Alcohol is all the same... Buzz discussion.

I've read a bit of the scientific literature about drinking and intoxication.  Most of the common "science" is that the level of inebriation is the same as long as the quantity of alcohol is consistent.

But...  when I drink red wine, or Champagne, or Bourbon, or Port or lager or Riesling... regardless of the ABV/quantity...  the buzz is DIFFERENT.  Don't even get me started with Tequila.

What's up with that?  Discuss.

PH

 

Original Post

Interesting topic. 

I really, really dislike getting "drunk", meaning sloppy, out of control, etc. Thankfully the effects of alcohol I consume now haven't made me belligerent that I know of. In giving it some thought, a "wine buzz" tends to make me tired the longer it goes on. A "beer buzz" is something I'm most likely to experience at something like a concert or sporting event. With beer, I believe I get a little louder, but hopefully in a fun-loving way. Lucky for me, when my wife is along she'll have very little to drink in these settings so I'm safe getting home. I really enjoy several types of spirits, including tequila, but am really good about not over-indulging in them and truly enjoy them for the nuances of their flavors. Doing shots in my younger years led to a few nasty next days that weren't worth the fun of the previous evening. 

7 years ago us and another couple vacationed together in Jalisco and Michoacan. While doing a tequila tour at Casa Herrudura, the guide told us that the key to appreciating and enjoying it was to not drink it like American college students. 

I can’t say my buzz is different between different types of alcohol but my body feels different.  I don’t drink beer really at all anymore mainly because as I got older it always made me feel super full, especially when paired with food, and would also make me feel tired.  Wine and food has the right balance for me as I might feel a little buzzed but not tired or full.  Cocktails similar to wine although usually pre and/or post dinner.  

"But...  when I drink red wine, or Champagne, or Bourbon, or Port or lager or Riesling... regardless of the ABV/quantity...  the buzz is DIFFERENT."

Different than what?  You mean you get a different buzz from each of these?

The behavior, perception and reflexes of someone with a .15 alcohol level in his blood is the same, irrespective of the source of the alcohol, that is, whether it comes from grain alcohol or white Burgundy.  The confounding variable is, it seems to me, that people who drink grain alcohol start out a bit different in temperament than the people who enjoy a grand cru of Corton-Charlemagne,

First of all, the speed with which the alcohol fully enters the blood stream can vary based upon drink alone even leaving all other variables the same. Eg. Sparkling wine enters faster than still wine.  Secondly, the “effects” of alcohol as felt vary with other factors. Eg. Are you eating food?  When did you start eating food?  What types of food?  What was your blood sugar level before consumption?  What is the pure alcohol to water percentage you are consuming?  How slowly or quickly is your BAC increasing?  What is the overall mood of the people you are with?  Whether intrinsic to the specific drink, or due to other activities that normally coincide with the consumption a specific drink, the answers to these questions will vary depending upon drink.  Finally, other “impurities” in alcoholic drinks — oak, tannin, mold, etc can cause your body distress when your body is working on processing alcohol but different people are different on these things. 

irwin posted:

Different than what?  You mean you get a different buzz from each of these?

 

Yeah, or more to GlennK's point, my body feels different.  No argument on your BAC point.  At .15, unless you're a daily hard drinker, you're blotto.  But at .06?  It's in this range that I notice a difference.

In general, the darker the drink, the more of a "full body" response.  A mellower affect?  Clearer liquors and wines are less so and more energizing.

I noticed this many years ago after drinking a good bit of red wine.  Having been a beer drinker mostly, I couldn't help but notice the mellower response.  

Could be just a self-fulfilling prophesy, but in the case of that long ago red wine experience, I'm not so sure.

PH

winetarelli...  good post, and I've considered these factors too.  Particularly the oak/tannin/impurities consideration.  Generally, darker wines and liquors are more likely to have these components so it could be a factor.

As far as the mood, companions, food etc. my "perception" of my response to differing drinks seems to have been pretty consistent even accounting for these factors.

PH

I can still shut down a party
I can hang with anybody
I can drink whiskey and red wine
Champagne all night
Little scotch on the rocks and I'm fine, I'm fine

But when I taste tequila, baby I still see ya
Cutting up the floor in a sorority T-Shirt
The same one you wore when we were
Sky high in Colorado, your lips pressed against the bottle
Swearing on a Bible, baby, I'd never leave ya
I remember how bad I need ya, when I taste tequila
When I taste tequila

I can kiss somebody brand new and not even think about you
I can show up to the same bar
Hear the same songs in my car
Baby, your memory it only hits me this hard

When I taste tequila, baby I still see ya
Cutting up the floor in a sorority t-shirt
The same one you wore when we were
Sky high in Colorado, your lips pressed against the bottle
Swearing on a Bible, baby, I'd never leave ya
I remember how bad I need ya, when I taste tequila
When I taste tequila

I ain't even drunk, I ain't even drunk
And I'm thinking
How I need your love, how I need your love
Yeah, it sinks in

When I taste tequila, baby I still see ya
Sorority t-shirt, the same one you wore when we were
Sky high in Colorado, your lips pressed against the bottle
Swearing on a Bible, baby, I'd never leave ya
I remember how bad I need ya, when I taste tequila
When I taste tequila
When I taste tequila
When I taste tequila

Yeah the "level of inebriation" will be the same but did the article actually say anything about "feeling" different based on the content ? Vodka is about as pure drinkable ethanol as anything you're going to find. Compare a 1.2 BAC vodka buzz with a 1.2 BAC port, 23 y/o bourbon, cocktail with other liqueurs and ingredients, beer, etc and yes you'll feel different, but 1.2 is 1.2 "level inebriation" no matter how you slice it, whether it's 3 martinis or 6 Coors Light. Sugar and other bi products that make it less pure than the vodka example are the reason.

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