Anyone who's ever taken a shot of hard liquor can tell you: it burns on the way down. But it's not the alcohol itself that's burning your throat. Instead, the ethanol in the liquid is making your throat's VR1 heat receptors more sensitive, prompting them to perceive your own body temperature as hot. (Of course, this doesn't mean you should do shot after shot without fear of consequences.) Learn more about the science of alcohol with the videos below.
If you'd like to learn more about the chemistry of your favorite cocktails, check out "Proof: The Science of Booze" by Adam Rogers. We handpick reading recommendations we think you may like. If you choose to make a purchase through that link, Curiosity will get a share of the sale.