Which Alcohol Causes the Worst Hangover?

Drinking alcohol in the correct quantities is fun. It’s a great way to forget your problems, to loosen your tongue and to let your hair down so that you can have a great night with your friends. Unfortunately though, as you drink more the positive effects start to get outweighed by the negative, and you put yourself in serious risk in particular of having to deal with a nasty hangover the next day. And hangovers are quite certainly not fun…

There are lots of articles on the web designed to help you overcome hangovers and to drink in such a way that you will limit them in the first place. What’s even more ideal is to avoid getting the hangover in the first place by choosing your drinks wisely. As it happens, some drinks are more likely to trigger a bad hangover than others, and knowing which is which can help you to have a good time and still feel relatively human the next day. Here’s how to choose the correct alcohol in order to avoid the worst hangovers.


The first factor to look out for when choosing which beverage you want to start the night with, is the colour – with the most brightly coloured drinks being the most likely to give you a sore head tomorrow.

The reason for this is congeners. These are the impurities that come from the fermenting process which are also responsible for the alcohol’s taste and colour. So if you drink a dark ale that’s going to have more congeners than if you drink a light coloured lager – and that will give you more of a hangover.

Likewise if you drink a red wine, that’s going to give you more of a headache than a white wine. And whisky will give you more of a hangover than vodka. Of course you want some congeners because they give the alcohol the nice taste, but too many is definitely bad news for your head and stomach the next day.


So does that make cocktails bad? Seeing as they’re all green and yellow and pink? No not really, because the colour in cocktails comes from fruit juice which is added to the alcohol.

But cocktails are bad for their own reasons – namely the high amount of sugar that is added to them in order to give them their sweet flavour. Again this tastes delicious, but as sugar can exacerbate a hangover – further dehydrating you and causing you to crash later on – it’s also going to make you feel that much worse.

So put down that Sex on the Beach! Seriously, you should really put it down anyway…


One myth you often hear is that expensive alcohol is less likely to give you a hangover than cheap alcohol. Is this true?

To an extent yes. That’s because more expensive alcohols tend to get filtered and distilled more than the cheaper ones (because the time and effort involved in those processes adds to the cost of the alcohol). Thus if you order a higher cost drink, it’s likely that more of the impurities will be removed.

But it doesn’t always necessarily follow though. For one these aren’t the only factors that relate to price, and for another you’re still going to have more impurities in a brandy than you will in a vodka.


Gassy drinks like beer can also have a unique effect on how you feel the next day – which is where rumours regarding ‘beer before wine’ come from.

What’s going on here is that when you drink a gassy carbonated drink, the gas increases pressure in your stomach – forcing the beverage to your stomach walls and causing the alcohol to get absorbed more quickly. This means that you can get drunk much more quickly when you drink a carbonated beverage. This also results in a more acute hangover.

What it also means though, is that if you drink alcohol before or after a drink like wine or liquor, then that alcohol will get more quickly forced into your system too. So really you’re better off avoiding liquor and beer as a mixture altogether.

In theory then, the best way to avoid getting a bad hangover while drinking would be to only drink very expensive vodka or perhaps white wine. You would avoid mixing that with anything and you would make sure to drink plenty of water and to line your stomach with food first.

So now you know. But you’re probably still not going to do that, are you?

Fun Fact!: The technical term for hangover is ‘Veisalgia’ – which comes from the Nordic for ‘uneasiness following debauchery’.

Also if you’re being sick and you find it embarrassing, flap your arms to pretend you’re dragon breathing fire. A chunder dragon!

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