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Drinking can be great. Whether you’re slurping a mojito in front of a sunset, gulping a glass of wine with friends, or just dipping your tongue into a pint of beer like a dehydrated dog in the middle of a desert, having a drink can be really, really fun.
Getting drunk, however, doesn’t always have the same appeal.
Sure, sometimes you want to throw away your inhibitions, lose your possessions and hand your dignity to the nearest stranger (we’ve all been there). But wouldn’t it be ace if you could go to the pub after work on a Monday and stay there ’til closing – without writing off the rest of your working week in the process? Wouldn’t it be lovely if you could pop open a bottle of prosecco on your mate’s birthday – and not end up throwing up into your lap four hours later? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could go to a wedding and not lock yourself in a toilet cubicle at 3:30am while you call your mum to tell her you’re going to die alone?
So, with all of the above in mind (literally – writing this has brought back all kinds of painful memories) we’ve rounded up all the science-approved tips for how to not get drunk on a night out.
(Your mum can thank us later.)
EAT A SAUSAGE ROLL AT THE SAME TIME
Ever wondered why so many Old Man Pubs come with a plate of sausage rolls propped up on the bar? Nope, it’s not just because people over the age of 60 love a bit of discount pork: It’s because foods that are high in both fat and protein have been proven to help soak up that alcohol and keep your energy levels high throughout the night. Sure, you might end up with flakes of pastry down your cleavage, but consider it a snack for later (judge all you want – you know exactly what we mean), and anything that stops you from falling asleep on the nightbus home wins in our book. Of course, even better than a sausage roll is a Scotch Egg, but who can afford to be picky?
DRINK A GLASS OF WARM WATER…
Sure, sure, we all know we’re supposed to be alternating our alcoholic drinks with pints of water – but did you know it needs to be room temperature to get the most out of it? It activates your digestive system and helps flush out the toxins you’re consuming with every glass of wine / gin / tequila / that-blue-stuff-your-nan-keeps-on-a-shelf-and-mixes-with-lemonade-for-a-‘treat’.
… OR MILK
It’s commonly believed that milk will ‘coat’ your stomach and prevent you from getting drunk. Sorry to burst your lactose bubble, but this isn’t quite how it works. But it’s still considerably better than knocking back five / six / 15 drinks on an empty stomach. So if you’d like to alternate glasses of wine with glasses of the white stuff, go right ahead. We’ll try not to raise eyebrows in your direction when you order it.
SWALLOW A TEASPOON OF DRY YEAST
According to a man called Jim Koch, if you swallow one spoonful of baker’s yeast for every pint of beer you plan to drink, you’ll ‘mitigate’ the effects of the alcohol. He recommends mixing it into yoghurt to make it ‘more palatable’, and while others have tried the technique as a means of drinking all night and not getting drunk – with varying degrees of success – Koch maintains it’s foolproof. We maintain ‘it can’t hurt to give it a go’.
DRINK FROM A STRAIGHT-SIDED GLASS
Researchers from the University of Bristol found that people who drink from glasses with straight sides, drink up to 60 per cent slower than those drinking from glasses with curved sides. Apparently it’s all to do with your brain working out how much you’ve drunk – and adjusting your drinking speed accordingly. If you drink from a glass with straight sides, you can tell how much alcohol is left, and slow down. If you drink from a glass with curved sides, it tricks your brain. In fact, the shape of your glass has such an impact, that pubs serving drinks from straight-sides glasses make 25 per cent less over the course of a weekend than those serving from curved glasses.
Again, this relates to the speed of your alcohol consumption. Apparently if you stand up, you’re much more likely to knock back your drinks – and head back to the bar for another round – whereas if you’re sat down, you’re less likely to get up and refill as quickly. Also, judging from experience, if you’re sitting down, you’re much less likely to fall over. But that’s beside the point.
DRINK RED WINE
Anybody who’s ever experienced a white wine hangover will know how debilitating they can be – but did you realise white wine might be having such a powerful (and painful) effect on you simply because you’re drinking more of it, and quicker? Yep, scientists have discovered that it’s harder for your brain to identify the quantity of white wine you’re consuming than its darker counterpart, simply because it’s trickier to see. So, er, yeah – that’ll be a Merlot for me, thanks.