Some of us will be drinking tonight, that much we all know.
It's the decisions we make after we've had a cocktail or two that may mean the difference between arriving home safely, or, arriving at a city morgue in a body bag.
That's a stark and scary thing to say but we hope it gets your attention. What some of us may not fully understand is how different types of drinks can hit us in different ways.
The conventional formula that "1 beer = 1 glass of wine = 1 shot of whiskey" is misleading and, unfortunately, too simplistic. While it's a good piece of communication to caution would-be drinkers especially that beer and wine is just as damaging to your sobriety as whiskey, it may lead some to disregard the alcohol content or 'proof' of what they're consuming if they think it's all equivalent. And if you make that mistake, you could be headed for a New Year's Eve that you'd rather forget.
More importantly for tonight's celebration it's essential that you A) Have a designated driver; and, B) Only drink on a full stomach.
Champagne is considerably more potent because it is a sparkling wine with a higher alcohol content than conventional table wines.
Champagne attains its natural effervescence through a process called 'méthode champenoise', which was first discovered and created by Franciscan monks and Dom Perignon. Before bottling, sugar and yeast are added, which initiates the secondary fermentation in the bottle. The process raises the wine’s alcohol content and imbues the Champagne with its spritz. And it is the secondary fermentation --the bubbles-- that get the alcohol into your bloodstream quicker.
Recognize too, that champagne is never served over ice, like most cocktails, and therefore it is never diluted. Champagnes generally have alcohol content ranging between 11 percent and 17 percent and should be consumed prudently.
Most table wines are generally 9 to 12 percent alcohol and most mass market beers can be anywhere from 3 to 8% alcohol. Budweiser is 5% alcohol by volume and light beers are usually a bit less. But Sam Adams produces some beers at 5 percent and they also have a Sam Adams Triple Bock that's 17.5 percent alcohol by volume. Beware. Read the label; know the alcohol content of what you're drinking.
When it comes to shots of whiskey, most of it is at least 30% alcohol and could go as high as 50% percent alcohol, meaning it's anywhere from 60 proof to 100 proof. Some specialty rums go even higher.
Tonight is not the night to 'try something new'. That's a recipe for disaster and that's how New Year's Eve got the awful moniker it's earned: 'Amateur Night.'
If you keep everything in moderation, you'll have the Happy New year we all deserve. Stay safe everybody!