5 Things You Need to Stop Believing About Alcohol

Don't come between me and my booze.

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(Image credit: Getty Images/Design by American Artist)

Here's the thing about alcohol/drinking—there's a lot of misinformation out there (opens in new tab). But whether you'd rather shush that drink know-it-all at the bar or just be better at imbibing alcohol, these facts are sure to improve your drinking game. (And possibly quite literally—flip cup, anyone?)

1. Absinthe will make you hallucinate.

Despite the hype, absinthe is just a potent, great smelling/tasting alcohol. In fact, many believe that the hallucinations stemmed from the fact that in the 19th century, absinthe wasn't regulated and with its growing popularity, some producers flavored it with commercial oil extracts—made from copper sulfate and antimony trichloride. Translation? People were getting some small doses of poison along with their alcohol, and yeah, they may have started seeing some things. Ted Breaux, a mixologist and a leading absinthe expert, set the record straight (opens in new tab): Pre-ban absinthes contained no hallucinogens, opiates, or other psychoactive substances."The most powerful 'drug' in absinthe is and has always been a high volume of neatly disguised, seductively perfumed alcohol."

2. Mezcal is made from mescaline.

"There are no psychotropic components in mezcal. It is the distillate made from the Maguey plant, a closer relative to a lily than a cactus," says Chris Patino, Director of Brand Education for Pernod Ricard USA. "Truly, no connection."

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(Image credit: Getty Images)

3. Tequila and mezcal are similar.

True, they're similar in that they're both made from agave. (In fact, tequila is kind of a type of mezcal, as mezcal can be made from over 30 types of agave, while tequila is made from Blue Agave only.) But they're made differently, are produced in different regions of Mexico, and have—if you've tasted it—a completely different taste. Tequila is smooth and sharp, and can have a range of taste profiles (similar to wine). Mezcal also has different flavor profiles, but one thing in common—it has a smoky, earthy taste. In fact, mezcal is often more suited to a whiskey drinker than a tequila drinker, flavor-wise. 

4. Different kinds of drinks get you a different kind of drunk. 

We've all heard from the one friend how tequila makes her crazy, or how she prefers beer-drunk. But expecting different alcohols to have different effects on your behavior is completely psychosocial. Basically: all in your head. The truth is that different alcohols have different alcohol content (ABV) that means you'll feel different after drinking less of some and more of others. But if tequila makes you feel down to party, then you live your own truth. 

5. Vodka sodas are your best bets when it comes to drinking fewer calories.

Okay, so this one is semi-true—but there are also other options (opens in new tab). Don't limit yourself.

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Samantha Leal is the Deputy Editor at Well+Good, where she spends most of her day thinking of new ideas across platforms, bringing on new writers, overseeing the day-to-day of the website, and working with the awesome team to produce the best stories and packages. Before W+G, she was the Senior Web Editor for Marie Claire and the Deputy Editor for Latina.com, with bylines all over the internet. Graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University with a minor in African history, she’s written everything from travel guides to political op-eds to wine explainers (currently enrolled in the WSET program) to celebrity profiles. Find her online pretty much everywhere @samanthajoleal.