7 Types of Alcohol that Cause the Worst Hangovers

By Heather Aucker


Who is this “moderation” everyone keeps saying to drink with? If you have experienced a hangover, you might want to consider moderation a drinking buddy. Waking up with a grueling headache, muscle aches, fatigue, nausea, and an overall horrible mood, usually sets the tone for a challenging day after a night of over-indulged drinking. Of course, moderation is the key to dodging the aftermath of too much alcohol, but it is also valuable to know which types of alcohol and drinks to stay clear of and why they cause so much discomfort. 

Why do some alcoholic drinks cause far worse hangovers? 

The answer to this question lies in the fact that some alcohols are fermented with a byproduct known as congeners, which provides alcohol like red wine, bourbon, and brandy with a dark color. The higher the congeners of alcohol, the higher the risk of you being sick. A tip to remember - if you find yourself wanting to indulge in a finger or two of brandy or bourbon, the more expensive brands tend to be distilled, which helps remove some congeners. 

Are clear alcohols better to drink to avoid hangovers?

You might think that just drinking clear alcohol or even light-colored types will keep you from experiencing a hangover, but unfortunately, that is not the case at all. Besides not drinking alcohol made with congeners, any over-indulgence of drinking alcohol will cause you to  encounter a hangover. Remember that alcohol of any kind is a diuretic, which implies consuming a vast amount; will cause dehydration which reduces the magnesium and potassium levels stored in the body, ultimately causing body aches, fatigue, and headaches.

So, which drinks cause the worst hangovers?

In truth, consuming too much of anything will result in some poor outcomes. However, if you’re planning to drink, little or a lot, here are alcohol types that cause harsher hangover symptoms and why they cause so much misery. 


#1 Alcohol (vodka) + caffeine (Red Bull)

The exhilarating taste of a high energy drink, like Red Bull mixed with the savory flavor of vodka, might be the ultimate party drink, but also the source of a rigorous next day hangover. You might think the mixture of an energy drink and alcohol will keep you awake and still enjoy the effect of alcohol, but the two work against each other. An energy drink is a stimulant, while the vodka is a depressant. Those components together in the body can cause a person to drink a more generous amount without noticing how drunk they are. If you’re not wanting to feel completely drained of energy the next morning, then avoiding alcohol mixed energy drinks would be the best option. 


#2 Sweet Drinks

Who doesn’t like a sweet-tasting drink? We all know how sugar makes the medicine go down easier, right? Well, truthfully, mixing alcohol with sweet blends, juices, and sodas will make the lousy hangover level rise. To be fair, it’s not the sugar that causes a hangover to be worse - the human body typically does an adequate job of breaking down sugar in comparison to how the body processes alcohol. The fact remains that sugary cocktail drinks are easy to drink because they taste delicious and are hard to turn one down after another. Overall, sweet-tasting mixed alcohol drinks aren’t to blame for bad hangovers - it’s how many a person tends to drink in a short amount of time. 


#3 Tropical and Mixed Drinks

Along with the fact that sugary tasting drinks cause hangovers to be worse, tropical and mixed drinks fall under the same category of adding to a hangover’s grief. You might be sitting on the beaches of the Caribbean, wanting to taste the culture through a tasty Hurricane cocktail, or just at your local bar wishing you were on a tropical island. No matter where you are, drinking too much of the combination of sugary juices and the dark liquor will ultimately bring you to a horrible state of hangover suffering. What you have to remember is that sweet drinks are easier to drink. So many people find they can drink tropical or mixed drinks faster and a lot more of them. 


#4 Champagne 

With the harshness of a hangover, congeners are not the only leading influence. When it comes to having a wicked champagne hangover, it all has to do with those bubbles, then the slight amount of congeners. What gets the alcohol consumed quicker in the bloodstream in champagne all points to the around 7.5 grams of dissolved carbon dioxide contained in a bottle. This factor is true for any drink with carbonation like soda, except sparkling wine which contains a distinct amount more. Again, champagne is another drink that includes a lot of sugar, which causes the hangover to be worse as it dehydrates. 


#5 Red Wine

Although there are noteworthy historical literature and great songs written about the intoxicating taste of red wine, more importantly, this particular alcohol beverage choice has a legendary hangover. As the color of this wine hints to the amount of congeners used to create the romantic hue, red wine falls under a choice that will lead to a worse hangover. Not to mention red wine contains a great extent of tannins that is a naturally occurring mixture found in the skins of the grapes and stems. Tannins provide red wine with that distinct dryness separating it from being a sweet beverage. A common issue of headaches that many people experience after drinking red wine indicates a sensitivity to tannins. So when it comes to choosing a drink to elate your palate for a relaxing and refined flavor, perhaps pouring a white or a light color wine will meet your satisfaction while reducing the agony of a hangover. 


#6 Dark Liquors 

This might sound like a broken record we may be playing here; however, it can’t be said enough that dark liquors cause severe hangovers. We repeat this tip to help out fellow drinkers avoid a day of despair by not overindulging in liquors such as whiskey, bourbon, dark rum, and brandy. These alcohol types contain more congeners, which provide the liquor with its deep dark complexion, flavor, and aroma. If you missed this point made in the above text - congeners may cause hangovers to be worse. These dark liquors tend to cause a rough hangover but usually are not a drink of choice to binge drink but to be sipped with delight and care.


#7 Well Drinks

If you’re asking yourself, what is a well drink? Well, It’s not one particular drink but a mixed drink that is crafted with cheaper end liquor or house liquor. It’s the choice of having a long island made with lower end gin, rum, vodka, triple sec, and tequila. The reason why these drinks are called well drinks is basically from where these types of alcohol are placed behind the bar. The “well” is an area for bartenders to have easy access to for ingredients like ice, juice mixers, and liquors to make drinks quickly in an organized area. If you’re not familiar with the term, let alone the configuration of a bar, the well is where the cheap liquor is found while the most expensive brands are usually displayed on a top-shelf. Ultimately, a well drink doesn’t have a significant cost shock to your end of the night bar tab but will have a major effect on your hangover misery. You do get what you pay for when it comes to drinking, and well drinks are inclined to have more congeners then higher-end liquor. 


Here’s to drinking with moderation

Whatever your intentions are for drinking, if your ending goal is not to wake up the next morning feeling completely and totally miserable, then finding moderation as a drinking partner is smart. Additionally, it’s wise to know which types of alcohol that will also cause an anguish hangover and find an excellent balance to consume these drinks. In practicing moderation, remember to check out our products - The Survival Kit - to fight your hangover and allow you to take control of your day!

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