All booze is not created equal. When you’re 18, which is definitely when you had your first ever drink, you guzzled whatever you could find in your dad’s cabinet down your neck - before promptly throwing it up again - but now we’re older and wiser, we’ve come to realise how different types of alcohol can affect us in different ways.
It can differ from person to person - whereas red wine might make one person really bubbly, it’ll leave another asleep in the corner. To one man, vodka is unlimited hugs in a bottle, to another, a lot of shouting and a regret-plagued hangover.
But a new study, published in online journal BMJ Open, suggests that there are some alcohols which tend to affect many of us in the same way.
The study questioned just under 30,000 18-34-year-olds from 21 different countries, and asked them to associate different types of booze with the following emotions: energised, relaxed, sexy, confident, tired, aggressive, ill, restless and tearful.
And among other interesting results, it found that spirits like gin or vodka made us most likely to feel sexy, while red wine makes us most relaxed.
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More than four in 10 - 42.5% of respondents - associated spirits with feeling sexier, while just under 53% said that red wine made them relaxed.
However, it isn’t all good news for spirit drinkers, with spirits also most closely linked with feelings of aggression - 30% said this was the case, compared with just 2.5% of red wine drinkers.
Sticking to spirits, 59% of people said they made them feel energetic and confident, essentially meaning that a night out on spirits will lead to some heavy dancing, followed by a fight and then later a stranger on the other side of your bed.
What did the study say about beer drinkers? Well, 50% said beer made them feel relaxed, second only to wine, again affirming what we probably knew about beer and wine being ‘pub drinks’, and vodka and gin being saved for later in the night.
The study showed that women were actually much more likely to associate every feeling - other than aggression - with drinking alcohol. Aggression - perhaps unsurprisingly - was the only emotion for which men came out on top.
Meanwhile, heavy drinkers were much more likely to associate alcohol with feelings of aggression and tearfulness.
“Understanding emotions associated with alcohol consumption is imperative to addressing alcohol misuse, providing insight into what emotions influence drink choice between different groups in the population,” said the study.
Co-author Professor Mark Bellis adds: “For centuries, the history of rum, gin, vodka and other spirits has been laced with violence. This global study suggests even today consuming spirits is more likely to result in feelings of aggression than other drinks.
“In the UK, a litre of off-licence spirits can easily be bought for £15 or less, making a double shot only 75 pence. Such prices can encourage consumption at levels harmful to the health of the drinker and through violence and injuries also represent a risk to the people around them.”