Hopefully your night of revelry was worth the abhorrent hangover you woke up with today. As mentioned in today’s edition of Daily Candy, the ladies of LUPEC Boston are an infinite well of hangover cures. We’ve been in this situation before, you know. Many, many times. Here are a few of our signature suggestions***:
The Marconi Tireless: Fancy Brandy’s Runner’s Cure
Highly recommended for athletic types.
Before you pass out:
- Set alarm for 7am(!)
- Hydrate! Consume 20 oz of water or Gatorade (stick with one or the other) and 2 Aleve/Tylenol before sleep. A full bladder brings down body temp and helps you wake up to the alarm.
- At 7am wake up, hydrate.
- Get dressed, drunky!
- Run/jog for 45 minutes.
- 15-30 minute hot shower relaxes muscles and steamcleans booze-filled pores.
- Set alarm for three hours (length of one typical REM cycle) and go back to bed.
- Take 5 to do whatever it is helps you sleep like a baby — linen spray, eye pillow, warm milk; the routine alone preps your mind for deep sleep.
- Empty bladder.
- Nap three hours.
- Wake up, hydrate, head to brunch.
Fancy Brandy says: “My hangovers tend to last all day, so this trick is designed to essentially interject a tiring little day into another one to get it over with. Sticking to the 7am alarm also means my circadian rhythms stay on track and I’m not late to my 9-5 all week.”
Prevention? What’s that? The Pink Gin Method
A kinder, gentler hangover cure.
Pink Gin says: “You need to plan on the possibility that you skip the night before remedy. If you remember it, do you really need it?”
- Avoid getting up early when you wake up – it’s fake & you’re probably still drunk and also tired. Drink some water & go back to sleep or just relax.
- Brush & floss.
- Light exercise/yoga to get some happy glands doing something.
- Complete shower & some primping. Do some extra nice things – the point is to feel really clean & nice.
- Rest as needed throughout this rigorous process and drink as much water as your stomach will allow.
- Do something nice like read an easy book, magazine, or write your Dig article.
- Try to reschedule the big meeting, or, look at it as a self-imposed challenge.
Andy McNees’ Hangover Eraser
For when you wake up too late to cancel brunch with your folks.
Before sitting down for brunch, head directly to the bar. Instruct the bartender to build the following over ice in a pint glass:
Shot of Fernet, two dashes of every kind of bitters they have, top with Soda water. Drink as quickly as you can through two straws, like a Mind Eraser.
Andy McNees saved Hanky Panky’s life with this after the LUPEC Boston Tea Party last Fall. It was touch and go on the T-ride to Eastern Standard, says Hanky Panky, but “20 minutes later I felt great!”
Spiked Tab: Saucy Sureau’s Miracle Cure
Yes, they still make Tab.
- When you get home, grab an ice cold Tab (currently available at Shaw’s, believe it or not) from your fridge and take a few sips.
- Fill back up with vodka and put it on your night stand. Make sure it’s the only beverage on your night stand so when you wake up early and are too lazy/hungover/thirsty to move you pound it. Maybe you even forget – you tricked yourself!
Saucy Sureau says: “It’s just the right amount of the night before to get you right as rain.”
Doctor’s Tonic: How Medical Students Do It
None of us has tried this method, but its efficacy has been confirmed by a reliable source (my brother the doctor.)
Convince a medical professional to administer an IV of rehydrating saline solution. Five minutes later you’re fresh as a daisy.
First-year med students work well for this as they need practice putting IVs into veins. They’ve been in school for a couple months so hopefully they won’t gouge you. Because, you know, they’re hungover.
In addition to our personal modern cures here’s a round-up of wonderfully obscure suggestions*** from some of our favorite cocktail books:
“[E]ven the soberest of men will sometimes wake up and wonder what hit him after the second highball,” observe Virginia Elliot and Phil D. Strong in their 1930 volume Shake ‘Em Up. “If, after a long sleep, he judges that it was the Himalaya Mountains, he had better take two aspirin tablets with a tablespoon of hot water, chewing the tablets before swallowing. (I know it’s nasty, Mama’s Precious, but so is a bad old headache.)”
The authors go on to prescribe:
“1. A Little Hair of the Dog that Bit Him.
2. One pint of milk.
3. A half-pint of saurkraut or tomato juice.
4. A cup of black coffee to which has been added one teaspoon of spirits of ammonia.”
For the more serious hangover “a Prairie Oyster is a good kill or cure remedy. This consists of a raw egg drowned in Worcestershire Sauce.” Yum.
The list goes on, but some of the quirkier suggestions include the following:
- If suffering “an exceedingly hot spot at the at the back of the stomach, apparently involving the spine, milk of magnesia.”
- “For legitimate nausea, milk and lime water. (And see what happens.)”
- “For fruitless nausea, almost any strongly effervescent drink, such as sal hepatica, Fruit salts, baking soda in a glass of water strongly tinctured with lime or lemon juice — these to be sipped while smelling a bottle of ammoniac smelling salts, or spirits of ammonia.
- Ammonia is prescribed as an optimal solution for all cases of headache, as “it steadies the heart…In fact, ammonia, inhaled and imbibed, is a good bet for everything.” (This is not true.)
- And as the authors finally note: “Lots of rot is talked about remedies. If some of these don’t cure you, there is nothing left except Blowing the Brain Out or De Consolation Philosophie.”
So dramatic. But sometimes it feels that bad, doesn’t it?
Charles H. Baker provides a different take on the “sort of human withering on the vine” that is the hangover in his Gentleman’s Companion, (repubbed as Jigger, Beaker, and Glass). Baker believes the “Picker-Upper” to be the only possible cure for when you feel “precisely like Death warmed up”:
“We have…come to distrust all revivers smacking of drugdom. It is a small, tightly vicious cycle to get into, and a bit of well-aged spirits with this or that, seems much safer and more pleasant than corroding our innards with chemicals of violent proclivities, and possible habit-forming ways.” (Because morning drinking to calm the upsets caused by nighttime drinking couldn’t possibly be habit-forming.) Hence the inclusion of 27 recipes for Picker-Uppers.
Baker also issues an “earnest plea for a bit of outdoor exercise to those human victims of the “morning-afters”:
“Science has just recognized that with the tummy linings well saturated with last night’s ethyls or methyls, it is best remedied by increased natural circulation removing much of this condition. Therefore, after any Picker-Upper, let’s not lie supine and bewail hard and unjust fate…”
Which brings up an excellent point that is deftly explored by Kingsley Amis in On Drink: the physical hangover is terrible enough, but what about the toll a hangover has upon your mental state? Amis writes that hangover cures usually “concentrate exclusively on physical manifestations, as if one were treating a mere illness. They omit altogether the psychological, moral, emotional, spiritual aspects: all that vast, vague, awful, shimmering metaphysical superstructure that makes the hangover a (fortunately) unique route to self-knowledge and self-realization.” For this he prescribes courses for M.H. (Metaphysical Hangover) Literature and Music, the structure of which “rests on the principle that you must feel worse emotionally before you start to feel better. A good cry is the initial aim.” Course materials include:
HANGOVER READING: The “final scene of Paradise Lost, Book XII, lines 606 to the end, which is probably the most poignant moment in all our literature coming at lines 624-6”, followed by “a good thriller or action story, which will start to wean you from self-observation and the darker emotions (i.e. Ian Fleming); and finally by something funny, “but it must be white – i.e. not black – comedy (like P.G. Wodehouse.)
HANGOVER LISTENING: Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Sympathy (it’s Pathetique, like you) because “its last movement really does what the composer intended and…evokes total despair: sonic M.H. if I ever heard it.” If you can stand vocal, move on next to “Brahms’s Alto Rhapsody – not an alto sax, you peasant, but a contralto voice, with men’s choir and full orchestra”, and finally on to something lively and extrovert, such as “Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto, which would make a zombie dance.”
At the end of the day, hangovers are as individual as fingerprints: only you can determine for what will bring you back to life in the cold gray dawn of the Morning After. As with anything, the key to this is practice, practice, practice. And each time you face a P.H. anew, remember to
“Always take cheer from the thought that if you are healthy enough to suffer acutely, you will probably live.”
– Virginia Elliot and Phil D. Strong, Shake ‘Em Up (1930)
***EDITOR’S NOTE: Please note: not a single member of LUPEC Boston is a doctor, nor were any of the cocktail book authors we quoted above. Should you wish to test the efficacy of these cures, you should most definitely consult a doctor beforehand. And if you do, please let us know what they think of the Saucy Sureau Method.