For the morning after
Our informal poll of favorite hangover remedies reveals the obvious — and the not so obvious
By Lissa Townsend Rodgers
We never mean for it to happen, but it happens to us all: the hangover. Post-party trauma, bottle-ache, fishy about the gills. Sometimes we should have seen it coming (milestone birthday, friend’s first visit to Vegas), other times it sneaks up (lousy day at work, unexpectedly victorious and/or attractive Olympic divers), but it’s the price we pay for overindulgence. In the interests of shared experience/pain/alleviation of pain, we asked 50 people how they handle a hangover.
Food: 11 votes
Food was the most popular cure for the morning tremblies. Most people have a specific culinary cure, from “greasy egg sandwich and a chocolate shake” to “Umeboshi plum, miso soup and bitters.” Your chosen recovery meal seems to have as much to do with your favored comfort dishes as any chemical reaction. One respondent swore by pickled herring: “In Germany during Mardi Gras time, they have all of these fish booths, parades where they basically give out beer and fish for afterwards.” Sometimes it depends on the circumstances. “If I have to work, [I eat] the hottest Thai food, so hot your eyes and nose run,” said a local bartender, adding, “If I don’t have to work, two Bloody Marys, eggs Benedict and a nap.”
When it comes to food, eat before drinking or grab something between cocktails. If your digestive system is completely stripped to the gears by Jäger bombs and Everclear the next day, try to at least get down some toast or crackers.
Water: nine votes
You may say this one is a no-brainer, but it is the one solution everyone seemed to agree upon. A hospital nurse who answered our poll said, “An IV of normal saline and a diaper … wait, that’s for the incredibly drunk in the ER. Plenty of fluids and sleep.” Another bartender we asked agreed: “Water and sleep, that’s all you can do.”
Water is your friend before, during and after a bender. Make sure you hydrate before hitting the bar and try to have a few “spacers” between drinks. Obvious, yes, but also sure to alleviate later bottle-ache.
Other liquids: seven votes
This was another category ruled by personal preference. Among the suggestions for washing the fur off your tongue were Gatorade, seltzer, iced coffee, diet Coke, Dr. Pepper, Snapple Mango Madness, Sunkist orange soda “from a can.” One participant has sworn by Yoo-hoo for years. “When I was working at Yoo-hoo, I heard about the drink’s magical powers over and over from firefighters,” she explained. “We took to dropping cases off at the stations post-9/11.” If it makes people feel better after running into burning buildings, it can probably handle a few too many martinis.
Sleep: seven votes
Indeed. Everyone feels better when they’re not awake to know how bad they feel.
Medications: six votes
Several folks mentioned B12, as well as omega3 fatty acids and “some people swear by activated charcoal.” One person spoke of a friend’s mysterious “preventative vitamin regimen,” while another muttered darkly about “Advil, Xanax, Vicodin, anything that will relieve the misery…” If you’d prefer to have a more official treatment, Las Vegas has its own hangover-treatment service, which uses science to cure the crispies. Hangover Heaven’s Paul Chamberlain says their most popular treatment is the “Salvation treatment — a therapy of IV hydration, vitamins and prescription-only anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory medication.”
For those trying this at home, a vitamin with your water won’t hurt. But when you grab that tiny envelope at the 7-Eleven register, go for aspirin or ibuprofen — acetaminophen is an extra stressor on a liver that’s already operating at Kerouac capacity.
Hair o’ the dog: five votes
Combating your attack of the katzenjammers with more liquor may seem absurd, but desperate times demand desperate measures. “It the only time a shitty light beer tastes OK,” offered one man. The Bloody Mary was the preferred morning-after cocktail, largely for the vitamins in the juice and the food value of the garnish.
At the Gold Mine Tavern in historic downtown Henderson, its Bloody Mary not only sports olive/tomato/salami garnish, but comes with a side of bacon — another frequently mentioned hangover cure.
Exercise: three votes
Taking the alternative route, one fellow went for circuit training and smoothies involving green stuff and protein. For the less ambitious, a walk and “rolling myself into the pool” were also recommended.
Other: two votes
This category included such directives as watching the news until the rage cleanses your system or “an AA meeting the night before.”
But, really, there is no real fix for a hangover. “I’ve tried a lot,” said one man. “Pork roll ‘n’ cheese — temporary. Eggs and bacon — temporary. Bloodys put it off, but you’ve got to keep drinking. One on the way to work wears off. Pills sometimes. Sleeping works. Suffering works.” As one DJ said, “I’ve got more cures for hiccups than I do for hangovers.”