The Science Behind Beer-Before-Liquor

Does the order in which you drink your booze in actually matter?

Liquor before beer? Beer before liquor?

“Beer before liquor, never been sicker; liquor before beer, you're in the clear.” This mantra is often repeated as a means of warding off dreaded hangovers, but what’s the science behind it? Does this trick actually work?

It doesn’t. You may have memorized “Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear; beer before liquor, you’re never sicker,” during your freshman year of college (and the rhyme may have stuck with you better than Psych 100 did), but the truth is that it doesn’t matter to your hangover the least bit in what order you consume your drinks.

Want to avoid a hangover? Drink less. Not a fun answer, but the best bet. Alternatively, if you’re planning to make a night of it, try the following strategies that actually do have an effect:

Eat a big dinner first

Drink a glass of water for every glass of alcohol

Avoid sugary drinks

Avoid champagne

Down at least one glass of water before you go to bed


Some people swear by the old “piece of bread soaked in a teaspoon of olive oil” trick before you go out. It won’t hurt (unless you have a gluten allergy, of course), and neither will trying a hangover remedy like Hangover Naturals, which can help replenish some vitamins.