Toasting friends with a glass of cheer over the holidays is a tradition, but for some folks it can quickly get out of control.
A designated driver is of course a smart strategy.
So is starting the party on a full stomach, but what you eat can make a difference.
At the Raleigh Bartending School in North Carolina, along with the ABC's of mixology, students learn the one two threes of responsible drinking.
“When you keeping an eye on your patrons take into an account the type of drink they are drinking.” These are lessons that can come in handy in the season of overindulgence, notes Director Anthony D'Agistino.
"What does it take to get to point oh eight?" he asks. "Not much"
According to the national highway traffic safety administration, four Drinks in an hour for an average 170 pound man three for a woman weighing under 140 pounds.
"About 8% of the alcohol you consume is absorbed while it's still in your mouth. It will go straight through the gums absorb into the tissue and go into the bloodstream,” says Doc Harvey, an instructor at Raleigh Bartending School.
An empty stomach will speed up that process, so will carbonation, he adds. "The carbonation in the Coke accelerates the rate of absorption into the bloodstream. Drinks made with a juice or water will actually be absorbed a little slower into the system."
It takes the liver about an hour to process one serving of alcohol whether it's an ounce of liquor or a glass of wine or beer. "But your blood alcohol can continue to increase up to 90 minutes after you stop drinking," Harvey explains.
Many people eat in an effort to slow that process.
Harvey says avoid carbohydrates which have the opposite effect, and go for proteins and fats. "When it comes to helping your customers slow down use my personal favorite, mozzarella sticks. It is the granddaddy champion for helping prevent alcohol from getting absorbed through your stomach lining."
And as for coffee or heavy foods as a sober up strategy, "It does not help. Actually there is nothing that can sober somebody up except for time," D'Agostino says.
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