Beer Before Liquor: Fact or Myth?

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Everyone knows the saying “beer before liquor never sicker,” so they typically refrain from drinking beer before liquor. But that doesn’t mean that you should drink liquor before beer, either. Many believe that this is to do with the hangover the following day. Switching from beer to liquor or vice versa might not have as much of an impact as you’d think. Could the saying that’s been around for hundreds of years be a myth? Read on to discover!

The Origin of the Saying

The liquor before beer saying has been around for quite some time, and only a few people are sure how it came about. One belief is that people used to drink beer, wine, and similar low-alcohol drinks before moving to hard liquor. The hangover the following day led them to believe that the order to the drinks was to blame. Naturally, it also led them to develop the liquor before beer, never fear saying.

Another belief is that, since clear liquor, among similar drinks, can spike your alcohol level faster than beer, it could take you over the edge. The beer alone may not cause the hangover, but adding liquor on top could bring you close to hangover territory. That could have contributed to the popularity of the beer before liquor saying.

Does the Drinking Order Have Any Effect?

The “liquor before beer you’re in the clear” saying makes it seem that drinking in a specific order won’t cause problems. However, several studies suggest that mixing drinks doesn’t matter since your bloodstream will absorb the alcohol as soon as it hits your stomach. And, as far as your stomach is concerned, alcohol is alcohol, and it’ll be broken down in the same way and will take the same amount of time to do so. Having a beer after liquor or the other way around doesn’t matter.

That said, you’ll need to pay attention to the amount of alcohol you drink, though. You shouldn’t have to worry about a hangover or any other issues, provided you don’t overdo it. Switching or not switching between different drinks offers no protection or benefits from potential health consequences. Limiting your overall intake will be recommended if you’re worried about these.

Factors That Increase the Risk of a Hangover

While the liquor vs. beer debate makes it seem like what you drink is what matters, multiple other factors determine your risk of a hangover. The most notable one is the amount of alcohol you consume, but others include:

  • Eating a proper meal. Drinking on an empty stomach will cause the alcohol to move from your stomach to your intestines more quickly, where it’ll be absorbed more rapidly and raise your blood alcohol levels.
  • How often you drink. People who drink more frequently have higher chances of getting hangovers, and repeated heavy drinking might even increase the severity of the hangovers.
  • Whether you smoke. Smoking puts you at greater risk of having a hangover.
  • Genetics can play a significant role in how you metabolize alcohol and how drinking affects your blood sugar levels, blood vessel dilation, sleep, and hydration—factors that affect the severity of your hangover.
  • Congeners levels. These compounds can be found in different drinks and may also affect your risk of a hangover.

While the beer before liquor, never been sicker saying makes it seem as though order matters, it shouldn’t. Paying attention to the above-mentioned factors will minimize your risk of a hangover and lower your chances of any other negative consequences. You wouldn’t want to have a blackout either, for example.

The Bottom Line

Drinking liquor before beer, or the other way around, doesn’t have an impact on whether you’ll develop a hangover. If you’re planning to mix drinks, that shouldn’t be an issue. However, you’ll need to consider multiple other things, like limiting your alcohol intake, having a proper meal, and not drinking too often to avoid feeling bad in the morning.


Can I drink beer before liquor?

Many believe switching from beer to liquor is bad, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Studies don’t show a link between switching between these drinks and developing a hangover or other issues. Instead, these studies have highlighted the connection between the volume of alcohol intake and these issues. That’ll keep you much safer than focusing on the order of your drinks.

Is it bad to mix beer and liquor?

There shouldn’t be any direct consequences of mixing your alcohol. At a minimum, it wouldn’t be the cause of a hangover. You could probably mix liquor and beer any time you want. However, you’ll need to be careful and limit your alcohol intake. If you don’t, you could be on the road to a hangover.

Does mixing alcohol matter?

Combining beer and liquor doesn’t seem to have any potential health consequences. There are negatives associated with alcohol consumption overall, and they focus primarily on the amount of alcohol you drink rather than what types you drink. You’ll need to restrict your alcohol intake and know your limits. Beyond this, mixing your drinks shouldn’t cause any problems.

Is beer before liquor a myth?

Yes, the liquor before beer quote is a myth. It has no truth to it since your hangover is mainly caused by the amount of alcohol you consume. Mixing beer and liquor often isn’t recommended, but no matter if you drink beer before liquor or the other way around, your chances of developing a hangover don’t depend on a myth.

Table of Contents
The Origin of the Saying Does the Drinking Order Have Any Effect? Factors That Increase the Risk of a Hangover The Bottom Line
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