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AstroChuck's avatar

Why do different hard liquors affect us differently?

Asked by AstroChuck (37363points) August 7th, 2010 from iPhone

I’ve been repeatedly told a drink is a drink is a drink. And although they may all have the same proof of alcohol, gin (a liquor that I don’t particularly care for) will knock me on my ass quicker than rum. And the buzz I get from rum is different than the one I get from tequila.
Why is this?

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18 Answers

Mom2BDec2010's avatar

Its the way your body breaks down the chemicals and ingredients, and each different brand has all kinds if different chemicals and ingredients. Everyone has a different tolerance level. Thats as simple as i can make it.

stardust's avatar

I read something about this recently which stated that this is a myth. Different drinks do not affect us differently – a drink is a drink as you say. The article stated that it’s all in the mind. So if you tell yourself that gin will knock you on your ass, then that’s what happens and so on.
This info was on this site

Coloma's avatar


Haha…makes sense, the mind is powerful.

I enjoy a bloody mary now & then, but I am mostly a wine and beer drinker, I don’t do shots of anything…blech! lol

I like Baileys in my coffee in the winter, it’s a nice mellow little high. ( At night with decaf, not in the morning, haha )

anartist's avatar

Caloma if you have AC Baileys is good year round, and if you no longer have a 9 to 5 it’s nice in the morning too.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

I think (read: “educated” guess) that it’s because different alcohols are made out of different things. You pretty much never have 100% alcohol: it’s alcohol made from grapes, or hops, or apples, or potatoes, etc… So the reaction has to do with what it’s made of.

But really, I have no idea, and this is a Great Question, because my first alcohol facts came from college students who were borderline alcoholics and lying sociopaths terribly misinformed.

janedelila's avatar

Your clear liquors will produce less of a hangover.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@janedelila Your finer liquors will also produce less of a hangover.

YARNLADY's avatar

Not only do different liquors affect different people, but the affect the same person differently depending on the circumstances, how soon after you ate, what you phical condition is at the time, and how fast you consume the drink.

Keysha's avatar

@stardust if that were true, then my father would not have gotten mean on whiskey, but lovable on moonshine or rum.

Cruiser's avatar

I have heard that same observation from most of the 6 year olds I meet and quit drinking the cheap stuff…if you are going to sneak booze go for the Crown! Plus as you get older you will develop a tolerance for the booze and your taste buds will mature and you will begin to appreciate the nuances of a good liquor like you do for Good Humor bars. All in good time.

zenele's avatar

I definitely feel different after drinking whiskey, beer or wine. Each one has a completely different effect on me.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

I personally can tell the difference between a tequila buzz and a beer or whiskey buzz. I always wondered if it had to do with what the alcohol was based on. Tequila is from the agave. Most whiskeys are grain based. I believe rum is more sugar based. I can’t help but think this has something to do with the effects people feel.

AstroChuck's avatar

@janedelila- That doesn’t apply to me. To this day I’ve never had a hangover. When I over-imbibe I will get sick a couple hours after and start barfing. After it’s out (usually that’s after vomiting a couple three more times) I’m fine. Next morning my wife is moaning (from the hangover, not, y’know…) but my head is clear and I feel great. Those are the times I think she hates me. :D

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@AstroChuck Is the question about the same liquor affects people differently or how different alcoholic beverages affect one person differently? Or both?

AstroChuck's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer- I was asking about how different types of liqour will affect one person differently.

downtide's avatar

@AstroChuck this is exactly what happens to me when I drink too much. Even when I haven’t thrown it up, I’ll always drink plenty of water just before going to bed, which counteracts the dehydration effects.

To answer the original question, I haven’t actually noticed any difference in how different hard liquors affect me. There are some I like and some I don’t, but as far as degrees of drunkenness, and physical effects goes, they all affect me the same. I generally prefer single malt Speyside Scotch whisky, or a good cognac. I have expensive tastes so I don’t drink hard liquor very often!

lapilofu's avatar

@Keysha Actually, that could still be true. That is, after all, what “all in the mind means.” Your father was likely not immune to psychological effects.

I’ve never noticed a difference in the way different alcohols affect me and I’ve never heard anyone back up such a claim with science—so I’m inclined to believe the distinct effects are more psychological than physical.

(Except that whiskey burns a little more on the way down and consequently warms me up a little more. But it’s a very short-lived effect.)

augustlan's avatar

I’ve heard the same thing from a number of people. “Whiskey makes me mean”, etc. I haven’t felt the effects myself, but I find it hard to believe that all of those folks are lying. My husband says if I ever come home and find him drinking gin, I should turn around and go somewhere else for the night. Apparently, that’s his ‘DO NOT DRINK’ beverage. Yet when he drinks Jim Beam he’s quite a genial drunk.

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