accompanied by blurry memories of the previous night happen too often?
Hangovers start when the alcohol in our blood stream begins to decrease, and hit their peak when the level reaches zero. But if you patiently look back and connect the hangover leads, some mornings after parties can be worse than others, even if the quantity of the drinks remained the same.
The kind of booze we indulge in, does have an impact on the austerity of our hangover.A whisky hangover is worse than a vodka one, but both the spirits are around 40 per cent ABV, so what is it about dark-coloured drinks that can mess you up so bad?
It is all about Congeners.
What are they?
A spirits manufacturer produces congeners during the fermentation or distillation process. Congeners are biologically active chemicals contained in alcoholic beverages, in addition to ethyl alcohol. Yeasts ferment the sugars from must (freshly crushed fruit juice that contains the skins, seeds, and stems of the fruit) in wine or any other source to ethanol and carbon dioxide. They also deliver a cluster of other compounds called congeners. They give many types of dark alcohol their flavor, but they can also impact how you feel. The whiter your spirit, lesser the amount of congeners present in your drink.
Ageing plays a part here. The spirits aged for a longer time tend to be more dark, as they catch the colour of the cask and hence they attract additional congeners during the process. The congeners irritate blood vessels and tissue in the brain and thus make a hangover worse. Congeners are primarily contained in darker liquors, brandy, tequila, whiskey and red wine. The clear liquors like white rum, vodka , tequila, white wine and gin tend to cause hangovers less frequently as they are not aged as much.
Another factor which plays a part in Hangover severity is distillation, the more distilled a spirit is, the lower the congeners. This is the reason few individuals consider “top shelf” liquors that are highly distilled don’t give them a hangover as much as the lower priced ones.
Its wise to keep in mind that all alcohol is not created equal. The next time you have a night of heavy drinking, you could try drinking a low congener spirit and see if you feel better than usual the next morning. Although lighter colored liquors may help to prevent a hangover, drinking too many alcoholic beverages of any color will still make you feel bad the morning after.
Drinking is only better when it is also safe, after all, “A drink a day keeps the shrink away” – Edward Abbey. Cheers!