If you’re ever prepped for a long night of drinking, you’ve likely heard the age-old expression that’s taken on a life of its own as an iconic pre-gaming anthem. More than an anthem, the phrase has transformed into some sort of drinking gospel, declaring “Beer before liquor, never been sicker, liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.” But will ‘beer before liquor’ actually make you sicker?

Is ‘beer before liquor’ true?

The short answer is no. At the end of the day, it’s not what you drink that will make you sick, but how much you drink. Moreover, it certainly does not matter what order you drink alcoholic products in. Drinking too much of any alcohol can make you sick; it does not matter if it’s wine, beer, or liquor, or in what order you pick your poison.

So where did this beer before liquor makes you sicker myth come from? According to The New York Times, the myth originated from the way we digest alcohol. Carbonated drinks like beer and sparkling wine can irritate the lining of the stomach, thereby increasing the rate of alcohol absorption. Science aside, there’s also the simple fact that many people who have had liquor to start with tend to drink less beer. On the other hand, on a night out people tend to progress from beer to liquor, and when they get sick at the end of the night, they often blame the last thing they drank.

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However, when questioning is beer before liquor true or weighing the decision of mixing beer and liquor, Dr. Roshini Rajapaksa, a gastroenterologist at the New York University School of Medicine, told The Times that the only thing that matters is how much you drank and if you were eating while you drank it.

So, all of us who were convinced that this drinking mantra actually held validity from a scientific standpoint were fooled. There is, unfortunately, no chemical reaction to drinking liquor before beer that wards off hangovers, so your pain the morning after drinking is likely just the result of good, old fashioned over consumption.

What is the best way to mix beer and liquor?

There is something to be said about starting your night out with liquor and transitioning to beer, as opposed to beginning with your favorite lager. As Dr. Keri Peterson wrote for Today, “With any alcohol, your inhibition decreases, which often leads to drinking more — so if you start with a beverage that has a higher alcohol content, your inhibition goes down more quickly and you tend to drink more.”

In other words, regardless of what you started with, your inhibition will be lowered by the time you get to your second and third (and fourth) drink, and you’ll be drinking more eagerly. Sticking with lower-calorie options, such as a 5 to 6 percent ABV beer, as opposed to beverages with hard liquor, will monitor the amount of alcohol going into your system. It will also likely monitor the amount of sugar in your system, which can leave you feeling less than ideal in the morning after a night out. With higher sugar contents in most spirit mixers, opting for beer not only reduces the amount of alcohol entering your system, but the amount of sugar as well. At least that’s the idea.

The moral of the story here is the pacing is key. Beyond that, if you really want to ensure you don’t wake up with a pounding head and rolling stomach, hit the water hard. Try alternating each of your alcoholic beverages with a glass of water and be sure to enjoy a large glass before tucking in for the night. We’re all adults here. You don’t want to be that guy anymore.