A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“Better days are just around the corner. They are called Friday, Saturday and Sunday” (3/29)
“Nothing screws up your Friday like realizing it’s only Thursday” (3/29)
“Thursday—the most useless day of the week” (3/29)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (3/29)
“New York leads all cities in the number of people around whom you shouldn’t make a sudden move” (3/29)
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Entry from January 20, 2009
“Beer before liquor, never sicker; Liquor before beer, never fear”

Entry in progress—B.P.

Google Books
Case Studies in Health Communication
By Eileen Berlin Ray
New York, NY: Routledge
1993
Pg. 169:
In this regard they used stock sayings that many seemed to know, like, “beer before liquor, you’ll get sicker—liquor before beer, you’ll stay clear.”

New York (NY) Times
Of Epic Hangovers And Hairs of Dogs
By SARAH JAY
Published: December 28, 1994
(...)
Others drink by rhyme: “Beer before liquor,/ Never been sicker./Liquor before beer,/ You’re in the clear,” goes one old saying. While many people swear that mixing drinks intensifies a hangover, researchers cannot find evidence supporting the view.

Google Groups: alt.drunken.bastards
Newsgroups: alt.drunken.bastards
From: (Sherrie “Bear” Brooks)
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 1995 20:25:06 -0500
Local: Thurs, Feb 16 1995 7:25 pm
Subject: RE: Beer before liquor, and Hi everyone…

> Beer before liquor, never sicker.  Liquor before beer, coast is clear.

Thinking about this saying - this is my reasoning…
When I drink it’s usually beer, and lots of it.  If for some reason I stop drinking beer [dead keg, etc :o) ] I may start drinking liquor.  But I drink it at the pace I drank beer, which is way too fast.  Thus, I am “sicker.” But that’s just my opinion. 

New York (NY) Times
Q&A
By C. CLAIBORNE RAY
Published: November 12, 1996
Beer and Liquor
Q. Is there any truth in the saying ‘’Liquor before beer, never fear; beer before liquor, never sicker?’’ Based on my own experiments, I contend that this is sound advice. My roommate counters, ‘’It’s all alcohol, so what’s the difference?’’

A. The saying may have a grain of truth, alcoholism experts suggest, but so does your roommate’s belief, and neither explanation accounts for the chief cause of hangovers, beyond sheer quantity: substances in alcoholic drinks called congeners.

All carbonated alcoholic beverages, both beer and sparkling wines like Champagne, contain carbon dioxide in solution. The resulting acidity slightly irritates the lining of the stomach and the intestines, producing vasodilation, or expansion of the blood vessels, so that the alcoholic content is absorbed into the bloodstream somewhat more quickly, ounce for ounce of pure alcohol, than the alcohol in still beverages. Therefore, it is conceivable that a head start of beer might speed a drinker on the path to inebriation.

However, it is the total quantity of alcohol absorbed, whether from distilled spirits, wine, spritzers or beer, that counts toward getting drunk. And it is the congeners, alcohol molecules that have a larger number of carbon atoms, that are believed to make the biggest contribution to the sick feeling and headache of a hangover. These molecules are usually present in greater concentrations in fermented drinks, like wine or beer, than in distilled spirits, like vodka.
C. CLAIBORNE RAY

Google Groups: alt.folklore.urban
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.urban
From: (Bruce Tindall)
Date: 1997/08/29
Subject: Re: Beer Before Liquor

In article , wrote:
>allright . .how about this ..  .
>“Beer before liquor, never sicker, liquor before beer, never fear”
>does anyone know about the voracity of this saying? .. 

The version I heard in COLLEGE! (c. 1974) was “Beer *on* liquor (etc.)”, i.e., *after*, which means exactly the opposite of the version quoted above.

A hypothesis from the medically ignorant:  shots of hard liquor (whether followed by beer or not) on an empty stomach are more likely to irritate the stomach than shots that hit a layer of relatively dilute alcohol solution (beer) already in the stomach.; this would make my version of the rhyme the correct one.  Just an uneducated guess.  Your cue, Medline Boy!

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (1) Comments • Tuesday, January 20, 2009 • Permalink


Never tried this before...ever. I believe that when you drink your stick with it til the end. If it’s liquor, it’s liquor til finish. If I started with beer I’ll end with beer. Results? lesser hang over.

Posted by Jenny  on  08/09  at  02:53 AM

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