A good alcoholic drink for a good buzz
February 1, 2008 8:15 AM   Subscribe

What alcoholic drink do you find the least troublesome on your body? What's your favorite choices for avoiding hangover, reflux, bloating, (insert your own ailment)?

Interestingly when I was in my 20s, we'd drink anything in the house, but now that I'm older my body's getting a lot more picky about its drinks.

* Cheap beer, namely Bud Lite, is dirt cheap but seems to give me brain fog that lasts a few days (I wonder if anyone's noticed anything similar).
* Good beers, like Shiner Light and Sam Adams Light go down smooth but make me feel bloated.
* Wine seems to give quite a hangover, though I'm not sure if that's just the specific wines I'm getting.
* With sugary drinks (Baileys, ciders, coolers, etc) they get me more hopped up on sugar than alcohol... I suspect my blood sugar goes through the roof, and it doesn't mix well with a buzz.
* The hard liquors seem to give me reflux, though maybe there's mixed drinks that are easier on the stomach.

Anyhow... my question is: if you have a picky body, what alcoholic drinks do you find easiest on you, for whatever reasons? Maybe there's something you drink that's worth trying.

For the time being I think I may be steering towards the IPA ales this weekend since they have a lot of "buzz" per bottle and go down smooth. I know I could just not drink at all, but I hold Friday night drinks to be one of my decadent sins.
posted by chips ahoy to Food & Drink (37 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I've never really had a hangover from sake, even when consumed in large quantities. I've had hangovers from just about everything else though.
posted by bertrandom at 8:19 AM on February 1, 2008

I am totally off gin and tequila, neither of which were problems in my drinking glory days. Nowadays beer is fine and wine generally is too (up to like 2.5, 3 glasses) provided I drink a lot of water throughout the night and eat decently. Having one or two cocktails with hard liquor is fine if I'm sipping. You know those pomegranite martinis and crap like that? Those are fun for a treat and generally don't wreak havoc on me if I go slow.
posted by sneakin at 8:19 AM on February 1, 2008

Your list is failing at good beer, as they don't have the word "Light" in the name, for one thing. Check Ratebeer.com and Beeradvocate.com for some local recommendations. I've found that unfiltered, high-alcohol, serious business beers seem to be easier on the body. One theory I've heard is that the vitamins aren't filtered out, helping to counteract the hangover.

So IPAs seem like a good idea.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:22 AM on February 1, 2008

I love gin and soda with a lime wedge. It's very refreshing and easy on the stomach.
posted by chugg at 8:23 AM on February 1, 2008

To me, its not really the alcohol that causes the problem, its the rate at which I consume it. I find if I am paying for the liquor and I am eating something, then I rarely get into a bad place.
posted by mmascolino at 8:29 AM on February 1, 2008

I've had good luck with either a vodka martini or a gin-and-tonic. Basically, see-through drinks.
posted by jquinby at 8:29 AM on February 1, 2008

Johnny Walker Black - On the rocks

Drink a glass of water with each drink.
posted by sfts2 at 8:30 AM on February 1, 2008

dry red wine... but don't over do it; no more than a glass or two.
posted by Doohickie at 8:30 AM on February 1, 2008

Whisky is the only thing I can consume in quantity that won't give me a hangover, funnily enough. Rum, on the other hand, is lethal.

It's the tannins in red wine that cause the hangover and stomach upset. Try a good white wine and see if that helps.

For preventing a hangover, two tips: 1) alternate your drinks with glasses of water, which will keep you hydrated and force you to spread out your drinks a little, and 2) consume something with fruit juice in it, like a fuzzy navel. The theory is, the vitamin C helps counteract some of the effects of a hangover. Apparently tomato juice will do the same thing, in case you like Cesars or Bloody Marys. However, depending on you, you might not be able to stomach the additional acid.
posted by LN at 8:36 AM on February 1, 2008

I have to be most alcohol-intolerant person ever. It started when I had a serious stomach illness and these days a mere glass of wine is enough to cause problems. That said a good microbrew cider doesn't bother me. Bad commercial cider seems to have more sugar than the locally brewed stuff.
posted by melissam at 8:39 AM on February 1, 2008

Secret: Activated charcoal pills from GNC. 2 of em with a glass a water right before bed. Works wonders.

Secret 2: Vodka and Soda with copious lime.
posted by Freen at 8:44 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

A good ginger ale (like Blenheim's) and a shot of whiskey.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:51 AM on February 1, 2008

Grain alcohol, fewer impurities, high bang:buck ratio.
posted by dragonsi55 at 8:51 AM on February 1, 2008

Gin and tonic. Plus it has all that malaria-fighting quinine!
posted by GuyZero at 9:02 AM on February 1, 2008

vodka and cranberry and alternate with water. In my experience for the most part, the cheaper the alcohol, the worse the hangover.
posted by silkygreenbelly at 9:03 AM on February 1, 2008

n'thing gin and tonic,

as bertrandom said, sake is my favorite drunk type and i have never felt bad from it
posted by Black_Umbrella at 9:14 AM on February 1, 2008

A good vodka, mixed with something nice like fruit juice, never makes me feel queasy and doesn't leave me with much of a hangover. (My hangovers tend to come in the form of a headache, and 2 ibuprofen tablets take care of the headache.)
posted by iguanapolitico at 9:14 AM on February 1, 2008

Beer from the local craft brewery in winnipeg always leaves me feeling great the next day. It's not pasteurized and there's no preservatives so that helps a lot. Check to see if there is such a place in your area!
posted by utsutsu at 9:21 AM on February 1, 2008

I seem to be able to drink a lot of Boddington's and wake up hangover-free. My favorite beer, though, is Bell's Two-Hearted Ale, a nice hoppy IPA. That one's pretty high gravity but it doesn't seem to bad the next morning.
posted by altcountryman at 9:26 AM on February 1, 2008

With water, good water.
Lots of it.
Not a fan of soda usually as the acid taste covers the whiskey.

Put some water in the whiskey. It cuts the burn and allows you to enjoy the flavors.
Having a bottle of whiskey, a tumbler, glass for water and a pitcher of good water in front of me has never given me a hangover. I can experiment to see what flavors I get from a whiskey at various levels of dilution. I don't usually do the drink one then drink a pint of water thing. I just keep drinking water all night long.

If I am in a situation where I need to be mobile, I usually ask for a pint glass with water and whiskey. As the night goes you can regulate your intake by specifying how much whiskey. I might start with 2 or three shots in a pint and end with one, or a glass of water.

In reality, I usually just drink beer. In my garage. And whiskey. Straight from the handle. In my garage. Avoid anything with sugar in it if you are serious about drinking.

We also drink a lot of homebrew and some people find that live yeasts wreak havoc on their head and GI tract. I don't have that problem.

Are you in Texas? I've found that I have fewer problems with Lonestar than I do with Shiner. Shiner just is not a very good beer. Try some Live Oak or Real Ale products. I think that Live Oak Pilz and the Real Ale Pale Rye might address your Shiner/Sam problem.
posted by Seamus at 9:27 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Vodka-based drinks are the only ones I can really handle anymore, aside from decent beers and wines.
posted by tastybrains at 9:27 AM on February 1, 2008

Red wines seem to be a lot worse than whites for hangovers, in my experience. There's various hypotheses as to why that might be so, but I don't know if there's any hard evidence in favor of one over another. If you've been drinking red wines, try whites instead.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:27 AM on February 1, 2008

so your body is changing. here's what I suggest: why not take a break from drinking any spirits at all? take a break from Feb 15 (after Valentine's day) until Mar 15. Give your body a rest. Let it settle without pouring more alcohol into it.

Then, limit yourself to low-quantity and high quality. I suggest scotch. Buy the best that you can afford (or better, what you normally would not buy because of price) and sip a wee dram while your buddies are knocking back the brews or swilling the wine.

So next Friday night, steer your mind towards a Lagavullin, a Talisker or Oban. And mid-month, take a break for a couple of weeks. It'll do your body good.
posted by seawallrunner at 9:29 AM on February 1, 2008

My physical weakness, when it comes to booze, is UTIs. Hard liquor (except for in a gin and tonic) is almost always a problem. Beer sometimes is. Red wine -- always fine.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:33 AM on February 1, 2008

I suggest you revisit your notion of "good beer". Lights are little more than weak, watery beers with little taste. They fail at their intent because you'll end up drinking larger sips because of the weak taste, and drink more of the beers.

Guinness is actually low on calories compared to many beers. Try that if you're concerned about calories while still wanting to enjoy a decent beer.

If you are willing to stop worrying about calories, and enjoy a treat for a treat, then IPAs, Hefeweizens, stouts, porters, and just about anything bottle-conditioned or unfiltered will have additional nutrients that help avoid a hangover.
posted by explosion at 9:57 AM on February 1, 2008

PatrĂ³n Silver (premium tequila) doesn't give me a hangover and I only need a bit to feel the effects.
posted by HotPatatta at 9:57 AM on February 1, 2008

Good sake, not that heated crap in a box. Gin and tonics (especially Hendrick's, which has rose and cucumber infusions) can be pretty soothing. I like herbal digestifs (Fernet, in particular), but a lot of people find them appalling. You might want to consider the food you're eating before or with your drinks as well- that could be a significant part of the issue.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:58 AM on February 1, 2008

How about a Moscow Mule? The magic ingredient is Cock 'n Bull Ginger Beer and the recipe is on the bottle.

Juice from 1/2 lime, Vodka and Ginger Beer. Adjust the proportions to your liking.

Ginger is good for digestion so that should help, and the lime juice should give a kick of vitamin C.

You can also skip the vodka and use one as a spacer between cocktails.

Second the Bottle Conditioned IPA's. If those are too bitter, try Belgian style beers.
posted by mhm at 10:12 AM on February 1, 2008

I find that different hard liquors affect different people differently. I can drink tequila like I was born to it, while vodka drinks will give me a hangover. Yet I know people who have the opposite experience.

Try some nights with one liquor then other nights with a different liquor and see what your body says.
posted by Vaike at 10:18 AM on February 1, 2008

Sure, SA and Shiner are better than Bud, but nthing that there's a whole world of better beer out there for you to try. I can't drink the major-label beers AT ALL for fear of immediate crushing headache, but I feel fine drinking craft beers. They're also more expensive and richer, so there's less incentive to pour 'em down the gullet like water.

My safe drink is blended Irish whiskey (Tullamore, specifically.) I can drink a lot of it and not be hungover. I can also drink straight-up chilled vodka or vodka and club soda without hurting.

Interestingly, I can only drink bourbon or Scotch in very small quantities, (and I just don't like Canadian whiskys, so that's moot) -- I attribute this to the stronger oak, as oaky red wines don't treat me very well either.
posted by desuetude at 10:36 AM on February 1, 2008

Secret: Activated charcoal pills from GNC. 2 of em with a glass a water right before bed. Works wonders.

Activated charcoal doesn't really absorb alcohol.

A mojito is the way to go. Especially if you can get Cuban rum.
posted by sero_venientibus_ossa at 10:37 AM on February 1, 2008

Whiskey or vodka. Good whiskey and vodka that is. Never have a problem with those. I loathe bourbon personally (too sweet) so I usually stick with Jamesons/Tullamore Dew or single malt scotch when I can afford it. Any decent vodka is fine on my poor old bod. Tequila hurts me badly, as do some beers. For example I cant drink any New Belgian (Flat Tire etc) microbrews, but cheap-ass MGD is perfectly fine. Also some very high alcohol beers (like barleywines) not only kick my butt drunk-wise, but give me the worst hangovers ever. I could drink the same volume in whiskey and not feel a thing. Weird.
posted by elendil71 at 10:37 AM on February 1, 2008

Vodka soda, lots of lime, in a tall glass. It's just bitter enough that I don't pound them down, and the extra soda from being in a tall glass keeps me hydrated.
posted by ga$money at 11:00 AM on February 1, 2008

I like straight, hard liquor. If I have well whiskey all night it is unpleasant yet satisfying with every sip and I nurse that sucker for a while. You take that same whiskey and mix it in some soda and I can pound them down, get way to drunk, and get a hangover the next day.
posted by munchingzombie at 12:27 PM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Vitamin water and vodka, yum


water with vodka and citrus or some decent flavored vodka

or vodka and emergen-c

tasty and hangover free
posted by tev at 1:11 PM on February 1, 2008

You could try taking milk thistle at the end of the night- I know it sounds gimmicky, but I notice a huge improvement in the awfulness and duration of hangovers when I take it. GNC and places like that sell it as pills, and it's relatively cheap. That could avoid having to choose between different types of alcohol.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 1:55 PM on February 1, 2008

"Mandrake, have you never wondered why I drink only distilled water, or rain water, and only pure grain alcohol?"
posted by oats at 3:29 PM on February 1, 2008

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