Have you ever been out getting a drink with someone when they told you that a specific type of alcohol gets them too intoxicated and they refuse to drink it? Or have you heard someone repeat the common refrain: “Beer before liquor, never been sicker; liquor before beer, you’re in the clear”?
In both cases, the implication here is that one type of alcohol is going to impact a person differently than another. Maybe they believe that drinking liquor is going to make them overly intoxicated, and beer will not. But is there any evidence that different types of alcohol actually hit you differently? Or is all alcohol the same?
Different alcohol levels in different drinks
To start with, alcohol generally is the same. The amount of alcohol you consume determines how intoxicated you are. It doesn’t matter if you’re drinking beer, wine or liquor. It just matters how much alcohol you drink in total.
What is actually happening when people think that certain types of alcohol hit harder is that those types contain more alcohol in a smaller amount of liquid. All you need is one shot to have an entire “drink” of whiskey. But you would also need an entire 12-ounce glass of beer to have the same amount of alcohol. It’s simply more concentrated in whiskey than it is in beer or wine.
When people don’t fully understand how much alcohol they’re drinking, they could be surprised to find that they’re over the legal limit when they didn’t believe they had too much. Those who end up facing DWI charges need to know about all of the legal options at their disposal.