Skip to Content

Is it safe to mix soda with alcohol?

Mixing soda with alcohol is a common practice, especially among younger drinkers. The sweet taste of soda can mask the harsh flavor of alcohol, making it easier to consume more alcohol than intended. However, there are risks associated with mixing soda and alcohol that need to be considered.

Does soda intensify the effects of alcohol?

Yes, mixing soda with alcohol can intensify the effects of alcohol. Here’s why:

  • Carbonation: The carbonation in soda accelerates the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream from the stomach and small intestine. This leads to a faster intoxication rate.
  • Caffeine: Many sodas contain caffeine, which is a stimulant. Caffeine masks the depressive effects of alcohol, allowing you to drink more before feeling intoxicated.
  • Sugar: The sugary sweet taste of soda masks the harsh taste of alcohol, making it easier to drink more. The body also metabolizes sugar alcohol simultaneously, leading to higher blood alcohol levels.

Due to these factors, mixing soda with alcohol increases intoxication levels higher than drinking alcohol alone. You’ll get drunk faster and may underestimate your level of impairment.

Does mixing soda and alcohol increase health risks?

Consuming soda and alcohol together poses some potential health risks:

  • Dehydration: Both soda and alcohol are diuretics, meaning they cause fluid loss through increased urination. Their combined effects can lead to dehydration and its associated symptoms like dizziness, fatigue, and headache.
  • Calorie overload: The average soda has 140-170 calories per 12 oz serving. Mixed alcoholic drinks made with soda can have 300+ calories each, making it easy to consume extra calories leading to weight gain.
  • Blood sugar spikes: The high amounts of sugar in soda can cause a spike in blood glucose when mixed with alcohol. This is a concern for people with diabetes or prediabetes.
  • Increased acidity: Soda is highly acidic. Combined with the acidic nature of alcohol, mixing the two increases acidity levels in the stomach and can worsen symptoms of acid reflux.
  • Impaired judgment: Being intoxicated from alcohol impairs judgment. Caffeine from soda counteracts some of the drowsiness but doesn’t affect the actual mental processing and judgment abilities negatively impacted by alcohol.

What about low-calorie sodas like diet soda?

While low-calorie diet sodas don’t contain as much sugar, they can still intensify the effects of alcohol. Studies show that diet soda has the following risks when mixed with alcohol:

  • Diet soda acelerates intoxication faster than regular soda.
  • People who mixed alcohol with diet soda achieved higher peak breath alcohol levels than those who mixed alcohol with regular soda.
  • Diet sodas appear to increase subjective feelings of intoxication compared to regular sodas with alcohol.

So while lower in sugar and calories, diet sodas come with the same concerns around intoxication levels and masking of alcohol’s effects when mixed with alcoholic drinks.

Does soda increase alcohol consumption?

Yes, research shows that people tend to drink more alcohol overall when mixing it with soda compared to drinking alcohol alone. A study published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism found that individuals participating in a taste test drank significantly more vodka when it was mixed with soda compared to drinking vodka alone or with tonic water. Reasons for this include:

  • The sweet taste makes alcoholic drinks more palatable and easier to drink.
  • The caffeine in soda allows people to stay awake longer and drink for more extended periods.
  • Carbonation speeds up the absorption of alcohol, allowing drinkers to ingest more in less time.

What about next day effects?

Consuming alcohol and soda together can worsen next day hangover effects. This is because:

  • The increased alcohol absorption from soda leads to more severe hangovers.
  • Soda’s diuretic effects combined with alcohol contribute to dehydration, exacerbating hangover symptoms like headache, dizziness, and thirst.
  • Blood sugar crashes after the sugar highs from soda can leave you feeling fatigued and irritable the next day.
  • Drinking soda with alcohol increases stomach acidity, potentially worsening nausea.

Does the type of alcohol matter?

All types of alcoholic drinks involve risks when mixed with soda. However, some research indicates that mixing soda with spirits like vodka, rum, and whiskey may be riskier than mixing with beer or wine. A study found that subjects reported greater feelings of intoxication when soda was mixed with spirits versus beer. The carbonation and dilution of spirits with soda enable faster alcohol ingestion compared to drinking spirits straight.

Does the order you drink them matter?

Drinking soda before or while drinking alcohol can increase overall alcohol consumption. The sweet taste primes you to tolerate more alcohol and the caffeine enables you to drink for longer periods. However, some people choose to drink soda after consuming alcohol to “chase” the liquor. While this may help somewhat with the taste, it won’t reduce drunkenness or hydrate the body. Once alcohol is in your system, the only thing that reverses intoxication is time as the liver metabolizes the alcohol.


In conclusion, it’s generally not recommended to mix soda with alcoholic drinks. While it may seem harmless, especially with diet soda, mixing soda and alcohol can be risky. It leads to higher BrAC levels, faster intoxication, increased alcohol consumption, worse hangovers, and potentially dangerous effects on hydration and blood sugar levels. If you choose to mix alcohol and soda, stick to 12 oz of soda per drink, sip slowly, stay well hydrated, and monitor your alcohol intake closely.


Is mixing soda and alcohol more harmful than drinking alcohol alone?

Yes, consuming soda with alcohol is more harmful than drinking alcohol by itself. The carbonation and caffeine in soda accelerate alcohol absorption and impair your ability to judge intoxication levels properly. This leads to drinking more alcohol than intended and increased harm.

What about mixing energy drinks and alcohol?

Mixing energy drinks with alcohol is highly dangerous due to their very high caffeine content. The stimulating effects mask alcohol’s sedation, allowing people to ingest dangerously high levels of alcohol. Studies show that mixing energy drinks with alcohol increases the rate of binge drinking and risk-taking behavior.

Does mixing soda with alcohol increase the chances of blacking out?

Yes, the rapid increase in blood alcohol levels from combining soda and alcohol does increase the odds of blacking out or having a memory lapse. One study found subjects had a 3-fold increase in total blackouts when mixing alcohol with caffeinated soda versus non-caffeinated alcohol drinks.

Does soda help sober you up if you’ve had too much to drink?

No, drinking soda does not speed up the sobering process after drinking too much alcohol. Only time will sober someone up as the liver slowly metabolizes alcohol. Drinking soda when intoxicated won’t counteract the effects of alcohol already absorbed into your bloodstream and brain tissue.

Is mixing alcohol with diet soda a lower-calorie option?

While diet soda is lower in sugar and calories than regular soda, it’s still not a healthy low-calorie option when mixed with alcohol. The same risks around intoxication levels apply. If cutting calories while drinking, choose lower calorie mixers like seltzer, tonic or low-calorie juices.

What’s the healthiest soda to mix with alcohol?

No soda is healthy to mix with alcohol, even diet varieties. But if you do use soda as a mixer, avoid colas high in caffeine and phosphoric acid. Club soda or lemon-lime soda like 7Up or Sprite are lower in caffeine. But any soda comes with risks when mixed with liquor.

Key Takeaways

  • Mixing soda and alcohol is generally not recommended. It increases intoxication levels, masks alcohol’s effects, raises calorie intake, and worsens hangovers.
  • Both regular and diet sodas intensify the impact of alcohol due to carbonation, caffeine, and the masking of alcohol’s flavor.
  • People tend to drink more alcohol overall when it’s mixed with soda compared to drinking it alone.
  • The diuretic effects of soda and alcohol lead to dehydration, while caffeine and sugar create blood sugar crashes.
  • If choosing to mix soda and liquor, pace yourself by sipping slowly, adding plenty of ice, drinking water between drinks, and limiting caffeine intake from all sources.