Damaris J. Rohsenow of Brown University and colleagues recruited and paid 95 people -- 58 women and 37 men -- all healthy, heavy drinkers, to participate in one acclimatization night, followed by two drinking nights.
"First, while alcohol in the beverage did increase how hung over people reported feeling the next morning compared to drinking a placebo, bourbon made people feel even worse than vodka did," Rohsenow said in a statement.
"Second, alcohol in the beverage did make people do worse when they needed to pay attention for a continuous period of time while making rapid accurate choices, but they did no worse after bourbon than after vodka on these tasks. Therefore, while people felt worse, they didn't perform worse after bourbon than after vodka," Rohsenow said.
However, people were not aware that they were performing worse since they thought their driving ability was not impaired in the morning even though they could not react as well, Rohsenow added.
A third finding was that while alcohol made people sleep less well because they woke up more during the night, sleeplessness was no worse after drinking bourbon than it was after drinking vodka.
The findings are published online ahead of print of the March issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.