As the temperatures drop, many people might want to still enjoy the crisp air along with a cold beer or even a hot seasonal cocktail. But it's important to know that despite whatever you may have heard from a buddy or bartender, alcohol does not warm you up in the cold. It only makes you colder.
Initially, your body deceives you. After tossing back a hot toddy, you may experience a rush of warmth, but the alcohol dilates your blood vessels. So that momentary flash will be followed by a drop in body temperature and increased heat loss from your skin. A good drink may also lower your inclination to shiver, one of the body’s instinctual defenses against the cold.
With all alcoholic drinks ineffective at heating you up, don’t expect to find your fix in coffee either. Caffeine constricts your blood vessels, preventing warmth from reaching your extremities.
And it's not just coffee. In face, some studies have found all warm drinks ineffective in adequately warming people up in frigid temperatures. The logic is as follows: The warm drink enters your system and tricks your body into thinking it can lay down its guard. Soon, if you become too warm, your body will begin to sweat, further decreasing its temperature. The amount of heat you lose through sweating is often bigger than the initial boost of heat from the warm drink.
Warm drink fans shouldn't be too disheartened, though. Other studies have proven that a warm cup in hand is a great mental pick-me-up. The belief that warm drinks will warm you up is just one of many cold-weather myths that have been debunked.