Certain maxims regarding the consumption of alcohol have been passed down for generations: “Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear” and “Beer before wine, always fine.” You’ve probably heard these from an older sister or a college roommate. Abide by a few simple drinking rules, show up to class from time to time, and you’ll make it through college just fine, right? Well, get ready to adjust your pre-gaming rituals accordingly: A new (very drunk) study casts doubt on age-old wisdom about chasing that bottle of pilsner with a glass of cabernet.
A small study—just 90 people—found that it honestly doesn’t matter if you choose to drink beer before wine or wine before beer; the severity of your hangover is an external constant you can’t control. Some participants in the study had the tough job of downing two-and-a-half pints of beer followed by four glasses of wine. Others did it in reverse, wine then beer. Still more brave test subjects stuck with one or the other. A week later, everyone switched roles. But switching the order of intake had no effect on their hangovers in any way.
So, there you have it. Beer before wine is not always fine. In fact, excessive drinking is dangerous no matter the order. But you know what did affect hangovers? Barfing. Shocking no one, participants who vomited from drinking too much rated their hangover as more severe. Please drink responsibly, people.
If you’re actually serious about drinking up a storm without feeling the effects the next day, make sure you’ve had enough to eat and drink plenty of water. A full stomach and consistent hydration throughout the night is what really works. And remember, there’s no way to cheat the system.
Here’s why hangovers seem to get worse as you get older—except for, of course, that one friend who “never gets hangovers.”