December is a dangerous month.
It’s highly likely that with the plethora of parties and catch-ups, you’re going to be privy to a great deal of hangovers.
All you can do is prepare. Put the Chinese on speed dial, stock the fridge with coke and make sure your first aid kit has a pretty decent supply of painkillers.
And in the interest of further minimising your pain, the good people at Stylist have discovered that there are certain drinks less likely to induce a hangover.
Here’s the science.
In the alcoholic beverages industry, congeners are substances, other than the desired type of alcohol, ethanol, produced during fermentation. These substances include small amounts of chemicals such as methanol and other alcohols (known as fusel alcohols), acetone, acetaldehyde, esters, tannins, and aldehydes (e.g. furfural). It has been suggested that these substances contribute to the symptoms of a hangover.
Vodka, surprisingly, tops the list of the drinks least likely to produce a hangover.
The reason is that vodka is so pure that it contains virtually no congeners. Mixing it with sugary soft drinks may lead to a hangover in the morning but for the most part, vodka should leave you relatively pain free.
Other clear spirits like rum and gin are similarly low in congeners and also likely to leave you feeling okay.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, higher-congener, darker-toned liquors like whiskey and bourbon lead to much more severe hangovers. In fact, one congener, methanol, has been found to stay in the body after all alcohol has been eliminated. It’s most prevalent in whiskey and red wine.