Happy Friday! If you’re anything like the Inverse staff, you’re going to wake up with a hangover tomorrow with the echoes of the new Kendrick Lamar album ringing in your ears and the burn of mediocre whiskey in your throat. It will hurt. But at least you’ll know why, thanks to a new Brit Lab video explaining why hangovers happen.
Confirming various boozing myths and debunking others, the video outlines the pain-causing mechanisms behind our favorite methods of ethanolic inebriation. Yes, champagne and prosecco get you drunk faster; the carbon dioxide bubbles force open the sphincter gating the gut and small intestine, allowing alcohol to pour in and you to turn up. No, the act of mixing Jägerbombs, Car Bombs, and PBRs will not make you more sick — the severity of a hangover is all about quantity, not content. In most cases, it’s not what you’re drinking that makes you ill — it’s how much.
But the video does single out how dark-colored booze potentially exacerbates hangovers. Bordeaux freaks and bourbon heads beware: “Dark” drinks tend to contain high levels of congeners — molecules that naturally occur during the fermentation process — and these have been shown to irritate blood vessels and brain tissues, leading to additional pain on top of the ethanol hangover. Bourbon, in particular, is thought to be the worst, with up to 37 times more congener content than vodka.
Is this bad news for dudes like Drake, who’s getting ready to pour Virginia Black whiskey down the throats of his thirsty fans? Of course not. According to the video, humans drink, on average, one gallon of pure alcohol a year — that is, 100 percent ethanol, which can fuel a fucking engine in its purest form! — regardless of the consequences. Understanding hangovers has never stopped us from getting them. They don’t call it the “oldest recreational drug known to man” for no reason.