la sbornia chiaroscura

Although larger doses of alcohol lead to more severe symptoms, hangover is not solely dose-related. Acetaldehyde, the dehydrogenated product of alcohol metabolism, might be responsible for hangover symptoms. Congeners, the byproducts of individual alcohol preparations (which are found primarily in brandy, wine, tequila, whiskey, and other dark liquors), increase the frequency and severity of hangover. Clear liquors, such as rum, vodka, and gin, tend to cause hangover less frequently, which may explain why patients with chronic alcoholism use these liquors disproportionately. In an experimental setting, 33% of patients who consumed 1.5 g/kg of body weight of bourbon (which has high congeners) but only 3% of those who consumed the same dose of vodka (which has low congeners) experienced severe hangover.
—Jeffrey G. Wiese, Michael G. Shlipak, and Warren S. Browner, “The Alcohol Hangover”, Annals of Internal Medicine, vol. 132 no. 11, 6 June 2000, pp. 897-902, at p. 899

If true, this observation cuts across the Russian distinction between intoxication (интоксикация) by alcohol and hangover (похмелье) construed as withdrawal from that toxic substance. Stateside, hangovers are the province of alcoholic dilettanti, as per their R—E—M—O—R—S—E, immortalized by George Ade. Furthermore, the ease of consumption attributed to good vodka by good Russians, is in all likelihood also due to the lack of fusel oils.

2 thoughts on “la sbornia chiaroscura”

  1. Hunter S. Thompson was advised to cut down on such alcohols later on in his life… although they referred to the offending substances as ‘conjoiners’. Apparently they not only increase the chances for a hangover but are also related to health issues, particularly for the liver.

    I love a good vodka! ^_^ I learned a good way to drink it from some middle-eastern friends of mine… keep the vodka below zero and consume alongside canned cheese. Lovely!

    1. Cognac is good for expanding the blood vessels, or so my father taught me. Lately I have been leaning more towards Islay scotch and old bourbon. In white booze, I prefer Grey Goose and Kübler Absinthe.

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