Liquor, then beer: never fear. Beer, then liquor: never quicker. We have all heard the old rhymes and folk wisdom about drinking. If you want to have a wild night, drink tequila or gin. If you want to hang out with friends and talk philosophy, drink beer. And if you want to make dinner for a lovely lady and hopefully more, drink red wine. Are these mere old wives’ tales, just cultural superstition, or is there anything to them? I cannot answer that, but I believe I can offer some food (drink) for thought.
I personally do experience different effects, from different alcoholic drinks. And I am almost certain that it is not the placebo effect. As a lifelong imbiber of adult beverages, I have enormous experience in this field. And long conversations with others like me seem to corroborate my experiences. My beliefs are not based on a scientific experiment, I will admit, but they are based on science.
The main concept behind alcoholic beverages is simple. Take any liquid with sugar in it, add yeast, and they will eat the sugar and expel carbon dioxide and ethyl alcohol. It is the ethyl alcohol that produces the effects of intoxication on humans. These effects begin with a warm, happy feeling, progressing to intense excitement, dizziness, and happiness. Then — because alcohol is actually a depressant — the felling becomes more relaxed and mellow. If you keep drinking too much, this feeling becomes nausea, and eventually unconsciousness. Drinking overly-excessively can, of course, cause death. So the key is to find that sweet spot where you feel great, but are not drowsy or sick. Knowing when to stop is one of the key components of being a responsible drinker.
Besides the alcohol-component of adult beverages, the liquid from which the alcohol is fermented makes a big difference. Wine is made from grape juice’ beer is made from barley mash; gin is made from juniper berries; tequila is made from agave, and so forth. And the fact is that each plant adds its own nature to the drink. What do I mean by nature?
Every plant is filled with phytochemicals — up to thousands of them. A phytochemical is simply a chemical in a plant. Understand that most of these phytochemicals are unknown to science, and the study of them is revealing marvellous things about the healthful properties of plants. What we do know, is that many of these phytochemicals affect humans in strong ways, some healing disease, relieving pain, or even causing psychotropic effects (such as the phytochemicals in hallucinogenic mushrooms). So it stands to reason that alcoholic beverages, which are all made from the juice of plants, also contain these phytochemicals, and thus affect people in different ways. In fact, this is already established scientifically, in such examples as resveratrol. Resveratrol is a phytochemical in red wine that has been scientifically-proven to counter the effects of aging, reduce cholesterol, and generally improve health. In fact, this alcohol paradox is still very controversial in society, although it is scientifically-verified.
The point I am making is that plants definitely do affect people, sometimes in strong and different ways. So it is logical that alcoholic beverages brewed from those plants will also affect people in different ways. I have found that certain classic drinks affect me in the following ways. Do you agree or disagree in terms of yourself?
1. Beer makes me feel very sociable, open, and friendly. It makes me want to hang out with friends and have philosophical, and silly, conversations.
2. Wine, especially red wine, makes me feel intellectual, spiritual, and connected with history and with people. It also makes me feel romantic.
3. Gin makes me feel like I want to play pool in a loud, punk bar.
4. Tequila makes me feel like I want to have a wild, crazy adventure on the road.
5. Scotch makes me feel like I want to smoke a fine cigar and read classic literature in an oak-paneled library in a castle.
6. Rum makes me feel relaxed and open-minded.
7. Vodka makes me feel like I want to keep drinking all night.
Are all of these effects merely imagined, or cultural? I supposed it is possible. But it seems more likely to me, that the phytochemicals in the pants from which alcoholic drinks are brewed, play a part. This is a subject that I plan to explore with more research. But for now, what do you think? Leave us a comment, and let your voice be heard.