The Real Reason You Shouldn't Drink Everclear

If you're reading this... we might need to have a talk. Alcohol is dangerous. For how accessible it is, it's easy to forget that all those "dangers of alcohol" assemblies at school actually had a purpose: An average of 88,000 people in the United States die each year from alcohol-related causes (that makes it the third most common preventable cause of death in the U.S., according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) and even more deal with alcohol-related illnesses like liver disease, cirrhosis, and brain damage (also via the NIAAA). 

There are safe and unsafe ways to enjoy alcohol, and Everclear is definitely one of the latter. Here's why.

Everclear isn't just strong alcohol, it's 190 proof, or 95 percent alcohol (keep in mind most strong spirits are around 80 proof), making it extraordinarily strong. In fact, it was one of the items being panic-bought as a sanitizer to prevent the spread of coronavirus (via DCist).

Everclear isn't technically a drink

And while its potency makes Everclear ideal for disinfecting surfaces, making infusions, or making your own alcohol, it really shouldn't be thought of as a drink. Even the Everclear website claims the product should be considered an "unfinished ingredient" on its own. Unfortunately, even as a mixer, Everclear can still be dangerous.

If the revelation that drinking Everclear is basically the same as drinking disinfectant isn't enough of a deterrent, try this on for size: you're more likely to overdose or get alcohol poisoning when drinking Everclear. It comes down to the strength of Everclear, which means it takes less of it by volume to cause an overdose. When you combine that with the drink's lack of smell and taste once diluted, the result is you can easily have a more difficult time monitoring your alcohol consumption, making it much easier to overdose on Everclear than something like beer or wine.

The serious symptoms of alcohol overdose include vomiting, seizures, trouble breathing, slowed heart rate, and even death (via NIAAA), so keep that in mind the next time you see the black and gold label of an Everclear bottle.