The Feelings Associated With Different Alcohols

If you’re anything like us, you probably don’t limit your alcohol intake to Italian wines. As much as we love wine, sometimes the bight calls for a beer or some spirits instead.

Where we are can play as much of a role in what we drink as anything else. For example, if you’re sitting at home with a book, you’re much more likely to drink a glass of wine than anything else. However, when you’re out clubbing with your friends, it’s likely that the spirits and shots will start flowing. Maybe you’ll have a beer with your dad instead of a glass of wine of any spirits.

The point is that there are many situational occurrences that influence our drinking decisions. It can often feel like there’s a drink for every occasion.

But have you put any thought into how these different drinks may affect you emotionally.

Even if you haven’t put any thought into the subject, you likely have an idea of how different types of alcohol affect you. Many people even go out of their way to avoid certain types of alcohol because of the feelings they elicit.

Well, that link between feelings and alcohol is no longer conjecture. It’s something that has been studied extensively, with the paper published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

So, do different drinks affect your emotions in varying ways? Read on to find out more.

The Study

Before we get to the results, let’s examine the study in detail. After all, a study proves little when conducted on a small test group. A study that looks at 50 people is far less reliable than one to looks at thousands. The smaller sample size alone ensures that.

With this study, the researchers spoke to and examined over 29,000 people to come to their conclusions. Each was aged between 18 and 34, with participants coming from 21 different countries. This eliminated the potential for locational bias. Each participant also had to fill in a questionnaire before taking part in the study. Finally, all participants must have consumed each of the following within the last year:

  • Red wine
  • Beer
  • Spirits

This ensured that faulty memories wouldn’t play a part in the study.

As for the research itself, it focused on determining the feelings that different drinks lead to. Researchers hypothesised that some types of alcohol lead to relaxed feelings, whereas others result in aggression and other negative emotions.

Let’s take a look at the results.

Red Wine

There’s plenty of good news for those who prefer drinking a glass of red wine over beers and spirits. Over half of the study’s participants associated drinking red wine with that nice relaxed feeling that you can get from alcohol. You may not have realised it, but there’s clearly a scientific reason for why you drink red wine during a bath or while you’re chilling out after a tough day. It’s the most effective of the three for helping you to relax.

This coupled with a very low number of people who feel aggression after drinking red wine. In fact, only 2.5% of respondents claimed that red wine makes them more aggressive, reinforcing the notion that it’s the most relaxing alcohol of the three.

However, drinking red wine was not associated by many with energised feelings, as you might expect. Also, few people associate red wine with feeling sexy.


Beer comes in a close second to red wine on the relaxation scale, with almost half of respondents claiming that it helps them relax. This shouldn’t come as a surprise either. Many people look forward to that first glass of cold beer after a tough day, though it’s apparently not quite as effective as red wine in the relaxation stakes.

Beer also fell in the mid-point when it comes to feelings of aggression, and is also not the tipple of choice for those who want to feel energised.

However, beer did have an interesting effect in men. According to the study, men were more likely to discuss the emotions they feel while drinking beer when compared to the other alcohol types. So, it appears that beer may be able to unlock a more emotional side to men.


There’s plenty of evidence in the study to suggest that those who want to enjoy good emotional wellbeing should avoid drinking spirits. It’s the least relaxing form of alcohol, with only 20% claiming that it can calm them down. However, many people drink spirits during nights out, to relaxation may not be the intended purpose of the drink.

What’s more worrying is that almost a third of respondents reported spirits as being responsible for feelings of aggression while drinking. Those fights and arguments that you see outside of drinking establishments may find their roots in spirit drinking.

However, there are some positives. Over half of respondents claimed that drinking spirits increased their confidence and energy levels. This sentiment was strongest among those in the 18 to 24 demographic. Over 42% also said that they believe spirits make them feel sexier, which is another reason why many people may choose spirits over other types of alcohol during a night out.

The Final Word

The study drew several other conclusions, barring those mentioned above. It found that a personals economic state and education may also affect the types of drinks that they choose.

It also found that women were more likely to link every feeling, with the exception of aggression, to all three types of alcohol. Heavy male drinkers were not only more likely to associate feelings of aggression with all types of alcohol, but they were more likely to experience those feelings than any other group in the study.

So, what can we conclude from this list. Well, Italian red wine seems to be the drink of choice if you want to enjoy calm and relaxed feelings. It’s the one most associated with relaxation, so it may be the best choice for your mental wellbeing. However, overall, it seems that the type of drink you choose may depend on the emotional state you’re looking to achieve.



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