Does Champagne / Prosecco get you Drunk Faster?
5th October 2022
Now let me first advise you that I do not proclaim that the reason we drink either Prosecco or Champagne is to intoxicate ourselves, there are far better ways to enjoy bubbles over getting to a state of blotto’ness… Though in this article we will take a look at the fact that yes, Champagne / Prosecco does get you drunk faster.
Of course, it is all down to the volume you are drinking, the timescale and also, many will agree with me on this, how well you have lined your stomach!
Average alcohol content of Champagne:
12 to 12.5%
Average Alcohol content of Prosecco:
So already, if we are drinking either then we must place Champagne ahead of Prosecco in getting you drunk faster purely because it edges things on the alcohol content. I’m sure that many readers will have heard of ‘bubbles go straight to the head‘ and we have been told a horror story or two of a drunken night out involving bubbly and the dreaded morning after hangover! So why does the likes of Champagne / Prosecco get you drunk faster than say beer, Scotch, sangria or a glass of wine?
It’s all about the carbon dioxide! Let me explain… Among the first researchers to investigate the bubbles was a group in England that published a study looking at how quickly alcohol entered the blood when people drank a bubbly Champagne versus a degassed one. “We found that the blood alcohol levels of the people drinking the gas champagne were higher for the first twenty minutes, suggesting that it had got into the blood stream a lot quicker,” the lead researcher on the study, Fran Ridout told The Naked Scientist. source npr.org
Now many people like beer and can drink this quickly too, though the important factor here is the alcohol content which sees Champagne / Prosecco a decent two times in content if not more (sometimes three times the volume). A quick glass of bubbly could equate to one pint of beer, a second glass will be two pints and so forth…
Drinking a spirit, for example, vodka or whisky, neat will have less of an effect on you compared to drinking it with cola / sparkling water etc. In 2007, scientists showed that drinking vodka mixed with something carbonated spikes your blood alcohol content to a higher level than just vodka. They attributed the spike to the presence of the bubbles. That means that when you down a glass of bubbly, you’re going to get drunker way faster than you would with any flat beverage. source foodandwine.com
When you have a short, we tend to dilute it with at least 4 x the accompanying drink (cola, orange juice, tonic water) meaning it may contain less alcohol, even if carbonated, than Champagne / Prosecco! It is also far less appealing to drink quickly over a glass of bubbly – Am I right, or am I right?
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.