Does Sake give you a hangover and is there a cure for it? It’s actually a surprisingly common question and one that doesn’t exactly have a straightforward answer.
If you’re on this article, chances are, you’re looking for an alcoholic beverage that’ll give you less of a hangover. Perhaps you’ve even heard that Sake doesn’t give you a hangover at all.
In this article, we’re going to take a detailed look at whether sake gives you a bad hangover or not. And most importantly, whether there is anything you can to get rid of a sake hangover if you end up having one.
Sake is a Japanese drink that is popular in restaurants and bars all over the world. With its popularity comes many myths which we aim to shine some light on.
So, with the introductions out the way, let’s take look into everything you need to know about sake and hangovers.
What is Sake?
Sake, also spelled saké is an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting rice that has been polished to remove the bran. It’s also known as Japanese rice wine.
Despite the name, unlike wine, in which alcohol is produced by fermenting sugar that is naturally present in grapes, Sake is produced by a brewing process that is similar to how beer is made, where starch is converted into sugars, which ferment into alcohol.
Furthermore, the alcohol content differs between sake, wine, and beer; while most beer contains 3–9% alcohol, wine generally contains around 14% alcohol and sake contains 15–20% alcohol.
In Japanese, the word “sake” can refer to any alcoholic drink. However, the drink we typically refer to as “Sake” is more well known as nihonshu, meaning ‘Japanese liquor’.
How do you drink Sake?
Sake is traditionally drunk from small cups called choko or o-choko and poured into the choko from ceramic flasks called tokkuri. Traditionally one does not pour one’s own drink, which is known as tejaku, but instead, members of a party pour drinks for each other.
It’s drunk cold, at room temperature or warmed depending on the type of sake and time of year. Sake is often enjoyed during appetizers, or izakaya (tapas) style dining.
Many of these points mentioned above are important in the link between sake and hangovers. And now that we’ve got the basics out the way, we can take a closer look at whether Sake gives you a hangover.
Does Sake give you a hangover?
So, now it’s time to take a look at the all-important question of whether Sake gives you a hangover or not.
Technically speaking, all alcohol regardless of type has the potential to give you a hangover. Therefore, sake can definitely give you a hangover if you drink enough of it.
That said, sake may cause less of a hangover than other drinks. This is because it has low to moderate alcohol content and it’s generally a light-colored alcoholic beverage.
Lighter colored drinks contain fewer congeners. Congeners are the name given to the by-products produced during the fermentation and aging process of alcohol. They are naturally occurring and are responsible for the taste and aroma of alcohol drinks.
However, studies have shown that drinks which have a higher concentration of congeners give worse hangovers.(1)
It’s why a red wine hangover can be much worse than if you were drinking gin.
Depending on the age of sake, it’ll usually be clear to light yellow in color which means it has a low congener concentration.
Furthermore, sake is traditionally drunk with a meal. This greatly reduces the chances of getting a bad hangover because food slows down the absorption of alcohol.
As a result, the steady absorption of alcohol instead of large peaks in blood alcohol concentration gives your liver a chance to metabolize alcohol and its by-products.
Sake contains a similar amount of alcohol to wine. Therefore, it you can definitely get a hangover if you drink too much Sake.
Sake hangover cure
So, you’ve woken up with a Sake hangover and are looking for a cure, what do you do?
At this stage, it’s important for us to mention that a magic sake hangover cure doesn’t exist. That said, there are certain things you can do to dampen the blow. In particular, we’ll also focus on things you can do to prevent a sake hangover.
You should treat a sake hangover like any other hangover. At the end of the day, alcohol is alcohol. It doesn’t make much difference what the source of the alcohol is.
The main causes of a hangover are dehydration, inflammation, and poor sleep quality. Therefore, any measure you take should aim to counteract some of these causes of a hangover.
Need something to help you bounce back after drinking?*
Everyone knows that rehydration is key when it comes to hangovers. Most people try to rehydrate in the morning after a night out. However, this is counterproductive because by this stage the damage caused by dehydration is already done.
Drinking water while you’re drinking alcohol and directly after is essential in preventing a sake hangover. You can enhance rehydration by investing in some rehydration sachets which will provide you with additional minerals and salts that are lost.
There are certain supplements on the market nowadays which are designed to support your body during periods of overindulgence.
So-called hangover supplements like AfterDrink contain vitamins, minerals, amino acids and herbal extracts that are designed to support your antioxidant defenses. In addition, some ingredients such as DHM and Gingseng have been shown in preliminary studies to reduce the symptoms of a hangover.
It’s important to mention that the research into the herbal extracts that have been shown to be beneficial for hangovers is in its early days and nothing has been proven yet.
Painkillers like Adderall and ibuprofen will help reduce the headache and muscle aches associated with a hangover.
Drugs like Adderall and ibuprofen come with an extensive list of side effects which you should familiarise yourself with. In particular, ibuprofen can cause stomach upset.
Back to sleep
The best sake hangover cure is to try and get some more rest and sleep. If you’ve got the luxury of time, taking yourself back to bed will give your body the much-needed downtime it needs to recover.
Things to avoid
There are certain things you’ll want to avoid if you’ve got a sake hangover. and you’ll be surprised how common it is that people do these things routinely.
Reaching for a cup of coffee is the go-to drink for most people when hungover. But you may want to think twice the next time you reach for a mug of black gold.
Although caffeine will certainly make you feel more awake and alert, the extra stimulation can make you feel more on edge and jittery. Furthermore, caffeine is a diuretic like alcohol which means it can exacerbate dehydration.
“Sweating out a hangover” is a common myth that many people still believe in. There are no mysterious “toxins” to sweat out when hungover. Doing exercise or using a sauna only puts added pressure on your already fragile body. Take it easy, Netflix and chill.
Hard to digest food
After a big night out you may want to switch to healthier food to balance everything out. However, salads and vegetables are hard foods for your stomach to digest. The same goes for red meat.
If you’re feeling nauseous, you may want to consider avoiding these foods to allow some more time for your gastrointestinal tract to recover. Simple carbohydrates like pasta, rice, and potatoes may sit better in your stomach when hungover.
Sake hangover – Final words
That brings us to the end of our look into Sake hangovers.
We’ve walked you through some of the reasons why sake could give you less of a hangover. This is mainly because sake is generally a lighter colored drink and, therefore, contains lower concentrations of congeners.
Furthermore, sake is traditionally drunk alongside a meal which greatly reduces how fast alcohol is absorbed.
Ultimately, if you drink enough sake, you’re guaranteed to wake up with a hangover. And if you’ve heard that sake doesn’t give you a hangover, it’s simply not true.
If you’re interested in finding out about which type of alcohol gives the worst hangovers, check out our article on wine hangovers.