The Alcoholic Drinks That Give You The Best And Worst Hangovers

Vodka, rum and brandy all feature but which will help you avoid a pounding headache?

Three stars from the Hangover.
Hangovers They happen. Image Warner Bros.

For centuries, man has strived to answer one of life’s great questions: is it possible to get absolutely legless without waking up to a pounding head, sweaty brow and rollercoaster-style sense of queasiness?

Yoko Inoue reckons you can.

A holistic nutrition expert and founder of the superfood café Shokuiku, she’s been busy offering up some fascinating insight into the alcohol we all tend to consume in copious amounts.

According to Inoue, the strength and savageness of a hangover is not simply down to the presence of the chemical ethanol.

The brain and liver breaks down ethanol in the same way each time, resulting in manageable dehydration and stomach problems, caused primarily by an excess of gastric acid.

Instead, it’s the other ingredients, like sugar and other preservatives, that really give your hangover its ferocity.

“When we digest alcohol, the body has to convert it to acetaldehyde,” she told

“Acetaldehyde can be a burden in the system and cause unpleasant symptoms.”

So which spirits are high in acetaldehyde and which offer the cleanest boozing experience? Inoue knows.

Amy Schumer swigs wine on stage
She's going to regret that Wine won't leave you feeling fine.

“Vodka has the least ‘hangover causing’ toxins, particularly congeners, compared to other dark liquors like scotch and whisky.

“So when selecting a drink, choose cleaner options and space out drinks with extra glasses of water.”

Congeners cause worse hangovers because of the way in which they disrupt PH levels in the body and, according to Inoue, it’s bad news for Bordeaux fans.

“Preservatives in wine called sulfites and congeners in spirits are chemical compounds you need to watch out for,” she warned.

“Common congeners include amines, amides, acetones, polyphenols and histamine.”

With congeners playing a key role in the ageing process of several different types of alcohol, those keen to avoid a really bad hangover had best avoid all wine, whisky and brandy, just to be on the safe side.

That’s only the start though. Inoue has warned that fizzy drinks like cava and Prosecco may also be worse when it comes to getting a hangover.

Vodka The way to go

There is a silver lining for anyone rather partial to a brandy or glass of Prosecco though, with Inoue offering up a few natural remedies to help beat the hangover.

“Foods like broccoli, kale, lemon, turmeric and beetroot are great for your liver,” she said.

“Also, herbs such as milk thistle, dandelion, Chanca piedra, burdock and schisandra berries should be included in your diet to assist with the liver function.”

There you have it – it might be best to stick to the vodka and broccoli this Christmas.

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