Germs in common bar drinks: is whiskey safer than vodka?

You usually order a drink to relax after a hard day. But here’s something you need to know about your favorite after-work drink that might not be as relaxing: The drinks you order at the bar can be full of germs, according to a new Italian. to study published in the Annals of Microbiology.

In the study, researchers tested 60 samples of ice cubes produced in industrial facilities, restaurants and bars, and at home. They found that the ice was contaminated with 52 different strains of bacteria, some of which can cause infections in humans.

Next, the researchers infected ice cubes with four particularly dominant bacterial strains in their initial tests to see if they could survive in common drinks. They added the sprouted ice cubes to vodka, whiskey, martinis, peach tea, tonic water and cola, then analyzed the samples for bacteria counts.

The results? Overall, there was a significant reduction in the number of bacterial cells after the ice was added, which the researchers attribute to the various antimicrobial effects of factors such as alcohol, carbonation, and pH levels.

But there was a big difference in the drinks. In vodka and peach tea, all four bacterial strains survived and two strains persisted in both martinis and Coke. And only one strain survived and grew in the tonic water.

But the least germ of all was the whiskey: none of the bacterial strains present on the ice cubes survived after being added to the whiskey.

This is likely due to the acid content – a pH of 4.2 – in the whiskey, compared to the more neutral vodka (pH of 6), according to the researchers. The more acidic a drink, bacteria least likely to survive or multiply.

Does alcohol interfere with my gains? :

Although this study looked at bacterial content, it does not have see how likely these results were to make you sick. It is therefore impossible to say if the bacterial growth seen even in the most sprouted drinks, like vodka and peach tea, would have definitive health implications.

Related: The 9 foods most likely to make you sick

Still, some of the bacterial strains detected in ice during initial testing have been linked to human infection, such as B. cereus, which can cause food poisoning. So until more research is done to determine how likely these bacteria are to make you sick, it can’t hurt to order your vodka straight or in a cocktail without ice – and if you’re looking for something with it. a little tinkle, then whiskey on the rocks may be your safest bet.

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