Hard seltzer drinks might actually change your hangover in all of the best ways

Quick notes:

  • Hard seltzer is just carbonated water and fermented sugar

  • A White Claw hangover might give you a bad stomach, but your head will probably feel okay

  • If you want to be sure to avoid a hangover, drink alcohol in moderation and drink lots of water

Love them or hate them, hard seltzer drinks are everywhere. Boxes of White Claw have overtaken beer aisles at grocery stores and local bars have started stocking their shelves full of ready-made hard seltzer options. But are there any benefits to this bizarre new trend? Is a White Claw hangover different than other hangovers? We’ve got the details.

What is hard seltzer?

You’ve probably heard of brand names White Claw, Truly, and Bon&Viv, but what is really in these hard seltzer drinks? Luckily, it’s not very hard to understand (even if you’ve already had one or two): hard seltzer is a combination of bubbly seltzer water and alcohol. The specific type of alcohol depends on the brand, but it’s usually just fermented sugar with some fruity flavors.

Although hard seltzer is really having a moment right now, it’s not all that new. The massive beer company Coors started selling a hard seltzer drink, Zima, in 1993, and while that canned beverage never had as much of a cult following as White Claw does now,  it opened the door for all sorts of other hard seltzer beverages to storm onto the scene.

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Hard seltzer researchers also don’t expect the White Claw moment to end anytime soon. Hard seltzer of all brands and flavors is being marketed as the healthy choice for drinkers of all stripes, and it turns out these advertisements aren’t entirely wrong.

What makes a White Claw hangover different?

One of the major hard seltzer claims to fame is that it gives you a different, less intense hangover the day after drinking. And while hard seltzer is still alcoholic and will very definitely make you feel less than awesome the next day if you drink too many, the hangover symptoms might not be what you expect the day after a beer, wine, or liquor binge.

A quick note, though: hard seltzer hangovers might feel different, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get them. White Claw hangovers are a bit easier to come by because imbibers might not realize just how much they’re drinking. White Claw and other hard seltzer brands keep drinkers more hydrated than other types of alcohol, so you might be less likely to stop after just a couple. However, this also means that you might not have the traditional headache (stemming from dehydration) along with your White Claw hangover, so that’s a plus.

White Claw and other hard seltzer brands keep drinkers more hydrated than other types of alcohol

Even though hard seltzer drinks are relatively low in calories (usually under 100 calories per serving), their high levels of sugar alcohol might make your stomach react a little differently than you’re used to after a night of drinking. This could include bloating, extra burping, or general gastrointestinal distress. Not great, but keep reading: there’s more good news coming.

That being said, you won’t necessarily have terrible stomachaches the next morning. You might not feel much of anything, in fact. Because hard seltzer doesn’t contain cogeners, a hangover-inducing substance found in dark liquor and red wine, you might be able to skip the nasty hangover altogether.

But don’t forget: even if you’re drinking White Claw, drinking in moderation is the way to go. Drink lots of water along with your alcoholic beverage of choice, and keep safety a priority, even when you’re day drinking.

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