Enjoying a cocktail while warming up next to a roaring fire just seems right, doesn’t it? A new study from the University of Pittsburgh proved there might actually be science behind our tendency to warm up with bourbon when it’s cold outside.
The study found that people who live in colder climates consume more alcohol than those who live in warmer climates. Using data from the World Health Organization and World Meteorological Organization, researchers noticed that as temperatures and sunlight hours decrease, alcohol consumption increases. Since alcohol is a vasodilator—it increases the flow of warm blood to the skin, which is full of temperature sensors—it can trigger feelings of warmth.
We guess that “beer coat” you put on isn’t so fictional after all.
Cooler temperatures and less sunlight also correlate with higher rates of depression, which is linked to an increase in alcohol consumption. The researchers said they hope the results can influence policy initiatives aimed to reduce alcoholism and liver disease in geographic areas where binge drinking is common.