We've all been there. You're at a party, you have a few shots of tequila and then BAM! All the sudden you feel like death is knocking on your door. The next day, while nursing that hangover with some Advil and Gatorade, you swear to never drink another shot of tequila again.
But as we all know, promises are made to be broken. But don't worry! We've got your back this time around with these 12 dos and don'ts for drinking tequila without getting sick.
Why does tequila can make people sick because of three main reasons. The first is that in the past, tequila had a bad reputation as cheap alcohol that was filled with impurities such as congeners, which can be toxic to your system. Some brands were even marketed with a "worm" or other items the bottles to help project an image of tequila as being the drink for "bad boys". So people developed a negative association with the taste of tequila. Ironically though, most of these weren't even tequila at all. They were mezcal.
Tequila is a type of mezcal, but not all mezcal is tequila. Think of it like how Bourbon and Scotch are both whiskeys but not all whiskeys are Bourbons or Scotches.
This famous worm is only found in mezcal and is actually the larva from moths who's larva live on the agave plant and are known as maguey worms. Bottles of mezcal that contain these worms are referred to as "con gusano" or "with gusano" (the Spanish name for the worm).
There's a long history to why some mezcals began adding the maguey worm to the bottle, with some saying it showed the proof of the spirit was high enough to pickle the larva and others saying that it brought luck, stamina, strength, vigor, and strength to the man who drank a shot poured with the worm in it.
Realistically, it all comes down to marketing and like scorpion shots, the worm is just another cheap way to add mystique and intrigue to a spirit that was for many years exotic to most Americans.
The second reason why tequila can make people sick if they drink too much is that it is just like any other alcohol. Any time you consume large amounts of high-proof spirits it can have a negative reaction in your body such as causing a hangover, nausea or vomiting.
Alcohol causes you to get sick because as it enters your stomach, the contents of your stomach and liver enzymes - alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) - have to break it down so that it can eventually be eliminated from the body. This process releases byproducts like acetaldehyde that are toxic and can lead to nausea, vomiting or a general feeling of malaise. While acetaldehyde is only in the body for a short time the chemical is considered highly toxic and is also a known carcinogen.
While most people can consume limited amounts of alcohol, and in particular tequila, without any issues, the more you consume, the more challenging it is for your body to process it.
This can lead to extended periods of feeling sick if you've had too much to drink.
Finally, alcohol can lead to dehydration , which can intensify the feelings of nausea and lead to a hangover.
Now that you know why drinking tequila can make you sick, let's take a look at what we can do to avoid getting sick. These tips will help keep you in good shape regardless of how you consume tequila - cocktails, shots, or even sipping fine tequila.
12 Tips To Avoid Getting Sick From Tequila
Here are 12 tips to help you avoid getting sick from tequila ...
Drink Plenty Of Water
Drinking plenty of water is the first step in avoiding getting sick if you are doing shots of tequila. Alcohol will dehydrate you, and water is the best way to rehydrate.
Drink plenty of water with other liquids. Drinking plenty of water isn't enough- you also need a variety of other liquids like seltzer or club soda with lime juice.
Avoid carbonated drinks. Sodas, be they carbonated or not, are generally an awful idea when drinking tequila because alcohol tends to make people crave sweet things - which means that sodas can easily send your blood sugar soaring after too much tequila. This can lead to even more nausea later on in the night as well as irritating acid reflux issues if it persists long term.
Eat a Small Meal Before Drinking Tequila
Having food in your stomach can help prevent the negative affects of alcohol because it slows the stomach emptying.
Avoid Eating Foods That Will Make You Nauseous: If you are prone to feeling nauseated after drinking, try not eating foods that will make you feel even more ill. This includes things like greasy or spicy food because they can both upset your stomach and trigger nausea.
Keep Snacks Near You While Drinking
Chances are that any good night spent enjoying tequila shots with the guys is going to be more than a one and done situation. While it is important to avoid drinking on am empty stomach you should also continue to snack between shots as well.
Whether that involves chips and salsa, tacos, or something else, this will help your stomach process the alcohol better and avoid it flowing into your bloodstream too fast.
Fatty snacks such as bacon-wrapped "TJ Dogs", barbacoa tacos, or even a classic American-style taco with cheese and sour cream will also help by coating your mouth, tongue, and throat with a layer of fat. This will help prevent the alcohol from entering through the mucus membranes before arriving in your stomach where it can be processed less rapidly.
This fatty layer will also allow you to avoid some of the "burning" sensation when doing shots of high-proof tequila.
Pace Yourself By Only Having One Shot Per Hour
This isn't very realistic for most people so take this as a guideline rather than a rule. By spacing out your shots, you can avoid over consumption.
I should also mention that you shouldn't mix tequila with any other hard liquor and even drinks like beers or margaritas. The mixture of alcohols is a sure recipe for disaster because they'll both be processed in your stomach which will make the process much slower than it would normally go. It isn't that there is some magic chemical reaction if you chase a tequila shot with a shot of whiskey followed by a beer ... but that's just a lot of alcohol all at the same time. Be nice to your body and give it a chance to recover before piling more punishment onto your stomach!
If you've ever seen someone try to chug beer or vodka, then you know what I'm talking about: this plan isn't going to work out well for most people so don't even think about trying these shots back-to-back!
Also, the more alcohol that you consume, the less likely you are to make good decisions about how much more you can tolerate.
Avoid Cocktails That Are High In Acid and Sugar
Alcoholic Drinks that are high in sugar and acid are going to be hard to digest and sugar can lead to headaches as well. Drinking too many margaritas or other mixed drinks can mess with your stomach in the short term as well as lead to headaches and indigestion later.
Drink A High Quality 100% Agave Tequila
High quality tequilas made with 100% blue agave can help you avoid getting sick. The higher the quality of the tequila, the less likely it will contain too many impurities that could lead to stomach issues.
Some of our favorite tequila brands include: Don Julio, Partida, and Herradura though we enjoy exploring many of the smaller and emerging brands such as Prospero.
Avoid Activities That Will Shake Up Your Stomach
This should be obvious but remember that one time when you were feeling great till you got up from the table and started dancing? Yeah ... 'nuff said!
Avoid Too Much Sun and Heat If You Are Drinking Heavily
While night is a great time to consume tequila at a party, many of us had our first experiences with tequila shots on a hot, sunny beach somewhere in Mexico or on a cruise ship in the Caribbean.
Heat and sun exposure can magnify problems associated with over consumption of alcohol, including dehydration.
Don't Do More Shots Just Because Your Friends Do
Peer pressure can be tough to overcome , but if you try to play catch up with your friends, it's too easy to continue drinking through nausea.
Don't drink past the point of feeling sick or until vomiting begins; this is also known as "drinking till puking."
This will only cause a larger hangover that lasts much longer because the body has not had time to recover from dehydration and toxic alcohol levels.
Instead, consider taking breaks during your evening out so that by morning, you're back at zero drinks (i.e., sober).
Saying no when your friends start chanting SHOT SHOT SHOT! can be tough to do but trust us ... it's way easier than having to explain why you are staying in bed the next morning instead of going out on the awesome fishing charter.
Consider Using Hydration and Hangover Prevention Drinks
There are many options available today when it comes to hydration drinks and hangover prevention cures. One such product is called Rescue.
Rescue's formula works to reduce hangover symptoms, while at the same time delivering a healthy dose of hydration and electrolytes - all without sugar or artificial colors!
Get Plenty Of Sleep After Partying
You had a rough night last night but you survived the evening, even if you may have done a few more drinks than your body wishes you had. Getting plenty of sleep is essential to help your body fully recover from the evening and replenish itself.
Your body will continue to metabolize the alcohol even while you sleep , so make sure you have at least a few hours of sleep to help your body recover.
Eat A Healthy Breakfast With Lots Of Liquids
Whether this is the next morning or even before you go to bed, a healthy breakfast can help you avoid a hangover or at least reduce the intensity.
If you don't have time for breakfast before bedtime, try drinking a juice drink that contains electrolytes like watermelon or strawberry juices. Fruits contain high levels of natural sugars which provide energy without any negative side effects from sugar intake (such as artificial sweeteners). This will help replenish lost nutrients after consuming too much booze.
Drinking plenty of fluids is also essential to your body's ability to process the alcohol as well as general health. Try eating a meal that has lots of protein and vegetables.
For instance, an omelet with avocado, tomatoes, and spinach or oatmeal with fruit and yogurt are both good choices.
Don't eat fatty food!
Don't eat large amounts fatty foods before a night of heavy drinking or after. The fat content will just make the tequila more difficult to process and could lead to stomach upset, nausea, or vomiting.
While some traditions suggest that eating a huge breakfast with lots of sausage and bacon will help you recover quicker, that just isn't true and can actually make you more sick.
So remember these dos and don’ts next time someone offers you a shot of their favorite liquor – cheers!