Why Does Gin Make Me Sick?
Skip to main content

Join our newsletter to get daily gin deals sent straight to your email!


More to Enjoy

  • Whiskey Raiders
  • Tequila Raiders
  • Rum Raiders

Here’s Why Some People Feel Sick After Drinking Gin

While this icy gin and tonic looks like a treat to many, others would rather see it tossed in a sink because the thought of it makes them sick. (Photo: Toni Cuenca/Pexels)

Sitting side-by-side with whiskey, tequila and rum, gin is truly a top dog in the spirits world. As a liquor with as much history as flavor, gin has a firm grip on the U.K. and only seems to surge in popularity in the U.S. and other international markets. It makes sense, too, as gin is relatively cheap to produce and can be made to please just about any palate.

However, as much as we are huge fans of gin, it can’t be helped that some people just don’t like it no matter how many ways they’ve tried it. Furthermore, some people even claim that gin makes them sick — more so than any other spirits they’ve tried. So, why does gin have this less-than-savory reputation?

Gin Has a Strong Flavor

Gin can be made using just about any herbs, spices, fruits and flowers you can dream of. When used in gin, these ingredients are called botanicals. Common botanicals include coriander, cinnamon, citrus peel, angelica, licorice, peppercorn, cardamom and, most importantly, juniper.

Juniper is an ingredient necessary for a spirit to be called gin and plays a huge role in its flavor. This evergreen botanical tastes of fresh pine and spicy resin. Because of a medley of ingredients, including piney juniper, gin has very bold tasting notes. A lot of these powerful herbal, spicy or floral flavors might disagree with some people; therefore, drinking gin might make them feel sick.

Additionally, people sometimes relate the taste of juniper to Christmas trees, Pine-Sol or potpourri because there aren’t many other common foods or drinks to compare it to. These comparisons might make the smell and taste of gin a bit jarring to those who have not had previous exposure to the spirit.

Alcohol Makes People Sick

Gin might make people feel ill not because of its ingredients or flavors, but because it is alcohol.

According to the World Health Organization, alcohol is considered a toxic and psychoactive substance. This means that drinking alcohol in any amount can cause harm to you. Overconsuming alcohol can also lead to vomiting, headaches and other consequences like becoming emotionally unstable or harming those around you. 

Therefore, because of the nature of alcohol, drinking it can make people feel sick — no matter if it’s gin, whiskey, rum, tequila or vodka.

A Bad Experience With Booze

For some, a bad experience with a certain category of liquor will make drinking it again almost impossible. For example, if you once got so drunk on gin that you threw up all night and woke up with a raging hangover, you may be a little less than enthusiastic to try drinking it again.

College drinking can also be connected to a negative association with liquor. This is in part because new drinkers often reach for the cheapest booze available — and then overconsume said liquor. So, if the first gin you ever drank was a low-quality bottom-shelf bottle (paired with a night of vomiting) future offerings of gin might make you gag.

To avoid future quarrels with liquor, always drink responsibly and in healthy moderation if you choose to imbibe.

Don’t Give Up on Gin!

Gin can make you sick just as much as any other alcohol. That’s simply what is at stake when deciding to drink. That being said, gin is a diverse category of spirit with something to offer for anyone who is interested in giving it a go.

If you don’t like the “Christmas tree” flavor of gin, try gins that are light on juniper. These gins are typically called modern or New American and prioritize other tasting notes to push juniper to the backseat. Another style of gin you should consider trying is barrel-aged. Barrel-aged gins are rested in casks, just like whiskey, and have muted juniper tasting notes in favor of vanilla, brown sugar and oak.

If you have had a bad experience with gin and feel brave enough to give it a try again, stay away from overly sweetened cocktails or drinks that are too spirit-forward (like a martini). Instead, try classic cocktails that were made to properly balance the botanical bite of gin with complimentary flavors. We recommend trying a Gin Rickey, Bee’s Knees, Southside or Tom Collins. And again, please drink responsibly.

We wish you a successful gin journey!

Read next:

Top 5 Mixers to Use in Snoop Dogg’s Famous ‘Gin and Juice’ Cocktail

Gin-Soaked Raisins: Natural Remedy for Arthritis or Complete Health Hoax?

5 Best Gins for Beginners

Here at Gin Raiders, we do more than write about current events in gin. We are the only media property reviewing gins and aggregating the scores and reviews of other significant voices in the gin world in one place. If you’re interested in getting a shot of gin in your morning email, sign up for our Deal of the Day newsletter.

This post may contain affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site. This helps support Gin Raiders at no additional cost to you.

Filed Under:

Follow Gin Raiders:

Candie Getgen is the managing editor for Gin Raiders. Before immersing herself in the world of spirits journalism, Candie has been many things: a bartender, a literary journal editor, an English teacher — and even a poet. Now, Candie shares her passion for gin with the world and hopes to help others fall in love with it, too (if they haven't already!). When not writing, Candie enjoys sipping an extra-dry martini while painting or relaxing by the pool with a thrilling mystery novel.