Does Milk And Alcohol Make You Sick?

In this brief article, we will be answering the question, “do milk and alcohol make you sick?”, and will also tell you the facts behind mixing milk with different types of alcoholic beverages. 

Does Milk And Alcohol Make You Sick?

Yes, milk and alcohol can make you sick, in which it may delay the withdrawal of the hangover symptoms and impair the digestion process of milk.

The ingestion of milk negatively affects the production of alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase enzymes, which function on the elimination of the symptoms of alcohol consumption. 

Why Is It Bad To Mix Milk and Alcohol?

In addition to the negative effects of consuming alcohol itself, the mixture of alcohol and milk is bad because of the effect of milk on the metabolism and elimination of the alcohol by the body.  

The withdrawal in the symptoms of hangover are related to the capacity of the body to eliminate the breakdown products of alcohol by the hepatic enzymes. Production of these enzymes can be favored by some medications and herbal plants, but also by some food items. Food has different effects on increasing and decreasing the rate in which the body removes the hangover symptoms (6). 

In a study evaluating different food items on the production of enzymes that function to remove alcohol and its products from the body, milk showed an effect on reducing the production of enzymes, which means milk is not recommended in the relief of hangovers. On the contrary, other dairy products, such as buttermilk and probiotic drinks had a positive effect on the production of such hepatic enzymes, favoring the elimination of hangovers.

And even if the nutrients present in milk are broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream, alcohol inhibits their adequate utilization by adversely affecting the body’s transport, storage, and excretion processes. This could lead to a decrease in body mass during time (1).

Milk contains the amino acid L-tryptophan.  L-tryptophan induces the production of Serotonin in the body, which is vital for the processing of emotional regulation, hunger, sleep, and pain. Tryptophan and its metabolites support the development of the central and enteric nervous systems (2). On the other hand, alcohol disrupts sleep, and continuous use significantly alters the body’s sleep-wake cycle.

Is Drinking Milk Before Consuming Alcohol Useful?

No, it is not useful. Consuming a glass of milk before drinking heavily does not reduce the effects of alcohol. As mentioned above, the effects of drinking milk are more negative than positive on the body recovery of alcohol ingestion.

On the other hand, it is also well documented that food prior to alcohol consumption reduces average blood alcohol levels, lowers its peak and delays the elimination of alcohol from the blood. A meal of fixed energy, fat, protein and carbohydrate content eaten prior to drinking alcohol can significantly reduce both subsequent peak blood alcohol level and consequent performance impairment (3).

Eating a meal with a high carbohydrate content may lower the blood alcohol level peak and reduce performance impairment of drinking alcohol (3). 

What Happens to Milk In The Stomach?

As soon as milk makes its way into the human stomach, the latter’s acidic digestive fluids change it into curd. Coagulation of casein micelles and milk fat globules can occur due to pepsin-induced hydrolysis of the proteins. The gastric coagulation leads to delayed gastric emptying of casein and fat. Native whey proteins are not susceptible to gastric coagulation or delayed gastric emptying (4).

This happens because the whey protein is separated from the watery part. No matter what you eat or drink before or after, milk always curdles in the stomach before it is digested.

Does Milk Curdle with Alcohol?

Yes, when alcohol is added to milk, milk curdles.

The precipitation of milk due to the addition of alcohol occurs due to the loss of solubility of the proteins, as a result of the alteration of the nature of the solvent. A similar process occurs in the acidification of milk for cheese production, when proteins coagulate and become insoluble when a pH of 4.6 is reached, or when milk reaches the stomach, which is an acid environment (4).

What Happens When You Mix Milk And Beer?

Beer also causes milk to curdle, depending on the proportion between beer and milk. Again, it’s the same reaction that happens when you consume milk with alcohol, or when you drink a glass of milk on its own.

Because milk will break down in the presence of an acid, and the stomach primarily contains gastric acid, milk will eventually curdle whether you mix it with beer or not. Gastric coagulation ensures a controlled transit of protein through the stomach; this, in turn, ensures a more sustained release of amino acids into the blood following intestinal digestion and absorption (4). 

What Happens When You Mix Milk and Whiskey?

When you mix whiskey and milk, the alcohol content of whiskey cuts very effectively through the fat content of milk. Moreover, milk adds a distinct creaminess to the whiskey that whiskey alone does not offer.

Another interesting result of mixing milk and whiskey is that milk helps dilute the whiskey’s alcohol content, which makes it easier to highlight the different flavors in the whiskey. Basically, mixing milk and whiskey produces a drink that is easy-to-drink, rich, creamy, smooth, and most of all, full of flavor. 

While most milk and whiskey recipes require cow’s milk, soy, goat, coconut, rice, almond, or oat milk can also yield great results. In fact, certain cow milk alternatives might produce better results based on the type of whiskey used. However, the complexity of this sample, containing proteins and fatty acids, can mask the presence of drugs or other substances in standard analysis methods. These characteristics make whiskey creams highly suitable for illicit purposes (5).


In this brief article, we answered the question, “do milk and alcohol make you sick?” and also told you the facts behind mixing milk with different types of alcoholic beverages. Basically, mixing milk and whiskey produces a drink that is easy-to-drink, rich, creamy, smooth, and most of all, full of flavor. 


In this brief article, we answered the question, “do milk and alcohol make you sick?” and also told you the facts behind mixing milk with different types of alcoholic beverages. 

If you have any questions or comments please let us know.


  1. Macdonald, Ighodaro Osasenaga, Omole Johnson Olusola, and Uwaifo Anthony Osaigbovo. Effects of chronic ethanol administration on body weight, reduced glutathione (GSH), malondialdehyde (MDA) levels and glutathione-s-transferase activity (GST) in rats. NY Sci J, 2010, 3, 3947.
  2. Silber, B. Y., and J. A. J. Schmitt. Effects of tryptophan loading on human cognition, mood, and sleep. Neurosci biobehav rev, 2010, 34, 387-407.
  3. Finnigan, F., R. Hammersley, and K. Millar. Effects of meal composition on blood alcohol level, psychomotor performance and subjective state after ingestion of alcohol. Appetite, 1998, 31, 361-375.
  4. Huppertz, Thom, and Loo Wee Chia. Milk protein coagulation under gastric conditions: A review. Int Dairy J, 2021, 113, 104882
  5. Giorgio Famiglini, Fabiana Capriotti, Pierangela Palma, Veronica Termopoli, Achille Cappiello, The Rapid Measurement of Benzodiazepines in a Milk-Based Alcoholic Beverage Using QuEChERS Extraction and GC–MS Analysis, J Anal Toxicol, 2015, 39, 306–312.
  6. Srinivasan, Shraddha, Kriti Kumari Dubey, and Rekha S. Singhal. Influence of food commodities on hangover based on alcohol dehydrogenase and aldehyde dehydrogenase activities. Current res food sci, 2019, 1, 8-16.

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