If you want to feel relaxed after a hard day, better order wine or beer. Save the spirits for days you need to boost confidence or need to feel sexy, suggests the largest ever study examining how different alcoholic drinks affect emotions.
The analysis included the responses of nearly 30,000 adults aged between 18 and 34.
Around 59 per cent of the respondents associated spirits — like vodka, gin, whiskey and other hard alcohols — with feelings of energy and confidence.
And more than four out of 10 associated them with feeling sexy, showed the study published in the journal BMJ Open.
Spirits were, however, the least likely to be associated with feeling relaxed. Just 20 per cent felt so.
Red wine was the most likely to elicit this feeling (just under 53 per cent) followed by beer (around 50 per cent).
Drinking spirits was also more likely to draw out negative feelings than all the other types of alcohol.
Nearly a third (30 per cent) of spirit drinkers associated this tipple with feelings of aggression compared with around 2.5 per cent of red wine drinkers.
“Understanding emotions associated with alcohol consumption is imperative to addressing alcohol misuse, providing insight into what emotions influence drink choice between different groups in the population,” the researchers said.
The responses differed by gender and category of alcohol dependency.
The findings showed that men were significantly more likely to associate feelings of aggression with all types of alcohol, as were those categorised as heavy/dependent drinkers, who were six times more likely to do so than low risk drinkers.
And heavy drinkers were more likely to select any drink that was associated for them with feelings of aggression and tearfulness when at home or when out.
These findings suggest that dependent drinkers may rely on alcohol to generate the positive emotions they associate with drinking, as they were five times more likely to feel energised than low risk drinkers, the researchers said.
“For centuries, the history of rum, gin, vodka and other spirits has been laced with violence. This global study suggests even today consuming spirits is more likely to result in feelings of aggression than other drinks,” said study co-author Professor Mark Bellis of Public Health Wales’ Director of Policy, Research and International Development.
For the study, the researchers drew on anonymised responses to the world’s largest online survey of legal and illicit drug and alcohol use among adults – the Global Drug Survey or GDS.
The GDS, which is provided in 11 languages, includes specific questions on alcohol consumption and the feelings associated with drinking beer, spirits and red or white wine when at home or when out.