agave evil?
October 4, 2005 10:15 PM   Subscribe

Does tequila make you extra drunk?

The last few times I have drank it I have hit my head on very hard objects, this does not occur when I drink other forms of alcohol.
posted by furiousxgeorge to Food & Drink (31 answers total)
Tequila does seem to hit me harder than other liquors. But I don't have it that often, so this observation seems fuzzily anecdotal at best.
posted by Vidiot at 10:22 PM on October 4, 2005

Tequila makes me extra pukey, but hard liquor in general seemed to knock me on my ass faster than equivalent drinks of wine or beer.

[insert Jim Breuer's tequila routine here]
posted by keswick at 10:27 PM on October 4, 2005

It's got a different base & flavor than most liquors people are used to (the grain based kinds, mostly) and the young ones don't have the wood flavor you're accustomed to if you drink whiskey, bourbon, etc. This can throw off your sense of how much you're drinking.

Also, I find that, culturally, most folks bust out the tequila when they're in a mood to get exotic and party like a rockstar. I mean - when's the last time you saw a bartender talk some women into doing whiskey shots? So it's possible that nights when you encounter tequila happen to be extra-hard-drinking nights already.

Plus, tequila is a drink often shot - which as a method of drinking will definitely get you drunk hard and fast. A lot of times we encounter gin, vodka, whiskey, rum in mixed drinks. But you never drink a tequila and tonic. Maragaritas, yes, but I'm guessing that's not what you mean by "drinking tequila." In my experience, you probably mean shooting it.

People also have less experience with tequila and regard it as a kind of exotic beverage, so perhaps they drink it less responsibly, or with less control. And a lot of people avoid it like the plague unless they already have a few drinks in them and are feeling adventurous. And of course the last drink of the night is always the one blamed for how drunk you got.

Also, most commonly drunk tequilas are really bad ones, so you can get an extra doze of the tannins and toxins that cause hangovers - which can be associated with being "more drunk" later on.

These are matters of association and perception that may play into it. Perhaps there are also pure chemical factors at work. But I don't think tequila is all that much higher on the alcohol concentration than other hard liquors.

If you are sipping a fine tequila from the beginning, no, I don't think you'll get drunker than if you were sipping cognac or vodka, on the whole.
posted by scarabic at 10:36 PM on October 4, 2005

Yeah, I think what scarabic has to say is important, or at least it applies to me. I can shoot tequila shots a lot faster than I can realize how much I'm drinking. Very easy to laugh about several shots without realizing that I'm about to be utterly fucked.
posted by flavor at 10:41 PM on October 4, 2005

I can't stand shots, any hard alcohol I take is in sipping. I tend to pick a drink to go along with the beer and sip it to enjoy the flavor.

I do this with vodka, whiskey, tequila, etc. Only with tequila do I end up ramming my head into brick walls.

I am curious if there is any chemical explanation for this, or if it is just bad luck.

In many cases I think bad tequila incidents are related to social factors, but I think I can rule that out in my personal case.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:43 PM on October 4, 2005

Different alcoholic beverages have entirely different effects on me, mood-wise. I have always noticed this. Gin makes me sleepy, rye makes me happy, bourbon makes me fighty, vodka makes me really really smart (well, not really, but it sure feels like it) and so on.

This may be a placebo effect of some kind, but I've noticed it so long and so consistently that I think there must be some kind of ingredient-related effect happening there.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:00 PM on October 4, 2005

Common wisdom at the UIUC says that tequila has a delayed effect. That is, you do a shot, feel pretty good, do three more and then suddenly it hits you all at once. Probably for all the reasons scarabic lists.

Anecdotally, what I said is true. I love tequila but I have to be careful drinking it. I've spent way too many nights trying to stop the floor from spinning.
posted by sbutler at 11:08 PM on October 4, 2005

I reckon tequila is more likely to be taken straight, in shots, than most other spirits.

And that causes a problem - hard spirits hit your stomach, and the pyloric sphincter between your stomach and your small intestine tends to not want to let it go any further...until there is a lot of it. Hence, drinking beer or mixed drinks gets you drunk slowly. Drinking straight spirits, it sits in your stomach, then gets let through all in one blast and knocks you off your feet. This may explain something.
posted by Jimbob at 11:49 PM on October 4, 2005

I find tequila, shot or cocktail, tends to give me a kind of manic energy, which does make it an interesting party drink. I was barred from drinking it in my last shared house.
posted by biffa at 2:13 AM on October 5, 2005

My grandma sips "a tequila" (note: not a tequila shot) without getting any drunker than if she had consumed a beer, glass of wine, or other drink. This is also the same grandma that gave me a wiggly blue penis for Christmas once, just to see my mortified-13-year-old-look, so YMMV. She's a spirited one and Mexican to boot, so has probably built up a tolerance of sorts to tequila. scarabic's right though, that it's usually a better tequila than the average American bar would carry, she drinks it slowly, and doesn't drink more than one or two in a sitting.
posted by fionab at 4:22 AM on October 5, 2005

Ditto Vidiot. Tequila kills me when I do have it - it's the only thing that gives me a hangover (shots, sunrises, margaritas, TVRs, whatever).
posted by corvine at 5:47 AM on October 5, 2005

I never drink tequila straight, just margaritas, but I have noticed that two margaritas will make me "wilder" than two vodka martinis or two g&ts.
posted by matildaben at 6:22 AM on October 5, 2005

I find that when I drink tequila mixed with Tabasco, I don't feel quite as drunk as when I drink abrown liquor. Don't do this with good tequila, but never drink anything less than Cuervo. Well (no-name) tequilas are not always actual tequila. Some popular well brands are actually tequila-flavored grain alcohol. There is no telling how that will mess you up. Tequila is one liquor, like gin, you should never be cheap about.

Also, keep in mind that margaritas also have triple sec (or Grand Marnier, or Cointreau, or Blue Caracao) in them, which means the usual booze-to-filler ratio is higher than that of a V&T or Jack & Coke. Then, in some places where they make crappy margaritas, you have the sour mix, which is sugar and lemon juice suspended in artificial emulsion designed to emulate the physical properties of egg whites. I like to call it "food-grade plastics." Sour mix is some nasty shit unless you make it yourself.
posted by mds35 at 6:38 AM on October 5, 2005

err...curacao... with a squiggly thingy.
posted by mds35 at 6:40 AM on October 5, 2005

Also also also--and this is important--some really cheap places make margaritas with white wine instead of tequila. Horrible but true. Always be very wary of 99-cent margaritas.
posted by mds35 at 6:42 AM on October 5, 2005

Tequila or ToKillaYa as I call it, makes me mean. Every time I ever drank tequila shots I would fixate on someone and go after them. Usually to inflict physical pain, and I wouldn't remember any of it the next day. I learned to avoid tequila because hitting total strangers is just not right. Hitting people you know for no good reason is a good way to alienate friends.

Drinking whiskey shots never made me mean nor did I black out from whiskey, but ToKillaYa always turned me into a pissed off drunk looking to hurt someone, and not remembering it the next day. I never could figure out why this is.
posted by bratcat at 6:50 AM on October 5, 2005

Crappier tequila (namely cuervo under the 1800 bar) also have cane sugar in it so your blood stream absorbs the liquor faster (they're not 100% agave- 100% agave tequila is what you should be aiming for). Yes, this is a ploy by Cuervo to get you drunk quicker in hopes that you'll end up drinking more. This comes from a class hosted by Cuervo, so take their word for it.
Like many other liquors, cheaper tequila == worse hangover and general crappier feeling. If you drink the good stuff (Tres Generacions or however you spell it, Patron, Chinaco, etc. Cuervo 1800 isn't terrible) it goes down like water and I don't get hungover from them. Then again, I am a tequila drinker by trade so YMMV

mds35: I assumed all margaritas at a bar/restaurant were made with sour mix. But, if you still have to use sour mix, insist on the bartender using an actual lime to use as the sour. Add in some Grand Marnier and Patron (usually silver) and you have a kickin' margarita. This's also known as a Texas Margarita.
posted by jmd82 at 6:56 AM on October 5, 2005

Most places do use at least some sour mix, the kind from a gun. Even I was guilty of this when I was a bartender, but I tended to only use a small splash, just enough to get a little froth. For taste I relied upon the lime juice.

When I make margaritas for myself, I use Don Julio Gold or Herradura Silver, Cointreau, fresh lime, Rose's Lime Juice, coarse sea salt. Sour mix makes me sick.
posted by mds35 at 7:02 AM on October 5, 2005

Although ethyl alcohol is what makes you drunk, most spirits contain some impurities. Triple-filtered vodka, not much. Something like tequila, much. Obviously these are what give different spirits their distinctive qualities. These are also what cause hangovers. What follows is somewhat speculative: my guess is that tequila has some weird alcohol-like impurities that don't just make you drunk, they make you crazy.

I only drink tequila in margaritas (though I do mix them strong). It does give me a 'hard drunk.'
posted by adamrice at 7:07 AM on October 5, 2005

Sbutler's right on this one, at least for me: Tequilla tends to not affect me for several shots, then come a-whompin'. It's the polar opposite of grappa, which seems to hit before I've even swallowed.
posted by klangklangston at 7:08 AM on October 5, 2005

I spent most of Sunday (re)learning the harsh lessons of tequila. Moving from the Patron to some Jose 1800 was a Bad Idea in itself. It all caught up with me at the end of the night and stuck with me for the rest of the day.

My normal drink moderation tricks (foods, frequent waters, etc) did not seem to help much with the hangover. I guess that's why they call it to kill yeah.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:12 AM on October 5, 2005

scarabic hit it head on. I might add that tequila (does anyone else hear that song with the mere mention of the name?) companies are pushing VERY hard to be the "new vodka" for the hip crowd. Expect to see high priced and higher quality tequilas fairly soon if you haven't already. Vodka to me used to be associated with getting drunk like none other until I got caught up in the snobby vodka drinking craze and treat it like whiskey or scotch. I don't know how well tequila on the rocks tastes or how if its flexible as vodka (I guess probably not), these things are probably defining on how accepted it becomes.
posted by geoff. at 7:18 AM on October 5, 2005

Mussolini (or Mediterranean) Sunrise:

1 1/2 oz Tequila
1/2 oz. Campari
1 oz. Orange Juice

Pour Tequila and OJ over ice. "Float" Campari over mixture.
posted by mds35 at 7:23 AM on October 5, 2005

Yes. I can drink loads of vodka but one margarita? Forget it. I'm wasted.

It seems a lot of people have a different tolerance for it, at least in my experience. Try mentioning tequila in a room and see the reactions you get compared to mentioning another kind of alcohol.
posted by agregoli at 7:34 AM on October 5, 2005

P.S. I think this is because it's from the desert. Things from the desert are vicious.
posted by agregoli at 7:34 AM on October 5, 2005

Tequila makes me super-maudlin. Not drunker, but more emotional than gin or vodka. This could be because I'm used to drinking tequila with my family from El Paso, who always seem to bring the good stuff with them when they visit and always want to talk about the old days.
posted by Sara Anne at 8:12 AM on October 5, 2005

My father always used to claim that with other drinks, you fall over forward, but with tequila, you fall over backwards and hit your head.

I can't see any reason that this should be true, apart from scarabic's eloquent theory; but dad was a smart guy (and a teetotaler when I knew him; he was referring to his WWII Air Force experience.) So I pass it along for what it's worth, as it seems to corroborate what you've noticed.
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:21 AM on October 5, 2005

I'm sure it's all in my head but if I have two or three shots of tequila I actually find it sobering. I don't think there is any way this possible, but since others have thrown in their anecdotal evidence I feel obliged to share mine. I find this applies to tequilas like Patron and not Cuervo, etc.

Sangria, that's a different story . . .
posted by quadog at 10:36 AM on October 5, 2005

I haven't experimented enough to know how drunk it gets you compared to regular tequila shots, but maybe someone could:

The Stuntman Shot

You know how you lick salt and suck lime to soften the effect of the tequila shot? There's another similar way. Get a wedge of lime and some salt on your hand like you normally do.

Snort the salt.
Squeeze lime juice into your eye.
Drink the shot.

You really won't notice the harsh taste of the tequila at all.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 12:11 PM on October 5, 2005

Holy shit. It works! Thank you, TheOnlyCoolTim!
posted by mds35 at 1:27 PM on October 6, 2005

" Patron"

Yeah, thanks for the reccomendation, but head injury incident #3 involved Patron.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:47 PM on October 6, 2005

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