The shape of your drinks glass determines if you get tipsy

drink from the right shaped glass “Give me a whisky and lemonade – oh, and make sure you serve it in a straight-sided glass”.

The bar man might think you’re already a little tipsy, but in actual fact, this would be one way to avoid yourself becoming tipsy, as the evening progressed.

According to a study published by researchers from Bristol’s School of Experimental Psychology – the shape of the glass matters.

The shape of things to come

The Bristol team set out to find out if the shape of the glass a drink was served in, impacted on the speed at which the drink was consumed.

To do this, the team invited 160 social drinkers around for a few drinks, on several different occasions. They mixed and matched what was on offer,

  • sometimes participants were served an alcoholic beverage, while on other occasions, it was just an ordinary fizzy cold drink.
  • the beverages were either served in straight lined glasses or in a beer flute, a glass with a bit of a curve.

As the participants hung out, enjoying the social occasion, members of the team were carefully recording their drinking speed.

Taking it slow

When the alcoholic beverage was served in a straight-lined glass – it was consumed S-L-O-W-L-Y.

On average, it took the drinker twice as long to finish the drink served in a straight glass, compared to the curved glass.

When the drink was non-alcoholic, the shape of the glass made no difference to the speed at which the beverage was consumed.

Following the meniscus

The research team suspected that the reason for this clear difference, was due to the curved glass creating a visual conundrum.

The drinker was unable to gauge the half way mark, in the curve shaped glass.

To confirm their suspicion, they took the drinkers out of the bar and put them in front of a computer screen. The computer flashed pictures of glasses containing varying volumes of liquids in front of the participants.

Each time the glass flashed before them, they had to decide if it was more or less, than half full.

Getting it “right” with a curved glass was a tad complicated.

Participants performance in the lab, pretty much matched their performance in the bar. Those who were particularly poor, ended up drinking a lot faster, from a curved glass.

The tipsy curve

You might be thinking – hello, this is so academic.

How is this relevant to my next party ?

Well, as a drug, alcohol is pretty special. It follows what is know as zero order kinetics – which means, your body can only handle a given amount every hour.

Now granted, some body’s can handle a lot more per hour, than others. This is a matter of genes and practise. And as with most things in life, the more you practise the better you become at it.

Down for the count

So if you’re drinking in a social situation, you need to get the dose right.

You are striving to drink enough to take the edge off – so you are a little bit more relaxed. The relaxed you is more likely to strike up a conversation with a stranger and laugh at their not so funny jokes

But you don’t want the alcohol level to rise to the point that you’re not terribly sure, who you are. In this state, you may do and say things you will sincerely regret.

How fast the alcohol is loaded into you counts.

If you load up too quickly, the amount of alcohol landing in your system can overwhelm your enzymes – leaving you whoozy and light headed or if you really overdo it – dead headed.

So you need to keep an eye on the speed at which you’re drinking.

Slow and steady, is the safe way to drink.

Pacing yourself

Safe drinking requires pacing yourself.

If you’re drinking out of a curved glass – you won’t be able to do this as well.

So as you celebrate during the Silly Season – avoid silly behaviour and insist your bar man serves you that drink in….

A straight lined glass.

PS. If you do overdo it, use a little biochemistry and rescue yourself from the morning after meltdown.

Glass Shape Influences Consumption Rate for Alcoholic Beverages. PLoS ONE (2012) 7 (8): e43007 Angela S. Attwood, Nicholas E. Scott-Samuel, George Stothart, Marcus R. Munaf.

Interested in learning more about the chemistry behind having a little fun ?

Subcribe to E-spoons, to get e-mail updates once a month to learn how to keep your body chemistry balanced.

NOTE : Privacy & spam policy. Spoonful of Science will not rent, trade or sell the e-mail list to anyone. You can unsubscribe at any time by following the unsubscribe link.

Know someone who will find this post useful ? Share it on facebook, linkedin, twitter

Further reading

neuronal stem cell succumbing to alcohol caffeine fiddling with the brain switches a glass of wine slowing down the gut
Drinking till you’re “motherless” leaves you stem cell less Caffeine is the ultimate party killjoy A glass of wine winds down more than just your head

The 7 Big Spoons™…. are master switches that turn health on.

balance eicosanoids rein in insulin dial down stress sleep vitamin D microflora think
Balance Eicosanoids Rein in insulin Dial down stress Sleep ! Increase Vit D Culivate microflora Think champion

Hire Dr Sandy from a Spoonful of Science to be the keynote speaker at your next event.

Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below

This entry was posted in Alcohol and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>