Beer before Liquor – Facts

Imbibers will confidently tell you the order in which you take your alcoholic drinks matters. “Beer before liquor” is a common statement telling you to first indulge in soft alcoholic drinks before the tough ones like spirits. However, those medical experts make it simpler: The amount of alcohol you take is what matters. 

Most people who drink believe that having a beer before liquor puts you in the clear with hangovers, headaches, and even being sick. In short, you should take your alcoholic drinks in a specific order. Although most people swear by this rule, others question if it holds water at all. There is always a warning on the label of each alcoholic bottle, “too much alcohol is harmful to your health.” 

beer before liquor

Medically, the amount of alcohol consumed within a specific time frame determines how one may feel afterward. Switching from liquor to beer might help because you will consume less alcohol while the vice versa is true. 

The Origin of Beer Before Liquor Mantra

Whether it is a myth or fact, you will wrap your mind around it by the end of this article. When drinking, most people start with drinks that have a low alcohol content like wine and beer then move to liquor as they progress. When imbibers get sick as a result of drinking, they blame alcohol, not how much they drank.

The phrase is backed by how the body digests alcoholic drinks. Carbonated alcoholic beverages like beer and wine irritate the stomach lining, which increases the alcohol absorption rate. On the other hand, those who start to drink liquor and then beer take less of it. After a day of drinking, it is common for people to blame it on the last drink they drank. 

Liquor has a high alcohol volume which easily and quickly spikes your blood pressure, unlike beer. Therefore, starting with beer, then finishing with spirits is likely to cause a hangover thanks to the alcohol content. On the reverse, starting with liquor and then finishing with beer limits you from getting a severe hangover because alcohol absorption is slow.

beer before liquor

Scientifically, the mantra “beer before liquor” is nothing but a myth because what matters is how much you drank and if you had food while drinking. There is zero chemical reaction between beer and liquor to cause hangovers. 

The sequence of drinking depends on your metabolism. The liver is only able to process one standard type of alcohol every hour efficiently. Also, men can process more alcohol as compared to women. 

Factors that can cause a hangover

Many factors can make you sick after drinking. As aforementioned, it is how much you drink, and not the order you drink. So, choose your poison wisely, and if you decide to take the beer path, perhaps that’s where you should stick and vice versa to liquor. 

The cause of a hangover is not well understood, but dehydration plays a considerable part. Although mixing drinks can speed up the level of absorption, you are most likely to drink less beer than liquor because it is heavy. 

  • Drink plenty of water while you drink. Try to make it an equal ratio.
  • Also, oxygen will clear your head, leading to a good night’s sleep. After drinking, you can take a walk, and the following morning you will feel better.
  • Liquor spikes your blood pressure more quickly than beer, the reason for a hangover.
beer before liquor
  • It would help if you ate before drinking and even as you drink. Why? Alcohol on an empty stomach allows the alcohol to move quickly to your intestines, meaning it is absorbed rapidly spiking your alcohol volumes.
  • People who drink often have a high alcohol concentration level leading to hangovers.
  • Metabolizing alcohol depends on your genetic composition hence the effects of alcohol like sleep, hydration, blood sugar levels, and blood vessel dilation. All of these factors can influence hangovers.
  • Congeners are compounds found in alcoholic drinks, and they can contribute to hangovers. And, there are some alcoholic drinks with higher levels of congeners.
  • Smokers have a higher chance of getting hangovers than nonsmokers. 


Drinking, then waking up sick is never anyone’s plan. As a way of avoiding being sick, you will listen to all kinds of advice, including “beer before liquor.” However, even following this order does not guarantee you a typical day after heavy drinking. Following the hangover influencers above, you might be lucky enough to drink and not get a hangover ever again. 

Mixing beer and liquor might not be the only reason you get sick the day after. But it only means you end up consuming more alcohol fast leading to intoxication. Carbonated alcoholic drinks will not allow you to drink quickly or a lot while you drink more liquor fast without knowing it. The bottom line is how much alcohol you drink that makes you sick and not how much you mixed. 

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