So you’ve woken up with a throbbing head and a mouth that tastes like the bottom of a chicken coop?
Daylight has become the enemy, you can’t motivate yourself to do anything, gentle birdsong grates on your ears and memories of what led up to this point are hazy. Then, the dreaded meat sweats and the shakes.
The medical definition is Veisalgia, from the Norwegian kveis (“uneasiness following debauchery”) and the Greek, Algia (pain) – you’re hungover. While the best cure is not to drink so bloody much, it’s probably too late for that by now.
Fear not, however, for the Daily Dust is on hand to do all the research you’re too unwell to attempt.
10. Savoy Corpse Reviver
1 oz. brandy
1 oz. Fernet Branca
1 oz. White Creme de Menthe
Created by Joe Gilmore, one of the longest-serving Head Barmen at the American Bar in London’s Savoy Hotel. I’ll be clear – this really isn’t a cure and is designed more to get you back on the horse, awake and drinking again. Shake with ice, strain into glass, take whenever steam is needed.
One will revive a corpse, three may create one.
9. Bacon Sandwich
Last year, scientists finally proved what we always knew – bacon butties help to cure hangovers. The bread in your sandwich is full of carbohydrates to restore lost energy and protein-filled bacon breaks down into amino acids, which your drinking has depleted. These help to clear your head.
A bacon butty can even help before you start drinking, as fat lines the stomach and slows the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream – giving you more time to cope with the effects.
8. Prairie Oyster
1 oz. Dry Gin
1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
2 Dashes Tabasco Sauce
Salt and Pepper
America’s answer to the Bloody Mary, the Prairie Oyster’s raw, unbroken egg is rich in cysteine, which helps to clean up free radicals building up in your liver, destructive chemicals typically cleaned up by the glutathiome enzyme your binge has depleted.
Unfortunately, the Daily Dust cannot condone the consumption of raw eggs – salmonella honestly won’t help you get over alcoholics’ retribution. Try frying an egg and whipping it on top of your bacon butty instead.
Literally translating from German as “Tomcat’s Breakfast”, dishes like this are popular throughout northern Europe for combating a hangover. Such breakfasts typically contain pickled, salty food such as rollmops - pickled herring fillets rolled around slivers of onion and pickle – served with bread.
While it sounds horrendous to the hungover stomach, this shouldn’t be written off – the briny nature of these snacks replenishes electrolytes and minerals while its saltiness will at least encourage you to drink more water. Drinking pickle juice is said to be a traditional Polish hangover cure.
Munich, host of Oktoberfest, is also home to the Viktualienmarkt, a great collection of food and fish stalls and shops which hold an impressive array of Teutonic hangover food.
6. Tripe Soup
Putting a cow’s stomach into your own may sound like I’m winding you up, but trust me – spicy tripe soup is a favourite fog-cutter all over the world. Variations on simmered tripes, garlic, vinegar, sour cream, peppers and spices can be found as Ciorba de Burta in Romania, Iskembe çorbasi in Turkey, Menudo in Mexico and Hae Jang Gook in Korea.
While the tripe is full of protein, the spices work in a similar way to those of the Prairie Oyster and Bloody Mary – their introduction gives the digestion an issue to concentrate on other than the alcohol still washing around inside you (its unhealthy, but at least you will feel better).
5. Bloody Mary
1 to 2 oz. vodka
Salt and pepper
Dash of lemon or lime juice.
Garnish with a stick of celery, olives, carrots, asparagus spears or other vegetables (or even some meats).
Created by Parisian barman Pete Petiot in 1921 as an “eye-opener” to combat hangovers, this legendary cocktail is filled with all kinds of strange ingredients.
Yet a properly mixed Bloody Mary is a delicious and strong-flavoured cocktail – the hair-of-the-dog (a term stemming from a Medieval English belief that drinking a tonic containing part of what harmed you would cure it) two ounces of vodka calm hangover jitters, while the lemon, spices and tomato quell the queasiness alcohol typically inspires in the hung-over (and restore lost vitamin C). Pepper aids the digestive process.
Variations include the Bloody Maureen (replace vodka with Guinness), Virgin Mary (no vodka), Bloody Geisha (replace vodka with sake, horseradish with wasabi sauce) and Red Fairy (replace vodka with absynthe), among many other international interpretations.
4. Fresh Fruit and Juice
A greasy fry-up will give you plenty of amino acids and carbohydrates, but alcohol is a diuretic – it’s making you go to the toilet all the time so you’re dehydrated. Unfortunately, this has washed most of your carefully accumulated vitamins and minerals down the pan and you’re going to need more.
If you’re feeling wobbly, you’re suffering from hypoglycemia. Fruit contains fructose, natural sugar, which will fix this as well as burning off alcohol and giving you more energy.
A glass of fresh orange juice is a good start, to restore that lost vitamin C. Tomatoes are rich in vitamins A and C as well as antioxidants and beta-carotene.
Bananas are also an excellent idea – they contain fructose , potassium (which will fight the diuretic urge of the ale) and magnesium, which soothes the pounding blood vessels causing your headache. They’re even a natural antacid that will fight the nausea.
3. Umeboshi Pickled Plums
After a hard night on the sake, the Japanese refer to a hangover as futsukayoi – “two-days drunk”. Fortunately, Umeboshi are on hand – a medicinal fruit used throughout history to aid digestion and cure colds with Okayu rice porridge. The fruit was common in soldier’s rations throughout the Middle Ages, to flavour food and relieve battle fatigue.
While the sharp, salty taste can be very offputting, bear with it – it contains a great deal of pyric acid, normalising your digestive system, strengthening your traumatised liver and drawing toxins from the blood. Bite off half a plum to combat a regular hangover – if you’re facing a monster, herbalists recommend a full plum (though be careful – their taste is very, very strong). Boil or eat with rice to mitigate the flavour and enjoy with plenty of good, antioxidant-filled green chai to rehydrate and detoxify.
2. Take a bath (or even a Banya)
Having a bath while hungover is a good idea. If you’re sweating more than usual, your body is just worried about the amount of poisonous chemicals you forced into it (it also doesn’t help that you’ve more than likely been around a lot of cigarette smoke).
A bath will clean the skin’s pores and its heat will not only help it to flush unwelcome substances but will relax tensed muscles and calm your headache.
The Russians take this one step further, with the Banya – essentially a sauna and bathing ritual. Though often small log cabins, one of the grandest and oldest Banya is Moscow’s palatial Sandunóvskie Baths, built in 1896.
Bathers sit in a sauna, typically heated above 110 degrees and often wearing felt hats called shapka to protect the head, while veniki (water-soaked birch leaves) are used to strike the back to speed up circulation.
If this is a strange mental image, the benefits are unquestionable – the intense heat helps to purge your skin and blood of unhealthy substances, making life easier for your kidneys. It also dilates your blood vessels, improving blood flow to your tired muscles and brain. Not only that, few bacteria can survive at a sauna’s temperature – and if your heart is hammering from the heat, you can enjoy the greater release of endorphins (natural painkillers) this causes.
1. Full English Breakfast
The Great British Breakfast forms one pillar of the triumvirate of British food, alongside Fish and Chips and the Sunday Roast. One of these has pretty much everything you need to get over your hangover and get on with the day.
No one in their right mind could call the Full English healthy, but enjoyed occasionally it’s a lesser evil. It’s a collection of pretty much everything above – tomatoes for vitamins and fructose, eggs for cysteine, fibre-filled beans to aid digestion and bacon, sausages and black pudding for amino acids, fat and grease. Mushrooms, properly done, give a nice variety of flavour to what otherwise is basically a pile of fried meat. This is the ballast that’ll get you through.
It’s even versatile – if you can’t eat pork, a beefburger works surprisingly well (though purists will be up in arms). Haggis also blends right in for a Full Scottish Breakfast, or White Pudding for a Full Irish.
Serve with tomato ketchup and brown sauce and a cup of orange juice or tea – if Britain built an empire on tea, you can beat a hangover with it.