What Happens If You Drink Whiskey Every Day?

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A glass of whiskey is often associated with masculinity and luxury in pop culture. It is smoky, smooth, and best enjoyed sipped, not chugged. But, even with the finest things in life, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Whiskey is unfortunately no exception.

Is Whiskey Bad For You?

whiskey barrels, can you drink whiskey every day
Photo by Daniel Norris on Unsplash

Overall, the type of alcohol you drink has less bearing on your health than how much and how often you drink it. The downsides of drinking too much whiskey every day are similar to drinking too much alcohol in general. Side effects of drinking whisky every day include:

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How Much Whiskey Is Too Much?

This depends on your age and personal biology. Some studies in the past have suggested that moderate drinking has some health benefits. More recent evidence suggests that the safest amount of whiskey is none at all. Moderate consumption of whiskey is defined as:

  • Up to one whiskey per day for women
  • Up to two whiskeys per day for men

This amount refers to a whiskey serving size of one standard drink. How much whiskey is one drink? This is 1.5 ounces or about one regular shot.

Read more: Standard Drink Sizes and Drinking Levels

Is a Shot of Whiskey a Day Good For You?

Some evidence suggests that moderate drinking has health benefits, including:

  • Improved heart health
  • Improved mood and reduced stress
  • Reduced risk of diabetes
  • Reduced risk of obesity

By this logic, if you drink one shot of whiskey every day, it might be somewhat beneficial for you.

However, debate about the positive impacts of moderate drinking has long been argued. Some scientists argue that these benefits are a coincidence—that moderate drinkers also tend to have other healthy habits, which could be the real cause of any positive correlation. And overall, each of the above benefits can also be gained from eating a good diet and getting enough exercise, without the health risks that can come from alcohol consumption.

Is Drinking Whiskey Once A Week Good For You?

Drinking once a week is probably better than drinking whiskey every day. But if you’re binge drinking once a week, you’re likely undoing any health benefits of not drinking daily. Moderation—one to two servings—is still key.

That said, if you stick with this quantity, your health is less likely to be impacted in serious ways by your alcohol consumption. Be aware, however, that any level of alcohol consumption can have consequences for your health.

Can Whiskey Cure a Cold?

While we often hear that a shot of whiskey is good for coughs and colds, in reality, it generally makes things worse. What does whiskey do to your body that can make illness worse? Drinking alcohol weakens your immune system and increases inflammation, making it harder for your body to heal. And while high concentrations of alcohol can kill germs on surfaces, by the time whiskey reaches your bloodstream it’s too diluted to have any effect.

If you’re feeling ill, it’s best to stick to warm liquids and stay hydrated with water or electrolytes. And for cold prevention, you’re better off taking vitamin C and other immune boosters. Whiskey for coughs and colds will likely hurt more than it helps.

What Makes Whiskey Different From Other Drinks?

whiskey in glass by the fire, can you drink whiskey every day
Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

As a result of how whiskey is made, it does have some unique benefits and drawbacks that set it apart from other alcoholic beverages.


Whiskey has a high concentration of phenols, which results from the aging process. Studies show that people experience a phenol spike shortly after consuming whiskey. (New make whiskeys, which don’t undergo the same aging process, don’t have the same effect.)

Phenols can:

  • help reduce inflammation
  • increase antioxidants, reducing the risk of a variety of diseases

This is one reason moderate amounts of whiskey might reduce the risk of heart disease. However, we should note that phenols are also found in many fruits, vegetables, and teas. Phenols also have

May aid in weight loss

Whiskey is one of the lowest-calorie alcoholic beverages out there—so long as it’s consumed straight and not combined with sugary mixers. If you’re counting calories or trying to lose weight, choosing whiskey over a higher-calorie alcoholic beverage can help you stay within your daily goals.

Worse hangovers

On the other hand, whiskey drinkers tend to report worse hangovers. A key reason is that whiskey has higher concentrations of congeners, a byproduct of fermentation that contributes to whiskey’s smell and taste.

Congeners may prolong the effects of intoxication and intensify hangover symptoms—including headaches, bad breath, and an upset stomach.

Whiskey allergies

People who are allergic or sensitive to rye, wheat, corn, or barley (the grains typically used to make whiskey) may experience an allergic reaction to this beverage. Depending on the person, these reactions may be severe—and the alcohol in whiskey may make them even worse.

What Can You Do If You Are Drinking Too Much Whiskey?

If you think you might be drinking more whiskey than is healthy, there are several things you can do to cut back and minimize whiskey’s side effects.

  • Choose specific times when you are allowed to drink, and set a specific drink maximum
  • Pay attention to what times of day, and what situations you often drink in. Make a list of alternative things to do at those times, to replace drinking whiskey.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol at home or keeping whiskey in the house

Of course, for many people, this is easier said than done. If you feel you could use some extra support in quitting or cutting back on whiskey, there’s no shame in looking for help.

Ria Health offers flexible, online support from wherever you are. Choose moderation or abstinence, set your own goals, and get a plan customized to your unique needs. Best of all, you can access the whole thing right from your smartphone.

Speak with a member of our team today, or learn more about how it works.

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Written By:
Ria Health Team
Ria Health’s editorial team is a group of experienced copywriters, researchers, and healthcare professionals dedicated to removing stigma and improving public knowledge around alcohol use disorder. Articles written by the “Ria Team” are collaborative works completed by several members of our writing team, fact-checked and edited to a high standard of empathy and accuracy.
Reviewed By:
Evan O'Donnell
Evan O’Donnell is an NYC-based content strategist with four years’ experience writing and editing in the recovery space. He has conducted research in sound, cognition, and community building, has a background in independent music marketing, and continues to work as a composer. Evan is a deep believer in fact-based, empathic communication—within business, arts, academia, or any space where words drive action or change lives.
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