These 12 Cocktail Ingredients Are Making You Feel Like Dirt

These 12 Cocktail Ingredients Are Making You Feel Like Dirt

While we don't exactly know the cause of hangovers, we do know that some things increase the likelihood of us experiencing one. For instance, there are chemicals produced during fermentation called congeners. Having excessive amounts of alcohol  with high levels of congeners (usually darker ones like rum, red wine, and whiskey) has been shown to be more likely to lead to a hangover than drinking things with lower congener levels (beer, gin, vodka, white wine).

You may have heard that sugary drinks will also make you feel more hungover, but it seems this isn't necessarily true. Rather, sugar, when paired with alcohol, appears to slow down the rate at which our bodies process the alcohol. Intoxication deals with the rate (and quantity, of course) at which we consume our drinks, so slowing down the process is more of a positive than a negative. Sugary cocktail mixers and ingredients, though, will mask the taste of booze, potentially inspiring more consumption thus increasing the chance of getting a hangover. Sugar, on its own, can inspire lethargy and other unpleasant side effects. Needless to say, while sugar in your cocktail may not be the chemically responsible reason for your hangover, the following sugary cocktail ingredients aren't doing anything to make you feel better post-drinking. Combine them with the empty calories that come from alcohol and a session of slight binge-drinking, and you'll be sure to make yourself feel fat, tired, and like dirt.

Click here for These 12 Cocktail Ingredients Are Making You Feel Like Dirt.


Mixing dark liquor with cola tastes great, but it also includes two prime ingredients for a hangover: lots of congeners along with 27 grams of sugar per eight ounces of cola. That being said, the only reason you should be buying the world a (rum and) coke is if you insist that it only enjoys one or two of them — any more may place you directly in hangover city.

Cranberry Juice

Eight ounces of cranberry juice contains just 28 grams of sugar. We don't mean "just" as in "that's not a lot, drink cranberry juice until you drop," but rather cranberry juice only contains sugar. Those vodka cranberries sure can go down easy, racking up dozens of grams of alcohol and sugar as well as empty calories.

Ginger Ale

When you're in a pinch at a new bar, ordering a whiskey ginger is usually a pretty safe move. They're hard to mess up (unless you get one that's somehow become watery in the two minutes it took to make), and they're even a little bit refreshing. Whiskey, though, has high levels of congeners and eight ounces of ginger ale has about 20 grams of sugar. Sometimes the safe bet isn't the healthiest one.

Grape Juice

Making a punch or cocktail that uses grape juice? Grape juice has 36 grams of sugar per eight-ounce serving. If you're mixing it with rum or another dark liquor with high levels of congeners, we wish you the best of luck with your hangover.

Margarita Mix

You've all been to a Cinco de Mayo party where margarita mix is involved, and you've probably woken up on May 6 feeling like the diablo himself beat your head with a lead pipe. Margarita mixes have about 26 grams of sugar per four ounces, meaning that there are 52 grams of sugar in every eight ounces. It's not hard to imagine drinking eight ounces worth of margarita mix, but if you do so, beware of the hangover that awaits.

Click here for 10 margaritas that avoid using a premade mix.

Orange Juice

While your screwdriver may only have two ingredients, one of those ingredients has a whopping 22 grams of sugar per eight-ounce serving. That measurement is for an orange juice with only one ingredient, so beware of the type that has added sugar.

Pineapple Juice

Pineapples themselves may be veritable superfoods, but you can't deny the fact that they're an incredibly sweet and sugary fruit. Eight ounces of pineapple juice includes about 25 grams of sugar. Mix pineapple juice and an alcohol high in congeners like dark rum, and you'll only be increasing the likelihood of your hangover.

Simple Syrup

Generally, simple syrup is one part sugar to one part water. A tablespoon will have around 13 grams of sugar. If you decide to have three whiskey sours, which usually have approximately one ounce (two tablespoons) of simple syrup, that's almost 80 grams of sugar in one night. All aboard the "I feel awful!" express.

Sour Mix

Let's say that those previously mentioned whiskey sours are made with sour mix. Four ounces of sour mix contain 22 grams of sugar. You could easily rack up 44 grams of sugar solely from sour mix if you decide to have a couple of cocktails.

Sweet Liqueurs

If you hadn't realized that Irish cream liqueurs are fairly unhealthy, then let us tell you: They're all pretty awful for you. One jigger (1.5 ounces) has nine grams of sugar. Similarly, coffee-flavored liqueurs are even worse. They come in at around 15 grams of sugar per 1.5 ounces. Mix this with the dark alcohol, whipped cream, and heavy beers that Irish cream liqueurs are so often combined with, and you'll find yourself swimming helplessly in a sea of sugar-based calories with no shore in sight.

Tonic Water

Sure, a gin or vodka and tonic with a squeeze of lime isn't a bad drink to have compared to a margarita slushie or the original blackout in a can: Four Loko. When you factor in the low congener levels of the lighter alcohols you normally mix with tonic water, you're doing yourself and your potential (perhaps inevitable) hangover a favor. You should still be wary of your tonic water, though, seeing as it has 22 grams of sugar in every eight ounces.

Triple Sec

Triple sec can be found in the ingredients list for everything from margaritas and metropolitans to kamikazes, crushes, sidecars, and cosmos. Just one 1.5-ounce serving has about 16 grams of sugar, though, meaning that triple sec can also be found on the ingredients list of the undesirable (yet still strangely prevalent) hangover cocktail.