There are many different quality levels of every type of liquor whether its tequila, rum, scotch, whiskey or vodka. The higher quality of liquor is usually indicated by not only taste but an increase in price. The quality of an alcohol consumed can have an effect on how the consumer feels in the morning but not necessarily on the level of intoxication one will reach. If the consumption of alcohol is equal, an inferior liquor will not differ in intoxication levels from a superior one of the same proof level. 80 proof liquor (40% alcohol) is 80 proof whether it costs ten dollars a bottle or a hundred dollars. For this reason, the American Council for Drug Education states that a 12 oz. beer, 5 oz. glass of wine or 1.5 oz. shot of 80-proof liquor all produce the same level of intoxication but they do not differentiate in types or qualities of liquor.
The difference in inferior spirits compared to superior ones may very well be realized the next morning. An easy example to use for illustration is tequila because of the disparity in price and quality of the different brands on the market. Cheaper liquors, including tequila, use grain alcohol to supplement or “cut” the pure distilled spirits. Comparatively, higher quality spirits use the pure result of the distillation process. Patron, one of many premium tequilas, distill the juice of the blue agave plant and the result of that process constitutes the entirety of what is bottled and sold. A lesser tequila would go through the process of distilling the agave plant (or possibly the anejo plant) but then supplement the final product with grain liquor in order to make the pure product stretch further.
Grain alcohol is considered of lower quality than other types of liquor and is rarely distilled or filtered with the care of other spirits because of its uselessness for straight drinking. The same process of “cutting” alcohol is used for whiskey, rum or vodka. However, the vast difference in tequila is illustrated by the wide range of prices. The difference between a cheap rum and a premium rum like Pyrat, would be less drastic because the sugarcane needed to make rum is far more plentiful and economic than the rare and meticulously cultivated agave plant. While the prices may vary depending on the types of spirit, the process of “cutting” is used the same across the board.
If you don’t believe that better liquors make for little or no hangover, test it yourself. Go out for one night and drink only low-level, well tequila. When you recover approximately 8 days later, do the same thing with only Patron and see how you feel the next morning. When it comes to drinking, “you get what you pay for” certainly applies.