I’ve come to the conclusion that vodka is my ‘safe’ drink. Well atleast for (the fag end of) my 20s. And before you feel sorry for my liver or my seemingly pathetic attempt to ‘live it up’ before I turn the dreaded 3-0, think again. Or don’t.
I’ve always felt I’ve had distinct reactions to different alcohol. I behave distinctly apart when I have rum to when I have vodka. It’s as if the different personalities within me take shape depending upon my choice of liquor. No, these aren’t just voices in my head, they’re fully fleshed-out alter-egos that have nothing to do with the fact that I’m Gemini, as some friends have pointed out. And yes, maybe it has something to do with the all-encompassing excuse of the ‘time of the month’, but aren’t hormones just another heady cocktail which hit you when you’re at your lowest?
For example, Old Monk, makes me want to tell people about how my life is basically The Hunger Games, or how even Deepak Chopra doesn’t know enough about the mysterious nuances of the universe. Beer makes me feel bloated and sleepy, but I have this theory that it makes my face glow the next day? Enough said. Whiskey I’m not a huge fan of (judge all you want) but who am I kidding, I just have the really good stuff when someone’s paying.
My wine alter-ego is the most distinct of the lot. I refer to herrrr in third person ‘cause I mean, I don’t even wanna know what she’s been upto, am I right? Simply put, snatch the phone (and the bottle) away from my hand when I’m ‘under the influence’. Clear the room of any XX chromosomes and any sappy references of ‘stargazing’ or ‘listening to the sound of the waves while holding hands’ or ‘getting lost in the forest together’ or… you get the drift. If you’re anything like ‘her’, delete Tinder off your phone. I mean it. Also, she might think she’s Marion Cotillard waiting for a train, a train that will take her far away, but we all know what happens when she jumps off that ledge.
Which brings me to vodka. I’m surprisingly in control when I have vodka. I know you’re thinking that that’s the most absurd thing you’ve heard, but don’t get me wrong. It’s not like vodka doesn’t get me tipsy. Or gut-wrenchingly smashed. It just doesn’t have the reaction it used to. Like when in college we would head out; all 8 girls stuffed in a grimy auto, off to a questionable nightclub wearing even more questionable makeup, proceeding to conveniently blank out on details of last night’s questionable behaviour. Or when we were down to our bottom rupee and would have to make do with that disgusting green apple-flavoured stuff with a highly underrated gem of a discovery, this sugar-overloaded sweet called Mysore Pak, to kick in the buzz. Again, don’t judge. Desperate times, desperate measures.
No, vodka, which I now have with soda thanks to the weakening pace of my metabolism, brings out the balance within me. I’m fun but not too fun. I’m philosophical but not too philosophical. I’m introspective but not too much. I’m confident but not in a cocky way. Also, vodka brings out my drunken superpowers (dance-off anyone?). And while these superpowers might be less Peter Parker and more Neville Longbottom, who’s complaining? I get unflinchingly sound sleep and wake up fresh as a tipsy-daisy.
Research however, (yes, I’ve researched this and yes, I need to get a grip) busts the myth. The Conversation says, “The liver can process only a limited amount of alcohol at a time so any excess remains in the blood and travels to other organs, including your brain where mood is regulated. There’s no evidence that different types of alcohol cause different mood states. People aren’t even very good at recognising their mood states when they have been drinking.”
Then why do so many people (including friends over on Instagram who took my survey on the same) recount experiences of different booze giving them different buzz? The answer is apparently in the ‘how’ rather than the ‘why’ of it. “One possible explanation: mixers. Lots of people shoot tequila straight, whereas rum is commonly taken in tandem with something else – cola, for example. If you’re combining gin with tonic, or vodka with something super-caffeinated like Red Bull, who’s to say the drunk you’re experiencing is due to the alcohol, and not because of what you’re drinking with it?” says Gizmodo.
But there’s a psychosocial explanation. We ‘expect’ alcohol to affect us differently. “Consider for example that even when test subjects are given a standardized dose of ethanol and attain the same blood alcohol level as other study participants, their reactions tend to vary dramatically. Some act utterly sloshed, while others barely bat an eye.”
It does perhaps explain why I feel fancy when I’m holding a wine glass in my hand and feel the need to use words like ‘sanguine’. I will, one day, when I figure out what it means and how to use it in a sentence. Or when I see Homer Simpson in the mirror just after downing one mug of beer. Whatever may be the case, I’m sticking to my safe drink. Atleast until I ‘grow out’ of it, or until my body becomes three parts vodka, making me immune to its charm. In which case, maybe say hello to a new alter-ego, and pray she’s not lecherous, clingy, over-dramatic, boring, or more importantly, too safe.