Does Beer Before Liquor Really Make You Sicker?

You may have heard the saying “beer before liquor, never been sicker; liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.” Many feel it is best to start any night out with a few shots instead of beer for this reason. There are definitely cases where the old saying is true, but is this just a coincidence or are other factors involved? Is there actual science to the idea that beer before liquor will actually make you sicker?

Some sources disagree with this theory stating, “it’s the amount of alcohol you consume –- not the order of your drinks –- that matters.” This theory would make sense, but does it explain the correlation between starting your night off with beer then liquor, and ending it with bad experiences on the bathroom floor? The saying is labeled as a myth in most studies with this idea in mind. It doesn’t matter the order in which you drink, but take this idea put forth by The Baltimore Sun.

Let me give you an example of why I don’t believe this WebMD-ness: If I have, say, four beers over the course of a night on the town, and then I take one shot of whiskey at the end of the night, I will be in a bad state. Not because of the quantity of alcohol consumed, but because I just tossed a shot of whiskey on top a stomach full of beer.

Another theory to this idea is that starting with beer, you don’t have the same level of intoxication you may get starting with liquor. Liquor, having a higher alcohol concentration, could possibly sneak up on you later in the night should you decide to weight until after beer to drink it. While you may be feeling perfectly fine after drinking beer, the added liquor could put you over the top. Dr. Rueben Gonzales, a professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Texas, put it this way. “So if you start out drinking beer at a certain rate, and then continue drinking a mixed drink at the same rate, it’s like driving slowly and then stepping on the gas. Your mouth may not know the difference in the alcohol concentration, but your body will.”

In truth, the saying “beer before liquor, never been sicker” is more likely a myth and other factors apply to why sometimes the myth holds true. However, the factors as to why it sometimes holds true can be enough for the saying to be applied when drinking.

3 thoughts on “Does Beer Before Liquor Really Make You Sicker?

  1. Amy Rosenzweig

    I always agreed that this saying was a myth. I don’t think the order of the drinks matter, it just matters how much you drink and how much time. Also, this article made me think if the brand of liquor or beer has anything to do with how sick it makes you. Do certain liquors or beers upset stomachs more? I wonder if that could be an influence.

  2. Mackenzie Jo Pardi

    I’ve never believed this myth at all! It doesn’t even make sense. People would get sick after a night of hard drinking are the ones who consumed too much hence the reason why their heads are in the toilet. We had a girl at our apartment this weekend who projectile vomited on our floor and then proceeded to throw up in front of our door. Was it because she had a beer and then a shot or two? No. This girl had had way too much alcohol and her body couldn’t handle anymore forcing her to throw up the remain of her night on our floor. As long as you are careful about what you drink and how much the order doesn’t matter.

  3. Courtney Michelle Walker

    I 100% agree with you on this blog. I think you should always drink liquor before beer because it hits you harder than beer and takes some time to kick in. And if you had liquor after beer, it would hit you even harder because you already have alcohol in your system, and you would feel sick. Your research definitely supports the hypothesis that if you have beer before liquor, then you will be sicker.

Comments are closed.