I have never put much stock in mere speculation. I believe in hard science, and that means proving assertions with studies -- preferably double-blind and placebo-controlled. Because if you don't insist upon that level of proof, then it's just people talking, y'know? And people are idiots. Especially drunk people.
"Scientifically speaking, E=MC ... JELLO SHOTS!"
Now, I know people like to flap their jaws about how various alcoholic beverages affect them differently, but for the first fifteen years of my drinking life, I never noticed that all. Perhaps there's a reason for that: science says it's not true. There are no legitimate studies demonstrating any differences between how the alcohol you drink messes you up. Experts will tell you that alcohol is alcohol and the only differences are how fast you absorb it (beer vs. liquor) or what you've mixed it with (caffeine, for example). And as this well-written article I found during my research posits, perhaps there's a psychological component to this drinking myth.
But I have to tell you: for the last couple of years, I have become very aware of how varying boozes affect my mood, and I've modified my drinking to shy away from alcohols that I believe will provide the wrong effect at the wrong time. But there's no good science to support my beliefs, so am I wrong? Yes, I could very well be wrong. So why write an article, when I'm typically opposed to spouting pseudoscience based on anecdotal evidence alone, since it can influence people to make horribly uninformed decisions with terrible consequences?
Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Because I'm not talking about lifesaving medical options. Hell, I'm not even talking about whether to drink or not. I'm talking about how, once you are drinking already, various boozes will give you different buzzes. And I'm just sharing my personal experience, which you should only follow if you also are a 5' 7" divorced Jewish dude from New York, and the author of this novel. Otherwise, there's no reason to think alcohol -- a drug -- will affect you the same way as me. After all, don't drugs affect different people differently? Isn't that why there are all those warnings on pharmaceuticals? We have unique body chemistries. But for what it's worth (nothing), here are five different buzzes I get from five different boozes.
Beer! According to the demographic information that I am in no way privy to as a mere Cracked freelancer, odds are good that if you're reading this, beer plays a role in your life. And why not? It's beer. It's a great entree in the world of both functional and dysfunctional alcoholism. But we're not interested in the general things. The point of this article is how do different drinks affect Gladstone!
So, how does beer affect me?
Beer makes me ... feel slower and clumsy.
OK, that one's not a shocker, right? Because I'm pretty sure that's what alcohol does in general. So in this scientific article devoid of science, beer is kind of the control group, the influence compared to the other beverages. So if I'm drunk on beer you can expect ... me, but just dropping more shit and not in a hurry.
Science says this happens because ...
Well, did you even read the introduction? Introductions are there for a reason, y'know? There really is no reliable science to support why varying alcohols affect drinkers differently. Having said that, if we're using beer as the control group, then what beer does to me personally is the standard response, because alcohol affects the cerebellum, which controls your muscle movements. All the alcohol on this list does that, but beer apparently does it to me in the way you most expect.
Now, vodka was my drink of choice back in college. Why? Because I was a wimpy college boy and vodka mixes great with anything. Any stupid fruit-based beverage is a million times better with vodka in it. Also, I'd do shots of vodka and I'd love the little burn it would give me my chest. My first short stories were written on vodka, and some of them don't suck.
John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Either this is vodka or someone's charging Getty Images way too much for lemonade.
Vodka makes me ... antsy.
Vodka no longer makes me happy like it did when I was a kid. I don't feel like going out and shooting heroin with Bridget Fonda after she's done with the day's filming on the set of Jackie Brown (Oh sorry, it was the '90s when I really enjoyed vodka. Also, like all alcohol, vodka affects your cognitive process, so I might not have actually mainlined with Bridget Fonda).
Science says this happens because ...
Science doesn't say that. At all. Seriously, I'm getting annoyed by your blatant disregard for the introductions. Anyway. Sorry, you won't find any explanation from science for why vodka makes me antsy. It affects me like caffeine, but I'm drunk so it's like getting all that intensity and power and putting it into a shaky gun. Perhaps it's because when I drink now, I'm generally more stressed out and tense than I was as a college kid. Perhaps vodka heightens the mood you feel. I'm not sure. I'm not a scientist, and apparently real scientists are busy trying to cure diseases instead of studying this for some reason.
Well, if you're looking to get drunk but still be classy, then you want to go with wine. The beverage of sophisticates.
Unless you buy it like this. Then it's the beverage of white trash that has a beer allergy.
Wine makes me ... sleepy and headachey.
I no longer like getting drunk on wine. I'll have a glass with dinner when I'm entertaining beautiful young women at expensive restaurants, but that's about it (That was more of a future prediction then a current characterization). But the wine buzz is not worth it for me. I just try to get to sleep before the headache kicks in.
Science says this happens because ...
Well, you're in luck. We do at least know what part of wine might make people more prone to headaches, at least. Actually, that's not really true. As I mentioned, scientists don't spend a lot of time on this, because cancer still exists and who gives a crap about you and your whiny headache. But yes, there's a theory at least. Some believe the cause of wine headaches might be the histamine and tyramine naturally present in wine. It's a one-two punch, as histamine dilates blood vessels and tyramine first constricts then dilates them. Apparently, some people lack an enzyme in their intestines that can help metabolize histamine. Tyramine, on the other hand, can raise blood pressure.
Oh, gin, gin, gin. What can I tell you about gin? Actually, nothing. I never drink gin. I hate gin. I've always hated gin, and as a gin hater, I've never tried to overcome that hatred so I could say I like gin. I don't like gin. I hate gin. I've had it a few times and never gotten drunk off it, for the same reason I haven't gotten drunk off fermented psychedelic toadstools covered in ox puke. I mean, maybe it would give you a buzz, but who could suck down enough to find out?
Accordingly, I'm now going to make this entry about tequila.
George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images
"WTF, you can't just switch it like that! Can you?"
Yeah, I can. I'm off the rails, baby. But why not give tequila it's own entry, you ask? I'll tell you why: because my personal experiences on tequila don't support an entry, either. I haven't drunk it for like twenty years, because, let's face it, tequila is for kids and banditos (That's not racist. I mean like actual Mexican outlaws, not people of Mexican extraction. Why you always got to think the worst of people, Internet?).
So yeah, I don't have any stories about tequila affecting me differently than other booze, but since this is the freakier entry of the list, I will tell you a little story. My junior year of college, during the height of my alcohol tolerance, I did about twelve shots of tequila in one night while watching Planet of the Apes movies. To my surprise, I didn't get drunk. I went to bed at 2 a.m., woke up at 7 a.m. without a hangover, and walked about a mile to my campus job where I'd deliver mail to the English professors.
Here's the thing. At like 8:30 a.m., all the booze that I thought I was impervious to suddenly hit me at once, and I got incredibly drunk. I told my boss I had to go home sick because I had a "bad Mexican food" the night before (I know! A good lie even when drunk) and staggered home. As I continued walking, I got increasingly nauseated. Still, I soldiered on, and when I was like a fifth of a mile from my home, I suddenly knew I had to puke. Problem was, I was on a bridge over a gorge. A gorge where lots of people killed themselves. I considered puking into the gorge, but I knew I was drunk and imagined falling to my death. I pictured my mother thinking I killed myself. I knew it was unlikely, both that I would fall to my death and that anyone would believe I'd kill myself without first leaving a long, whiny suicide note, but I was too scared to puke in the gorge.
I made it all the way to the other side and then puked in public. But in a bush, so no one saw me and no one knew, until the moment where I shared it with the whole world wide web because I had nothing relevant to say about gin.
First things first. Some of you may be asking, well which is it, whiskey or scotch? Here's the thing I didn't know until I was a grown-up: scotch is whiskey; it's just whiskey from Scotland.
Here's a picture I took while researching this column via Jameson's Irish Whiskey. [Exhibit A on Gladstone IRS 1040 deductions form]
Scotch makes me ... calm, happy, and sentimental.
Yeah, I know some people have issues with the dark liquors, but some time in the last two years, I realized I shouldn't be drinking anything else. I'm not shilling for the whiskey industry, and of course whiskey, like any drug, can cause addiction, and has ruined countless lives. When it comes to drinking now, however, this is where I go nine times out of ten. It is just simply mellowing and nice for me. Sure, yoga and meditation work, and those don't destroy your liver, but all I'm saying is that I don't always drink, but when I do, it's scotch.
Science says this happens because ...
Again, it doesn't. Some people claim whiskey makes them mean and angry. Another friend told me it's the buzz that's closest to weed.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty
But this is my experience. Scotch just treats me more nicely than any other booze, and while obtaining this feeling of well-being without a beverage is a noble and healthful endeavor, it's nice that I've learned enough about my body chemistry (minus the actual science details) to pick the poisons that work for me best.
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