I think it was an episode of The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry where they looked at the science around alcohol and suggested that guidelines like “Beer before wine and you’ll feel fine” are misleading. As I recall, research (doubtless with plenty of student volunteers) concluded that total alcohol consumed was the significant factor and not the mix of drinks.
Tonight, I tried absinthe for the the first time. It is notorious as a drink of artists and mad men. However, I wonder if the high alcohol content is really the key factor (64% for this bottle). A small amount, neat, was pleasant but to be slowly sipped. Diluted, it was an easier drink with a pleasant botanical bitterness.
I can imagine that working through a bottle over the course of an evening could have very deleterious effects. Best – and safest – in small doses, methinks.