Conversations during drinking sessions can be a lot of fun. People are more open, and a lot more willing to call their ex when they shouldn’t to share great stories. When the alcohol is flowing freely, and everyone is chiming in with their own tales of comedic debauchery, it makes for a great night with friends.

Inevitably, though, all drinking sessions soon spiral down to become a discussion where everyone is just basically lying. The fibs range from the slightly believable (“I’ve been vomit free since ’93!”), to shameless fantasies (“I swear, Angel Locsin’s been texting me non-stop since I helped her change a flat tire”).

This magical period of inebriated lies and bragging is where a lot of the alcohol myths I know come from. They’re usually from people who want to share “personal” (but really third or fourth hand) stories that can’t be verified, but are too much trouble to disprove either. Next thing you know, the stories become urban legends, passed down from one passed-out alcoholic to the next.

Just like a bad hangover that lingers, here are 5 alcohol myths that people still inexplicably believe once they’re sober.

5. Beer + Gin = Red Horse.

(via San Miguel Philippines)
(via San Miguel Philippines)

The Myth:

Whenever a drinking session involves Red Horse beer, this topic is sure to surface in the discussion eventually. Red Horse is said to owe its gasoline taste high alcohol content to the addition of gin. On the one occasion that I actually drank the damn thing warm and straight from the case, I understood why people might find the notion of gin mixed in with the beer believable.

The Bust:

Red Horse, like most extra-strong beers, falls under the malt liquor category. It’s still a beer, just with more malt added for extra alcohol conversion. Malt comes from cereal grains, like barley, rice, and corn, that have reached germination (or are ready to sprout), which are then dried and fermented to alcohol. That higher alcohol percentage translates into a stronger flavor (like how gin would taste) which downplays the hoppy flavor of the beer.

4. Tanduay Rum Turns to Plastic

(via Ride the Bug)
(via Ride the Bug)

The Myth:

I’ve been told several times to stay away from the stuff since they say that it turns to plastic when left out in the sun. Imagine, then, what it’ll do inside your body?

Still, the threat of customer plastification never stopped our local bars from using it as the base for their cocktails. That Boracay cocktail, Long Island Iced Tea, and Rum Coke you’re enjoying? It’s probably made with Tanduay.

The Bust:

Rhum is traditionally made with sugarcane, which already makes the drink sticky-sweet. Tanduay blends their alcohol with even more sugar, as a shortcut, to make their basic rhum. When the rhum is left out in the sun and the water content evaporates, the sugar makes the drink thicker, giving it the appearance of plastic goo.

3. Cerveza Negra helps with Menstruation

(via San Miguel Philippines)
(via San Miguel Philippines)

The Myth:

This particular home remedy I heard from one of my older co-workers. I was happily drinking a Cerveza Negra when he said, “Pampa-regla yan di ba?” (That’s to help menstruation along, right?) Why he thought this information would be useful for me, I would never know. Suffice to say, I never drank Cerveza Negra in front of old folks again, lest I be mistaken for a woman who just wants to regularize her monthly period.

The Bust:

Okay, I’m not too sure on this one. All I know is that I’ve drank my fair share of Cerveza Negra and I’ve never had sudden heavy flow problems stemming from it. I’m guessing the dark color of the beer is thought to help out with blood related problems? Maybe? Any girls want to chime in? We’re very open to hear about your theories and experiences.

2. Gin Bulag

Pick your Poison. Literally it seems. (via Wikipedia)
Pick your Poison. Literally it seems. (via Wikipedia)

The Myth:

You may have heard of the phrase “You’ll drink yourself blind.” Locally, that belief has led to the term gin bulag (blind gin), traditionally associated with the famous Ginebra brand. They say that when you abuse the drink too much, it’ll cause you to go blind.

The Bust:

Now here’s a myth with a grain of truth to it. Alcohol blindness is a real thing, but mostly it’s due to the presence of either lead, or methanol from backyard-made alcohol. Lead can come from moonshiners using old parts that contain lead. Methanol, on the other hand, is added by unscrupulous distillers that want to increase alcohol content cheaply. Both lead and methanol can cause blindness when ingested, but you should be very happy to know that commercially produced hooch contains only ethanol. It won’t blind you, it’ll just kill your liver instead. Great news, right?

1. Happy Horse

You'd be smiling stupid, too, after a case of these bad boys. (via Philippine Urban Legends)
You’d be smiling stupid, too, after a case of these bad boys. (via Philippine Urban Legends)

The Myth:

Another Red Horse myth, one which happens to be a favorite of mine. Back in college, we would always look for the “Happy Horse” bottle (named after the smiling horse logo) whenever we would buy beer. It was reputed to have an even stronger kick than the normal bottle with the non-smiling (unhappy? Uninterested? Emotionally unavailable?) horse. It was even said that each case held only one happy horse, a special treat for the lucky guy that draws it out (sort of like an alcoholic golden ticket).

The Bust:

The happy horse logo was actually the just old design of the brand. When the company updated its look, they still made use of the older bottles in order to save money. With the increase in production of bottles with the new logo, though, the Happy Horse soon became quite rare. This gave rise to the myth of the special bottle with higher alcohol content. Though, even if it were true, the myth doesn’t seem to make sense. If you’d already bought an entire case, who cares about the one bottle (no matter how high the alcohol content) if you can just drink all twenty-four?

Were you a believer of any of the myths here? Know any other alcohol urban legends? Did life play a cruel joke on you, and give you gout even though you really, really enjoy beer? Let us know in the comments below!

References: Tanduay Rhum, Wikipedia

35 Responses

  1. The myth: Rum is sweet because it’s made from sugar.

    The bust: Distillation results in ethyl alcohol and volitile compounds. There is absolutely no sugar imparted to the distillate. There is only added sugar in the dosed or altered spirit which is misleading and wrong unless it is noted on the bottle.

  2. There are old ads of Cervaza Negra from the early 20th century that promoted it as a drink for lactating mothers.

  3. Quote from one blogger:
    “OF course, the alcohol content – and
    therefore taste – of Red Horse Beer has changed over the years. In the
    70s and 80s, Red Horse Beer was positioned against gin (Ginebra San
    Miguel), as the beer for maturing beer drinkers about to make the shift
    to hard liquor. The alcohol content of Red Horse Beer then was about
    double. Over the years, the kick of the brand was tamed. Today, Red
    Horse Beer is positioned as the teener’s first beer, a vastly different
    brand proposition.” – Rey Mendoza

    Sa palagay ko lumang timplada
    ng red horse ang happy horse na inihahalo sa mga bagong red horse kaya
    malakas ang tama kaya miminsan mo lang makita sa isang case…kaya jumbo redhorse na iniinom namin…lol

  4. you haven’t mentioned the -joke- Devil beating San Miguel on the logo when the drinker turns the ginebra bottle upside down to drown into the whole thing..

  5. I truly love Cerveza Negra. I wish this “regla” myth soon dies out. It irritates me when people seems to connect this malt to a monthly period.

  6. Sioktong yun natatandaan kong pamparegla. Yung me Kung Fu artist sa label. Not giving ideas to the ladies but it was used as period inducer or possibly as abortifacient in the good ole days.

  7. #3 some old people say, stems from the fact that your blood starts pumping once you drink perhaps they thought that the increased blood flow also applied to the area south of the border.

  8. A case of 500ml Red Horse only has 12 not 24 bottles.. ^_^

    And to some of us, it’s not a happy horse but a female horse due to the bangs.. Lelz..

  9. woah, Wait..The happy horse thing is a myth? I actually tried it side by side and it really did have stronger “kick”.

  10. The Cerveza Negra myth I’ve heard is that it helps with breastfeeding. I don’t know what the basis for that is. And wouldn’t it bad to drink alcohol while nursing?

    1. So I guess the lesson all men have learned here in this comment section is that alcohol helps women in all sorts of biological functions that involve excretion of bodily fluids. Huh.

      1. also, grandparents are way cool to let.. wait.. to make their grand kids drink alcohol.

    2. “Research suggests that breast-fed babies who are exposed to one drink a
      day might have impaired motor development and that alcohol can cause
      changes in sleep patterns. Also, while folklore says that drinking
      alcohol improves milk production, studies show that alcohol actually
      decreases milk production and that the presence of alcohol in breast
      milk causes babies to drink about 20 percent less.”

      Source: Mayo Clinic

  11. When it’s my time of the month, my lolo just gives me san mig light. I guess it comes from the notion of alcohol as an abortifacient, so when you drink alcohol, the flow will be stronger, but the duration of one’s menstruation shortens? I’ve never really compared it, though haha

  12. i heard the cerveza negra myth from my lola too. when i was complaining about cramps when i was still younger, she told me that i must drink cerveza negra to regulate the flow and to ease the menstrual cramps.

  13. re: beer and zee time of the month, i guess its the same reason why some people drink Coke during their period. it makes the er, flow, much stronger.

  14. Ha! I knew that Happy Horse thing was BS. I once tried drinking just them, and it didn’t get me drunk faster than if I just had the regular ones.

    1. college was a crazy time for alcohol (stay in school kids, get drunk but don’t flunk.), there were times when we would drink red horse straight from the case just to try to get drunk faster.

    1. But what’s the (pseudo) science behind it? I haven’t turned up any medical rationale which may explain it, which is why I call urban legend on this one. 🙂

      1. It’s like the softdrink myth when women have their period. That it will help ease cramps. Why? How? Don’t ask me. 😀

      2. It’s to do with alcohol’s nature as a pscyhoactive drug–promotes relaxation (including muscle relaxation), thus helping ease cramps.
        The Cerveza Negra part–I think it also has to do with the yeast content, which was perceived to be higher because it’s a dark beer. Higher yeast content was correlated to a higher vitamin B content, thus making it “healthier.”

      3. okay, i know i’m in very unfamiliar territory here. but does it follow that when cramps are eased, there will be uhm.. flow?

      4. Hmm, I don’t think so. Based on this article, cramps are actually caused by the flow:

        “Menstrual cramps are caused by the uterine contractions that occur in response to prostaglandins and other chemicals. The cramping sensation is intensified when clots or pieces of bloody tissue from the lining of the uterus pass through the cervix, especially if a woman’s cervical canal is narrow.

        The difference between menstrual cramps that are more painful and those that are less painful may be related to a woman’s prostaglandin levels. Women with menstrual cramps have elevated levels of prostaglandins in the endometrium (uterine lining) when compared with women who do not experience cramps. Menstrual cramps are very similar to those a pregnant woman experiences when she is given prostaglandin as a medication to induce labor.”

        Btw prostaglandins are the compounds that cause menstruation.

        I would never have guessed that reading this article would have led to my looking up the cause of cramps. O_O

      5. It’s because brewer’s yeast is rich in micronutrients, like potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and B vitamins. However, San Miguel filters the yeast out of the beer during production; hence the beers are clear and transparent, as compared to unfiltered German Hefeweizen, which is cloudy. The filtering takes out not only the yeast, but also the nutrients with it. Cerveza Negra is no more nutritious than Pale Pilsen.

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