How to Drink More Effectively over the Holidays: Advice from Russians

We’ve heard all the excuses. In fact, we practically made all of them up so there’s no need to tell us it was because your cousin just got married, or you’re trying some new and expensive alcohol, or you’re trying to stay warm, “It’s the holidays! Give me a break!”

I’m sure by this point you’re getting tired of all the drinking at any type of party, whether it’s for family, friends, or work. You may be fine with it but you might want a little extra fuel in your engine. Or rather, an added tweak to make your machine work a little smoother than usual.

You’ve heard that Russians can take their alcohol. And for good reason. We know how to drink. We know how to drink well.

So if you find it hard confronting others about not wanting to drink, here are a few tricks we’ve encountered over the years to help you get through a party that involves a lot of drinking. It’s a good guide to read even if you just want to be smarter about your drinking.

Here are 5 ways to handle heavy drinking if you find it awkward saying ‘no’:

  1. The oldest trick in the book is this: For every glass of alcohol, drink one glass of water. This supposedly dilutes the alcohol. Has that ever worked for you? For some people it does, but for others it takes a lot more. If your tolerance is a lot lower than the average college drinking student, you may want to start off with drinking 2-3 glasses of water BEFORE starting to drink your alcohol for the night. And then ALSO drink a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage.
  2. Good thing there’ll be a lot to eat on the table! Especially if it’s a family party. Mm that chicken. Those yams. That Caesar sal—forget about the salad. Forget about any salad. Go straight for the gold. The proteins. The fats. The carbs. You may think salad is a good idea if you’re trying to stay healthy but come on, if you’re reading this then you’re going to be drinking over the holidays. And that’s not too healthy. So yes, you can eat some salads but you should be eating A LOT of carbohydrates and proteins if you don’t want the alcohol hitting you that hard.
  3. What’s a more festive drink than egg nog? EGG NOG AND COGNAC! But before you start drinking any type of alcohol, dairy or not, try eating about a half a glass of sour cream before that. If you’re not a fan of egg nog, you’re not going to like the next suggestions. Drink a full glass of whole milk beforehand. Eat a raw egg before eating AND drinking. But if the party won’t be at your house, then these are awkward suggestions and I wouldn’t recommend carrying these things around with you. It would be easier to just refuse alcohol, wouldn’t you say? These are all good ingredients to eat before a party because they would create a fatty lining in your stomach, preventing incoming alcohol from getting absorbed by the stomach walls.
  4. If you don’t have access to any of the above, even water (which doesn’t happen too often), then take a look at what your options are for the night. Are there cocktails? Is there wine, beer, hard liquor, or something else? How about pop? Or did they already mix it all in to the cocktails…? Your best bet is to drink something that’s not carbonated (doesn’t have bubbles). That means wine or hard liquor. And NOT adding anything to either of those. If you want to be even safer, go for a lighter drink (in colour, not percentage). So if you have to choose between bourbon whiskey and vodka, choose the latter.
  5. If you’re not willing to do any of these and you’re looking for a healthy alternative, go for a run. To your house. If the party is at your house, pour yourself a really big glass of wine and nurse it the entire night. No one will believe that that’s the only drink you’ve had all night.

Hopefully you try one or more of these tricks this holiday season. If you don’t want to do so and know someone who needs a lesson about drinking, give them this advice. Know that you always have a choice. Happy holidays and stay healthy!

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