11 Surprising Facts About Booze

Aliens, moose, and mixers: Here are some facts about alcohol that will make you the toast of your local.

1. Diet mixers get you more drunk.

According to study conducted in early 2013, spirits mixed with diet pop get you 18% drunker than spirits mixed with the ‘full fat’ varieties. The theory is that your body recognises full-sugar drinks as food, which slows down alcohol absorption, whereas diet drinks don’t. So before you tease anyone for ordering a vodka and Diet Coke, remember: They’re drinking the hard stuff.

2. Wanting to get drunk is natural. Possibly.

The ‘drunken monkey hypothesis’ put forward by Dr. Robert Dudley of the University of California suggests that human attraction to ethanol (pure alcohol) may have a genetic basis.

He argued that the primate ancestor of homo sapiens had a high dependence on fruit as a food source, and consequently developed a genetic attraction to ripe and overripe fruit, which contains — you guessed it — ethanol. Hurrah.

3. Big lads aren’t necessarily the biggest drinkers.

A beer belly might mean you’ve consumed a lot in the past, but it doesn’t mean you can automatically handle more alcohol in one go than someone slimmer. In fact, a lean person will be less affected by booze because water-rich muscle tissues absorb alcohol effectively, preventing it from reaching the brain.

4. Aliens are at it too.

Or at least they could be, if they wanted. Astronomers discovered that there is quite a lot of ethanol in space. As much as 400 trillion trillion beers’ worth, actually, floating around in an interstellar cloud roughly 10,000 light-years from Earth.

5. Cenosillicaphobia is a real phobia.

And it means being scared of an empty glass, which may just be the cleverest name for someone who loves a tipple ever invented.

6. It’s possible to spend £700 on one bottle of beer.

Thought to be the world’s most expensive, a 12-litre bottle of Vieille Bon Secours ale will cost you the best part of grand. It’s available in a small number of London restaurants and hotels, has a volume of 8%, and is said to have a complex citric, caramel, and toffee flavour with an undertone of liquorice and aniseed.

7. Tequila has a lot in common with champagne.

Both drinks have ‘Denomination of Origin’, meaning they can only be produced in one place (a certain region of Mexico and France, respectively). Also, like champagne, tequila is one of the most closely regulated drinks in the world, watched by the Mexican government, the Tequila Regulatory Council, and the National Chamber of Tequila Producers. And you thought it was just some kind of moonshine brewed in a crazy man’s bath.

8. Britain isn’t the booziest place in the world.

Nor is Ireland, Russia, or any other country typically associated with a love for the sauce. Instead, that dubious honour goes to South Korea, who, according to a 2011 World Health Organization study, drinks more hard spirits than anywhere else — and is where Jinro soju comes from, the best-selling spirit on the planet.

9. Champagne is dangerous.

And not just because it makes you attempt the worm at wedding discos, either. Thanks to the approximately 49 million bubbles in each one, the pressure in a bottle of champagne is 90 pounds per square inch — three times the pressure in car tires — meaning a popped cork really could take your eye out.

10. You won’t find a drunk moose in Alaska.

A bizarre law makes feeding booze to moose illegal in the state, meaning you’re unlikely to encounter one as thoroughly hammered as this guy from Sweden who got off his tree — and then into one — after guzzling down some rotten fruit in 2011.

11. ‘Getting a round in’ really is in the rules.

In 1993, a journalist called William Greaves with a long experience of visiting pubs up and down Britain published a set of guidelines that was welcomed by watering holes everywhere. In it he outlined the unspoken code of conduct that exists when it comes to drinking in a group. So if you ever catch a mate trying to wriggle out of buying a round, you can simply refer him to ‘Greaves’ Rules’ to settle any argument.

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