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5 Alcoholic Holiday Drinks That Don't Mix With Driving

By Brett Snider, Esq. | Last updated on

The holiday season has various traditional recipes and rituals attached to it, not least of which is holiday drinking.

Mulled wine, spiked cider, and of course eggnog play a large role in many holiday parties. But as you may learn, these drinks do not mix well with those who plan to drive.

Check out our take on these five alcoholic holiday drinks which might put you at risk for intoxicated driving:

(Note: For each of these five drinks, we looked at estimated alcohol concentration of the drinks, then used Notre Dame's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) calculator to determine how many drinks would make a male of 165 pounds over the legal limit of 0.08 percent BAC in the span of one hour.)

1. Mulled Wine: 12% to 13% Alcohol by Volume

Mulled wine is a great adult beverage to enjoy on cold night, but the sugar and seasonal spices may mask how much booze you're actually consuming. Most mulled wines are made with dry red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, which have about 13 percent alcohol by volume. Mulled wine is still just wine, even though it may be easier to drink cup after cup of it (it's like winter sangria).

Over the limit in: 2 drinks (8 ounces each).

2. Spiked Cider: 6% to 18% ABV

Hot apple cider is a great winter treat, but add booze and you may be in trouble. Since there's no standard measure for what proportion of booze goes into spiked cider, it could be anywhere from one-sixth to one-half of what you're drinking. We assumed the average (12 percent ABV) with some standard Captain Morgan's spiced rum.

Over the limit in: 2 generous mugs (9 ounces each).

3. Eggnog: 15% ABV

You can actually buy eggnog premixed with bourbon at your local liquor store. It is deceptively alcoholic -- more than wine by volume.

Over the limit in: 2 half-filled Solo cups (7 ounces each).

4. Hot Toddy: 28% ABV

A hot toddy is effortless and warming, but it's essentially straight bourbon with a bit of honey and lemon.

Over the limit in: 1 teacup full (8 ounces).

5. Winter Beers: 6% to 10% ABV

Winter beers tend to be a bit darker, a bit hoppier, and incidentally, a bit more alcoholic than their summer cousins. Bocks, IPAs, and Belgian-style anything may have you tiltin' before you know it.

Over the limit in: 2 bottles of a strong IPA (12 ounces each).

Keep in mind that even if you're technically below the legal BAC limit, you can still get a DUI if you've been drinking any booze and get behind the wheel. Stuff that in your mental stocking as you drive safely this holiday season.

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