This Is the Best Celebratory Postride Drink for Cyclists, Hands Down

selene yeager
·3 mins read
Photo credit: krisanapong detraphiphat - Getty Images
Photo credit: krisanapong detraphiphat - Getty Images

From Bicycling

Going for celebratory drinks after a tough ride or race has always been a popular tradition. And while a pint of beer is a common choice, it can leave you feeling too full to eat a proper recovery meal. That’s why hard alcohol, like bourbon, might be a better choice to add to your postride drink arsenal.

First things first, what’s the difference between bourbon and whiskey? All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon. There are a few things that set bourbon apart: According to government regulations, bourbon must be made in the U.S. from a fermented mash of 51 percent corn that’s distilled at no more than 160 proof, stored at no more than 125 proof in new, charred oak barrels, aged for a minimum of two years, and free from additives.

Now, onto the nutritional facts: If you’re watching your weight, a 1.5-ounce shot of bourbon contains about 97 calories (of course, it becomes less healthy if you start mixing it with sodas and sugary mixers). A 16-ounce pint of beer contains about 170 calories.

Low-carb proponents have been recommending the switch from beer to bourbon for years. But in order for that to make a difference, it depends on how much beer you drink—or used to drink—and, of course, how much of whatever alternative you consume instead.

Here are a few tips to consider if you want to make the switch from beer to bourbon.

1. You need to sip and savor. If you’re accustomed to tossing back a couple of pints, you may find yourself under the table in a hurry if you slurp down your spirits with equal gusto. Pacing yourself when drinking something with a higher alcohol-by-volume (ABV) percentage is important. Kaiser Permanente Washington recommends not having more than one alcoholic drink in an hour, and drinking something non-alcoholic—such as water, juice, or soda—in the meantime.

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2. Your body will burn the booze first. No carbs and fewer calories do not equal a free pass, cautions nutritional scientist Stacy Sims, Ph.D., because your body treats alcohol differently than food. “In order for it to be eliminated from your system, it has to be metabolized. The liver takes the bulk of the job, but some residual hangs out and your body uses it first instead of burning carbs or fat, so it interferes with normal metabolism,” she explains. “It also has a greater caloric load per gram than carbohydrates—7 calories per gram versus 4 calories for carbs. Moderation is still the key.”

3. Keep it clear and/or neat. When picking your poison, clearer spirits have the least impact on your metabolism, says Sims. “They are metabolized faster than anything else and have minimal sugar and sulfites so you don’t get the same insulin response that promotes fat storage as you do with more sugary drinks,” she says. “So best to swap beer for a clear spirit cocktail with a very low sugar mixer or a whiskey neat.”

4. Alcohol drops inhibitions and increases appetite. “Drinking dims your appetite satiety signals,” says Sims. That means you may feel hungry and eat more if you drink too much. In the end, there’s no magic to the matrix, it’s all a matter of not just making healthier choices, but also sticking to them.

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