We all have our wine preferences—white, red or perhaps even blue—but a new study suggests that the color of your happy hour glass could affect the severity of your hangover the next day.
Steve Allsop, director of the National Drug Research Institute at Calvin University in Australia, recently studied how differences in congeners—the element that gives color and flavor to a variety of alcoholic beverages—may alter that drink's effect on the body. Throughout the study, participants were asked to drink over the course of two nights, consuming bourbon—which has a higher level of congeners—on one night, and vodka with a placebo on the other. Overall, the drinkers reported having more severe hangovers after the consumption of the bourbon.
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"Some people find that drinks with high levels of congeners make them feel worse. And there is some evidence supporting this," Allsop tells Today. This evidence also applies to wine choices, as darker red wines contain more congeners than their lighter counterparts.
However, some wine experts say that the color isn't the only reason varieties of wine can affect the body differently. "The percentage of alcohol is one factor: White wines usually contain between 9 to 14 percent... whereas reds contain between 12 to 16 percent," says The Forge sommelier Gino Santangelo.
He also points out that "Some cheap wines might have added tannins, or synthetic tannins... which can interfere with serotonin levels and make your hangover feel worse." Since tannins are higher in reds, a cheaper bottle of the darker wine will impact the body more than a similarly priced bottle of white.
Allsop also notes that many believe preservatives to be the real culprit behind a more intense hangover, though "the science about this is limited," and suggests trying out organic, preservative-free wines as another option. While there might not be a single magical solution to that post-happy hour headache lying in the color of wine, we're holding out hope—and ordering another glass of white while we're at it.