Vodka is an alcoholic beverage that’s popular in many countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Norway, Finland, and Iceland. It is also sold in the US.
As an alcoholic beverage, taking vodka can make you drunk. The question is how much vodka does it take to make you intoxicated? Let’s find out.
What is vodka made of?
Vodka can be made from different starting materials such as potatoes, fruits, corn, grapes, grains, and sugar. They are first fermented, then distilled, and finally filtered.
How much alcohol is in vodka?
There are various formulations of vodka, each having different levels of alcohol. Typically, vodka has about 35 to 40 percent alcohol by volume. In some variants, though, the alcohol content can be as high as 95 percent.
How many shots of vodka can I take before getting drunk?
There is no hard and fast rule on the number of shots you have to take before getting drunk. Actually, even “drunk” is vague in itself – you can be anywhere from mildly drunk (tipsy) to dead drunk (flat on the floor and unconscious).
How much vodka you can handle depends on your tolerance for alcohol. If your alcohol tolerance is low, then you could feel tipsy after just one shot. On the other hand, if your tolerance is fairly high, then you can drink one whole bottle (or more) before feeling tipsy.
Also, you would get drunk faster if you take vodka on an empty stomach. Since there’s nothing for the stomach to digest, it will absorb the alcohol faster and distribute it to your bloodstream. In turn, you’ll feel the effects faster than if you drink it while eating.
In the latter case, your stomach will be more focused on digesting the food. That way, the alcohol won’t be absorbed into the bloodstream as quickly. So, eating while taking vodka shots is one way of delaying those drunken or tipsy feelings.
What factors influence alcohol tolerance?
Different people have different levels of tolerance for alcohol. This depends on some factors like:
- Sex: Women generally have lower tolerance for alcohol than men. In other words, most women get tipsy and drunk faster.
- Body weight: Heavier people tend to tolerate more alcohol than those with lower weight.
- Metabolic rate: Some people metabolize alcohol faster, so it takes more shots for them to get drunk.
- Health conditions: Those with pre-existing conditions may be more prone to intoxication than people in better health. Some people also have allergies to alcohol, which means they should not drink at all.
- Age: Older people tend to be more vulnerable to getting drunk than younger ones.
- Medications: If you’re drinking certain medicines, you may be less tolerant to alcohol. You may not even be allowed to drink at all. Alcohol can inactivate certain drugs or cause you to overdose accidentally.
Why do I get drunk with vodka?
Alcohol is a substance known as a depressant. In other words, it slows down the activity of your brain and central nervous system. Specifically, it slows down the signaling of neurons in your brain. In turn, this has the following effects:
- Impaired judgment
- Difficulty thinking clearly
- Slurred speech
- Uncoordinated movements (e.g. cannot walk straight, bumping into walls, falling when trying to walk)
- Blurred vision
When you get intoxicated, you will also feel flushed and sweaty, and you will urinate more frequently.
Additionally, alcohol can also promote the release of serotonin and dopamine – two brain chemicals involved in feelings of pleasure and reward. That’s why you can also feel happy and relaxed when drinking vodka.
Why do I get a hangover?
When you drink excess alcohol, you are likely to get a hangover the next day. A number of things cause it, including:
- Dehydration: Alcohol makes you urinate more often, which leads to loss of fluids in the body. In turn, you will feel headaches, fatigue, and thirst.
- Poor sleep: Alcohol affects your sleep pattern. You can’t get a good sleep, leading to restlessness and more fatigue.
- Acetaldehyde production: Acetaldehyde is a by-product of alcohol breakdown in your body. It is a toxic substance, which can make you feel sick.
- Low blood sugar: Alcohol can decrease your blood sugar level, causing you to feel weak and tired.
- Gastrointestinal (GI) tract irritation: Alcohol irritates the lining of your stomach (GI tract), causing stomach pain and nausea.
- Mini-withdrawal: When the effects of alcohol wear off, your brain will struggle to adjust to the absence of the substance. With that, you would feel anxious or irritable easily.
How would I know how much alcohol is in my body?
There is a way to determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), or the amount of alcohol present in your body. You can do this through a breathalyzer test, which is often used by police officers to check for drunk driving. You can get one without having to approach the cops, though.
Generally, starting from 3% BAC, your driving skills will begin to be affected. You may be caught and charged with DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol) when your breathalyzer test is at this level or higher.
BACs of 30% or higher are fatal. People rarely reach this level, but it’s still possible, especially for very heavy drinkers.
How do I avoid getting drunk from vodka?
The key to avoiding intoxication is drinking moderately. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans define moderate as drinking up to 1 drink per day for women or 2 drinks per day for men. One drink is defined as 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol; in terms of vodka, which is typically 40% alcohol, that is 1.5 fluid ounces of the beverage.
Additionally, here are a few more tips to drink vodka safely:
- Sip the drink slowly. Do not gulp a whole glass of vodka in one shot.
- Stay hydrated. Drink a full glass of water in between shots.
- Avoid drinking on an empty stomach.
- Know your limits. Always have in mind the maximum number of drinks or shots you will take beforehand. Do not drink any more than that.