The number of myths surrounding alcohol rivals the amount of cocktails that you’ll find at a bar. We’ve all heard one at some point—beer before liquor makes you sicker, moonshine causes blindness, et cetera—but distinguishing the true ones from the ones brimming with bullsh*t will surely aid you in your ability to drink like a smart person rather than a total dope.
So, read this list thoroughly and take solace in the fact that beer before liquor does not make you sicker.
1. Myth: Eating a meal while drinking prevents hangovers
Sometimes…but only with certain kinds of meals. Eating a salad before a night of shots and bottles won’t do much for you—however, a thick-ass burger may help soak up some of that booze.
Elizabeth Kovacs, director of the Alcohol Research program at Loyola University, says that red meat has an especially high concentration of amino acids and B vitamins that helps process the byproducts of alcohol. Red meat, smart drinking, and a lot of water will help you not feel like sh*t in the morning.
2. Myth: “Beer before liquor, never been sicker; liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.”
Surprisingly, this age-old pre-drink rhyme doesn’t hold up to science. The order in which you consume booze doesn’t actually matter—it’s how much you drink.
3. Myth: Light beer will help you lose weight
Alright, here’s the skinny (lol) on light beer—there are typically less calories, less fat, and less carbohydrates than “regular” beer. However, a Guinness Draught only has 125 calories in comparison to the 110 of your typical light beer. And, like any other diet food or drink, you’re going to consume way more of that product when you think it’s good for you.
4. Myth: All vodkas are made from potatoes
Nope! There are plenty of vodkas out there made of sorghum, corn, rye or wheat. There’s even vodka made out of cow milk. 99 percent of vodkas in the world are distilled from grain.
5. Myth: Bacon won’t help cure a hangover
Good news, everybody! Surprisingly, yes, bacon can help a hangover. Bacon is not only high in awesomeness, but it’s chock full of (delicious) fat and protein—which breaks down into amino acids and speeds up the metabolism, thus ridding your body of alcohol more quickly. Pro-tip: try a bacon sandwich to get some extra carbs.
6. Myth: Drinking enough non-alcoholic beer will get you hammered
Is there alcohol in non-alcoholic beer? Yes, but only trace amounts, typically 0.5 percent per bottles. It’s pretty hard to get drunk off of it—trust me, I tried it and it didn’t work.
7. Myth: You should drink a ton of red wine every night
You probably shouldn’t drink a ton of anything every night. However—a small amount of red wine is okay. It seems like every other year there’s a new study saying red wine is good for you, followed by a brand new study saying red wine will melt your brain and cause cancer. However, the Yale-New Haven Hospital reports that drinking a four-ounce glass of red wine is good for you. It can protect against certain kinds of cancers, help with memory loss, fight weight gain, and even help keep your teeth healthy. Weird, right? We’ll believe it until the next study comes along.
8. Myth: Whiskey dick isn’t real
Well, that’s a funny story. Not “ha ha” funny, but “oh, interesting” funny. Whiskey dick is real.When you drink too much alcohol, blood vessels expand, allowing blood to flow more quickly—the problem is, there is no closing of the vessels to maintain a solid erection. However, a small amount of alcohol can actually aid in the erecting of a peep. So, drink a little, but not a lot? Science.
9. Myth: Too much dark beer is bad for you
Here’s what you’ll find in dark beer: fiber, iron, and silicon, which can actually prevent osteoporosis. And, while WebMD is perfect for convincing you that you have rabies and/or cancer, they’ve also reported that dark beer is good for the heart, as it’s rich in flavonoids, which has powerful antioxidants and prevents blood clots.
10. Myth: You can’t smoke alcohol
I’ve tried it and, to be honest, I’m still pretty on the fence on its effectiveness. However,Forbes reports that it works…but almost too well. While smoking booze bypasses caloric intake, it’s far harder to track how much alcohol is going into your system, leaving you susceptible to alcohol poisoning. So, be careful, and don’t make the same number of mistakes I did.
11. Myth: Moonshine will make you go blind
Blindness via moonshine can happen if you’re not careful with what you drink. However, this won’t happen with the kind of moonshine you buy in stores. Methanol is a byproduct of alcohol distillation and, when foolishly mixed in with the regular booze, can cause severe optic nerve damage. So, please please drink moonshine and white whiskey made by legitimate distillers.
12. Myth: A cocktail is made the same everywhere in the country
Oh, lord no. Take the Old Fashioned, for instance. The typical method for making the popular drink is mixing whiskey, bitters, and sugar. However, in the midwest, the very same drink is made with brandy and muddled fruit. Some say this is because of the German influence in the region, and I’m not one to dispute that.
13. Myth: Alcohol kills brain cells
No, it doesn’t. Light drinking does not kill brain cells—it doesn’t even touch brain cells. Heavy drinking, however, can damage the brain…specifically dendrites, which are the branch-like ends of the brain cells. This can cause cognitive problems, but it can be reversible with therapy.
14. Myth: Booze is only for drinking
You can do a hell of a lot with booze—especially vodka. Vodka can treat jellyfish stings, eliminate the residue from stickers, heal poison ivy, and even repel bugs. The only thing it can’t do? Help you find true love. JK.
15. Myth: Tequila will get you drunker than beer
WRONG. One form of alcohol will not get you more drunk than another. Dr. Guy Ratcliffe, medical director of the Medical Council on Alcohol, lays it out for us in an article on The Guardian: “Any difference is dependent on the rate at which it is drunk and the amount. Alcohol is a simple molecule that is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. So if you drink a few shorts—spirits are generally 40 percent ABV quickly, you’ll get a rapid increase in your blood alcohol level.”
16. Myth: Nightcaps help you sleep
For the love of God, do not believe the myth that is the nightcap. Dr Yohei Sagawa, of the department of neuropsychiatry at Akita University, said: “Although the first half of sleep after alcohol intake looks good, the result of the assessment shows that drinking leads to insomnia rather than good sleep.”