Do different alcohols really bring out different moods?

VODKA makes you melancholy, gin brings on the tears and after a glass of bubbly you're all selfies and smiles. But why?

You've heard - and probably said - that different drinks affect your mood, but science is actually yet to find any evidence to back up why, exactly, tequila hypes you up, and wine calms you down.

As for your library of alter-egos that come out, dependant on your spirit of choice? According to science, it's a lot to do with what's going on in your head.

"Usually, it's the psychological effect of predicting how a drink will make you feel that brings about that emotion," says accredited practicing dietitian, Chloe McLeod.

"Alcohol itself is a depressant, meaning regardless of the type - beer, vodka or tequila - it can have a negative impact of your mood - so consider that it's potentially the quantity of alcohol you have consumed, or your underlying mood pre-alcohol that makes you feel good... or not."

Another thing to consider is the emotions we associate certain drinks with.

"Some of the more positive moods that come out can be brought on by a memory of feeling a certain way, when previously consuming that type of alcohol. For example people would mostly say that champagne makes them happy. This might be because we associate champagne - and generally consume it - at celebrations where most of us are usually feeling happy, anyway," says McLeod.

What's also interesting, according to Refinery29, is that "different kinds of alcohol can leave us varying degrees of hungover," which might support the theory that different alcoholic beverages can bring on different states of mind.

However, the morning after effect "is down to something called congeners [a chemical that occurs in some alcohols] which make darker liquors more damaging. But, if you're drinking the same amount of alcohol, there's really no scientific reason one type of drink would make you act differently than another - deep down, it's all the same stuff."

Interestingly, the way in which alcohol is consumed might be able to explain the wild - or mild - responses it brings on.

"If you choose tequila, you might start taking shots. Method and pace matter here. If you take three shots in an hour, you will, unsurprisingly, be much drunker than if you'd been slowly sipping a nice glass of whiskey," explains a report on Business Insider.

Old Timer cocktail
Old Timer cocktail Contributed

And, if a few drinks (consumed responsibly) do leave you a little (or a lot) emotional, McLeod suggests looking at other physiological factors that might be at play.

"How much sleep we've had - both before and after a big night - can influence our response, as can stress levels, what we've eaten and how hydrated we are when we drink, because you're more likely to become intoxicated quickly if you're dehydrated."

"Something else to consider is food intolerance; people who are sensitive to food chemicals such as amines, salicylates and sulphites might find that when drinking alcohol, particularly beer or wine, mood can be impacted more than if they choose gin or vodka, due to the chemicals (both natural and man-made) that are found in these drinks."

The same thing can be said for people who are lactose intolerant who consume dairy. Generally speaking, they won't be feeling themselves, or able to perform at their optimal level.

And when it comes to the sweets of the alcohol world - think mixers and sugar-laden cocktails - do we feel worse because of the high calorie content?

"These can affect blood sugar levels, which can affect your mood as mood swings are shown with the spike and subsequent drop of blood sugar levels," which we've all experienced at some point or another - usually around 3pm, at the vending machine.

"Otherwise, beer or cider can make us feel heavy and bloated, which inadvertently may leave you feeling a little less cheerful as well, due to feelings of discomfort," says McLeod.

"If you do choose to drink, remember to do so in moderation. It not only affects our mood, it also affects our waistline (being so high in calories), and our skin (it dehydrates us). The guideline for men is two standard drinks per day and women are recommended one per day, both with at least two alcohol free days per week."

Geoff Potter

And, regardless of how fantastic you might feel after downing your drink of choice, always drink responsibly.

Some signs that point to a problem with alcohol

According to these are some things to look out for if you think your drinking - or some else's - might be a problem:

  • Worrying about when you'll be able to have your next drink
  • Suffering from withdrawal symptoms like sweating, nausea or insomnia as a result of not drinking alcohol
  • Needing to drink more and more alcohol to get drunk
  • Drinking alcohol, or desiring to drink alcohol, when you wake up in the morning
  • Consuming alcohol regularly on your own, or trying to hide your alcohol consumption from those around you
  • Relationships with friends or family are being affected by your drinking

Need help?

If you are experiencing a personal crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. In an emergency, call 000. Check out Counselling Online at to contact your closest Alcohol and Drug Information Centre for free alcohol and drug counselling 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

News Corp Australia

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