Hangover From Bourbon Worse Than Vodka

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A new study from researchers at Brown University found that bourbon causes a worse hangover than vodka, but both beverages impair ability to perform tasks the following day. Results will be published in the March 2010 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

The Study

The study assigned heavy drinkers to two drinking nights, during which they drank either bourbon or vodka to a BAL of .11% one night and a placebo on the other night. Sleep patterns were recorded while the drinkers slept, and the following morning - after BAL had returned to zero or near zero - they responded to a questionnaire about hangover symptoms and participated in neurocognitive assessments.

The Results

  1. Drinking alcohol caused participants to feel more hung-over than the placebo, and participants felt worse after drinking bourbon than after vodka. Bourbon and other dark alcoholic beverages contain more congeners - toxic chemicals that are a byproduct of the fermenting process - than lighter beverages.
  2. Drinking either type of alcohol caused participants to perform equally poorly when they were required to pay attention and make rapid accurate choices. Despite performing worse after drinking, participants reported thinking their driving ability was not impaired.

What Does This Mean?

While people may feel better after consuming lighter-colored alcoholic beverages, drinking either type of beverage to a .11% BAL impairs a person's ability to perform tasks the following day, even after the alcohol has left the person's body.

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