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Do Different Liquors Really Give You Different Drunk Feelings?

Different Liquors

We’ve all experienced it or heard the tales: one friend gets loud and boisterous after downing tequila shots, while another seems to turn into a sappy, emotional mess when they’ve had too much wine. Does the type of alcohol you consume really change the nature of your drunkenness? Many believe different liquors produce distinct “drunk” personalities, but the science tells a different story.

The key factor that determines how alcohol affects you is the amount of ethanol you’ve consumed. Ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, is the intoxicating ingredient in all alcoholic beverages, whether beer, wine, or liquors like vodka, rum, or whiskey. Once that ethanol enters your bloodstream, it causes the same physiological effects on your body and brain, regardless of which drink it originated from.

So where does the widespread belief that different alcoholic drinks lead to different drunken experiences come from? Most experts point to a combination of personal biases, environmental influences, alcohol myths perpetuated in society, and our own expectations shaping our perceived effects.

For instance, you may associate relaxing at home with having a couple glasses of wine, so you tend to feel calmer and more at ease when drinking it. But if you’re downing shots of potent tequila at a boisterous party, the energetic atmosphere could contribute to you feeling more uninhibited and rambunctious when under its influence.

The rate at which someone consumes alcohol, as well as what mixers or other ingredients are involved, can also play a role. Quickly throwing back several shots of hard liquor tends to bring on more severe intoxication effects faster than gradually sipping a few beers or glasses of wine over a longer period of time.

And let’s not discount the power of expectations and personal beliefs to shape our experiences. If you’ve always believed tequila makes you an obnoxious party animal while wine simply makes you tired and sleepy, you may subconsciously fulfil that prophecy when drinking those beverages.

While the ethanol itself causes consistent effects like slurred speech, loss of coordination, nausea, and lowered inhibition when consumed in excess, individuals can certainly feel different emotional or behavioural effects they associate with various alcoholic drinks. Those subjective experiences are coloured by mindset, environment, personal tolerance, and ingrained alcohol myths.

At the end of the day, while different drinks may anecdotally “feel” different due to psychological factors, ethanol is ethanol; the physiological effects don’t significantly vary based on whether it came from a glass of cabernet or a shot of vodka. Your best bet is to understand your personal limits, drink in moderation, and not buy into the myth that certain liquors will make you feel or act in exaggerated ways.

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