General Question

john65pennington's avatar

When the temperature hits near freezing, which is better to drink...alcohol or coffee?

Asked by john65pennington (29235points) December 5th, 2010

You finally landed tickets to the Super Bowl. You and your s/o are planning the trip of a lifetime to see the game in person. The weather forecast calls for snow and a temperature of 25 degrees with a northerly wind of 10 mph at kickoff time. You both are taking insulated clothing to keep the wind off the outside of your body. But, what will keep the inside of your body warm? You only have one of two choices: alcohol or coffee. Question: in cold and freezing weather situations, which will keep your body the warmest…..alcohol or coffee and why?

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20 Answers

marinelife's avatar


“While alcohol may make us feel hotter, it actually aids in decreasing core body temperature. “Consumption of alcohol undoes many of the human body’s healthy reflexes, one of which is keeping the core body temperature warm in cold weather,” says Dr. William G. Haynes, Director of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Iowa College of Medicine.”

University of Iowa

JilltheTooth's avatar

Alcohol dilates your capillaries, so you lose heat faster, not a good thing. I’d go for the coffee. There may be arguments against that, too, I’ll be interested to see.

truecomedian's avatar

Only in extreme conditions does alcohol help. In below zero temperatures if you drink enough booze it will act like anti-freeze in the blood. But above that it only gives the feeling of warmth. So coffee would be better in the conditions you described.

coffeenut's avatar

Can I have both? Put some JD in my coffee?

cazzie's avatar

Coffee. Alcohol is dangerous in cold weather. Like @JilltheTooth said, it actually makes you lose heat by expanding the blood vessels on the surface of your skin, exposing your system to the cold MORE. The brandy shot is given as a blood thinner upon rescue , not in an attempt to stay warm during exposure.

Pouring something warm into your body will help give you the ‘feeling’ of warmth, making you more comfortable. No amount of warm liquid will help your fingers, toes, ears and nose if you’re not dressed properly.

We have a saying in Norway. There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad dressing for the weather. (it rhymes in Norwegian.) There is no substitute for wool socks and proper, thick boots (I have seal skin ones and they are amazing) and a good wool hat and gloves. Wool and fleece are order of the day here when it reaches -25C.

Sorry about your seal skin ban, America. I wouldn’t trade my coat and boots for anything.

Coloma's avatar

Yep, as @coffeenut says, BOTH!

Baileys in the coffee thermos…mmmmmm!

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Hot soup or stew. It will hydrate and feed you, and it’s also less likely to act as a diuretic, meaning that you may not have to join the long lines for the facilities at half time.

Cruiser's avatar

You are only going to be out there 3 hours in a stadium this is not an outdoor survival situation. So stuff your pockets with hand warmers, have Irish coffee and have a great time!!

Coloma's avatar

Wear a trench coat and/or bring a lap blanket and pack a urinal bottle…lucky men! haha

Jude's avatar

Coffee with Bailey’s.

I had it this morning.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Id say coffee, but if I was at the super bowl, like cruiser said its not a life or death scenario so id probably be getting drunk. I mean its the fuckin super bowl after all.
@Coloma you could be lucky too :P

JilltheTooth's avatar

@uberbatman : It’s kinda creepy that the device on the link is swaying seductively ~...

El_Cadejo's avatar

@JilltheTooth lol yea but it is fucking brilliant, gotta give it that much

Kayak8's avatar

Sorry I got distracted into thinking the Browns were in the Super Bowl and forgot about the question.

downtide's avatar

Definitely coffee. It will warm your core temperature. And the cup will keep your hands warm too.

JilltheTooth's avatar

And coffee is God, after all.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Someone please get an ambulance to @Kayak8. He’s hallucinating.

Kayak8's avatar

Someone please send an ambulance to @CyanoticWasp who thinks I am a guy!

JilltheTooth's avatar

Somebody better send a vet, you’re both obviously dogs.

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