“Give me a whisky and lemonade – oh, and make sure you serve it in a straight-sided glass”.
The bar man might think you’re already a little tipsy, but in actual fact, this would be one way to avoid yourself becoming tipsy, as the evening progressed.
According to a study published by researchers from Bristol’s School of Experimental Psychology – the shape of the glass matters.
The shape of things to come
The Bristol team set out to find out if the shape of the glass a drink was served in, impacted on the speed at which the drink was consumed.
To do this, the team invited 160 social drinkers around for a few drinks, on several different occasions. They mixed and matched what was on offer,
- sometimes participants were served an alcoholic beverage, while on other occasions, it was just an ordinary fizzy cold drink.
- the beverages were either served in straight lined glasses or in a beer flute, a glass with a bit of a curve.
As the participants hung out, enjoying the social occasion, members of the team were carefully recording their drinking speed.
Taking it slow
When the alcoholic beverage was served in a straight-lined glass – it was consumed S-L-O-W-L-Y.
On average, it took the drinker twice as long to finish the drink served in a straight glass, compared to the curved glass.
When the drink was non-alcoholic, the shape of the glass made no difference to the speed at which the beverage was consumed.
Following the meniscus
The research team suspected that the reason for this clear difference, was due to the curved glass creating a visual conundrum.
The drinker was unable to gauge the half way mark, in the curve shaped glass.
To confirm their suspicion, they took the drinkers out of the bar and put them in front of a computer screen. The computer flashed pictures of glasses containing varying volumes of liquids in front of the participants. ach time the glass flashed before them, they had to decide if it was more or less, than half full.
Getting it “right” with a curved glass was a tad complicated.
Participants performance in the lab, pretty much matched their performance in the bar. Those who were particularly poor, ended up drinking a lot faster, from a curved glass.
The tipsy curve
You might be thinking – hello, this is so academic.
How is this relevant to my next party ?
Well, as a drug, alcohol is pretty special. It follows what is know as zero order kinetics – which means, your body can only handle a given amount every hour.
Now granted, some body’s can handle a lot more per hour, than others. This is a matter of genes and practise. And as with most things in life, the more you practise the better you become at it.
Down for the count
So if you’re drinking in a social situation, you need to get the dose right.
You are striving to drink enough to take the edge off – so you are a little bit more relaxed. The relaxed you is more likely to strike up a conversation with a stranger and laugh at their not so funny jokes
But you don’t want the alcohol level to rise to the point that you’re not terribly sure, who you are. In this state, you may do and say things you will sincerely regret.
How fast the alcohol is loaded into you counts.
If you load up too quickly, the amount of alcohol landing in your system can overwhelm your enzymes – leaving you whoozy and light headed or if you really overdo it – dead headed.
So you need to keep an eye on the speed at which you’re drinking.
Slow and steady, is the safe way to drink.
Safe drinking requires pacing yourself.
If you’re drinking out of a curved glass – you won’t be able to do this as well.
So as you celebrate during the Silly Season – avoid silly behaviour and insist your bar man serves you that drink in….
A straight lined glass.
PS. If you do overdo it, use a little biochemistry and rescue yourself from the morning after meltdown.
Only normal brain cells sober up after an alcohol soaking, neuronal stem cells tend to succumb, leaving you short on neuron replacement capabilities.
A glass of wine is able to slow things down in the gut, reducing the angst faced by your liver, as all the calories you’ve just consumed coming rushing in
The alcohol turns your brain off. Caffeine turns the circuits on. Discover what is going on in the brain when alcohol and caffeine are mixed.
Interested in learning more about the chemistry behind having a little fun ?
Subscribe, to get e-mail updates that will help you create BETTER BODY CHEMISTRY, so you can keep your body chemistry balanced, whatever you’re up to
NOTE : Privacy & spam policy. Spoonful of Science will not rent, trade or sell the e-mail list to anyone. You can unsubscribe at any time by following the unsubscribe link.