Conventional drinking wisdom says you shouldn’t mix wine and beer with harder stuff, and that if you’re going to risk it, liquor goes first. “Grape or grain, but never the twain!” Also, “Beer before liquor, never been sicker.”
But according to Claudia Hammond at the BBC, that’s not actually true. (Good rhymes, though.) You don’t get a hangover from what you drink, she says. You get a hangover from how much you drink. It’s totally possible that sampling a variety of drinks throughout the evening means you’ll end up taking in more alcohol overall — and end up more hungover for it — but it’s the quantity that’s the culprit, not the order. “The existing evidence,” Hammond writes in no uncertain terms, “suggests that hangovers can’t be blamed on mixing drinks.”
Before you celebrate, though, know this: not all alcohols are created equal, hangover-wise (also, flavor-wise). Mix all you want, but for best results/minimal headaches, Hammond suggests you stay away from the darker-colored alcohols, which have higher levels of congeners than their clearer siblings. Congeners (the non-ethanol products of the fermentation process) make whiskey taste like whiskey and rum taste like rum, but also, they make you feel terrible in the morning. The answer to recurrent hangovers, apparently, is vodka! Or, you know, moderation.