Drinking and alcohol consumption are a very common activity and, like it or not, they’re a central part of human society. Many people of all drinking ages, especially new drinkers, wonder about ways to improve their alcohol tolerance.
Drinking tolerance can be useful for a couple of reasons. First, if you’re drinking at a work or a social event, you want to be able to consume alcohol without getting too inebriated and having your behavior get out of control. Also, the higher your alcohol tolerance, the less likely you will be to vomit or wake up with a hangover the next day. Many people also want to improve their alcohol tolerance so they can impress their friends. While this may not be advisable, it’s reality.
In this article we’ll discuss strategies for improving your alcohol tolerance. You can choose one or two tips or use all of them. The more you use, the more it will help your alcohol tolerance.
1. Drink Water Beforehand
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Hydration is key. Among other things, alcohol consumption will evaporate the water in your body, dehydrating you. This has a debilitating effect on your body and should be avoided. Drinking plenty of water before you drink will fend off dehydration and give you higher alcohol tolerance. Try to plan ahead and drink lots of water in the 24 hours before you’ll be drinking. It’s especially important to load up on water in the hour or two before you take the first drink. A good rule of thumb is to drink a cup of water for every drink you have. This will ensure that you never get too dehydrated.
2. Determine Your Current Alcohol Tolerance
Having an idea of how high your drinking tolerance is before you actually start drinking is vital. This will allow you to pace yourself and prevent going past a point where the alcohol becomes too much. Alcohol tolerance is different for everyone, and it especially varies by gender. The limit for the average woman is 3-5 drinks while the limit for most men is 7-10. Know your limit before you start drinking so you don’t unwittingly go overboard and past the point of no return.
3. Slowly Add Drinks Each Time You Drink
If you’re really trying to increase your alcohol tolerance, treat it like exercise. Don’t do too much at once because you’ll probably just end up getting hurt. Make incremental increases in your alcohol consumption each time you drink. Add one drink, maybe two, each time. This will slowly build your tolerance over time.
4. Experiment with Different Types of Alcohol
Again, like with exercise, experiment! Everyone responds to different kinds of alcohol in different ways. Some people prefer beer, some people prefer liquor, and some people prefer wine. Some people might have a lower tolerance for beer than for wine and, for others, that might be reversed. It all depends on your personal biology and how your body reacts to various types of alcohol. This also might change depending on the brands you drink within the categories in alcohol.
For example, Guinness might affect you differently than Miller Lite or you might have a naturally higher tolerance for vodka than you do for tequila. So experiment! One night, drink only wine and see what your tolerance is. The next night, drink only beer and see how you react to that. Experimenting like this over time will give you a good idea of your tolerance for a variety of alcohols.
5. Start with Low Alcohol
As with most things, slow and steady wins the race. If you drink too much too fast, you’ll go way over your tolerance. When you start slowly, you’ll better be able to monitor and modulate your level of inebriation and balance your drinking tolerance. Once you’ve started slowly and have a good idea of where your tolerance is, you can increase your alcohol intake responsibly and stay within your tolerance. So instead of starting with a double shot of vodka, perhaps you should sip and nurse a cocktail to warm up.
6. Eat While Drinking
This is a hugely important tip. The more food that’s in your stomach, the less your body will be absorbing the alcohol that you’re consuming. Conversely, the less food in your system, the more alcohol that will go straight to every cell in your body. If you haven’t eaten food in the hours before drinking and you drink too fast, you’ll blow right past your tolerance and things will get risky. Eat before you drink and plan on snacking for every two to three drinks you consume. This will create a base of food for all of the alcohol you drink and it will massively increase your alcohol tolerance.
7. Gradually Consume More Alcohol in a Safe and Responsible Way
Once you’ve worked on all of the tips above, you should have a good idea of where your tolerance is and how to responsibly acclimate yourself up to that level. You can push yourself past that limit if you work at it patiently and slowly. The next time you’re drinking and you feel yourself pushing up against your tolerance, eat something, drink some water, and give yourself a half hour to cool off. Then you can have another drink and push your tolerance further. Repeat this cycle a couple of times and your tolerance will rise slowly but surely.
8. Know When to Stop
If you’re drinking and you don’t stop, eventually you’ll go past your tolerance and up to the point of no return. No good can come of going past the point of no return. You’ll vomit, black out, and have a hangover the next day. Instead of pushing it, know your limit, know when to stop, and back off. Note where your tolerance is and save yourself for another day to try and expand your tolerance.