Is mixing alcohol and caffeine bad for your health?
TLDR, do not mix alcohol and caffeine if you are not a responsible drinker. That is the bottom line. Many have wondered if the consumption of the two substances could lead to bad health, or if the mixture of the two would cause some type of reaction.
The quick answer is that it is typically not a good idea to mix coffee and alcohol, but there are a few things to consider. Barring any allergies, alcohol and caffeine individually are harmless in small amounts and the combination of the two would not cause a chemical reaction like the results of mixing baking soda and vinegar, or Coke and Mentos. Caffeine is a stimulant that gives us a boost of energy and alertness while alcohol is a depressant that can cause drowsiness and cause us to be less alert.
Mixing stimulants and depressants can mask the effects of the depressant. So if one were to drink a Vodka Red Bull or a Rum and Coke, the effects of the alcohol may not feel present even though it may still exist. This is a risk which can lead to excess consumption of alcohol, or binge drinking. For measure, a can of Red Bull contains 80–160mg of caffeine while a can of Coke has 30–40mg.
Back in 2010, the Federal Drug Administration released a warning to companies such as Four Loko and Joose for manufacturing alcoholic beverages that contained caffeine and stimulants. As a result, these companies removed those antidepressant substances from their beverages.
In the end, it is recommended not to mix alcohol and caffeine. However, if you enjoy a cup of coffee or tea before a night out or want to indulge in an energy drink along with some alcohol, just make sure to keep track of how much alcohol you consume throughout the event. Keep count, stay hydrated, be responsible, and you should be in the clear.