There are thousands of alcoholic drinks out there, but most can be categorised into two: clear and brown. While vodka, gin and white wine fall in the former, whiskey, rum and brandy are in the latter. What are the differences between these two categories, and is one healthier than the other?
While all spirits are clear when they are distilled, some can become brown during the fermentation or maturation process thanks to a substance called “congeners”. Congeners is an important part of brown spirits. “A vodka with a lot of rich fruity congeners would not by definition even be a vodka, and a whiskey stripped of all its congeners would be about the most disgusting thing you’ve ever tried to drink,” said Craig Bridger, The Macallan Brand Ambassador.
Congeners, however, makes hangovers worse. A research by the Boston University School of Public Health and the University of Michigan Medical School found that bourbon drinkers have worse hangovers than vodka drinkers, even though they drank to the same threshold of a blood alcohol content level of 0.11.
Nevertheless, dark alcohols are not without health benefits. Dark beers and wines are found to be better for heart health than their light counterparts, thanks to their high antioxidant and flavonoid.
So, what’s the verdict? If you’re going to have a busy day, make sure not to drink too much brown spirits the night before. Most importantly, no matter what alcohol you choose, remember to drink responsibly.