Searching For A Hangover Cure

Anyone who’s ever been much of a drinker knows how painful hangovers can be — and they’ve probably come up with their own theory about the best way to dodge them while still enjoying the simple, warming pleasures of a few adult beverages.

If you ask your friends what they do to avoid the dreaded hangover, you’ll find that people swear by all kinds of different folk remedies, with an almost religious intensity.  Never drink on an empty stomach.  Take two aspirin before going to bed.  Quaff lots of water while you’re out on the town.  One of our college friends contended that eating a plate of french fries covered with gravy was a sure cure, and another insisted on going out for chili dogs.  And then there are the assorted “next-day” remedies, ranging from munching dry Excedrin (to maximize its impact), to guzzling an entire pot of coffee (to allow caffeine to counter the lingering alcohol effects), to downing a large breakfast of pancakes (to soak up the remaining alcohol in your system), to sampling the “hair of the dog that bit you” (to start working on tomorrow’s hangover, today).  I’m a big believer in drinking lots of water, myself, and I am convinced that if you wake up with a hangover it’s too late to do much about it other than ride it out and swear you’ll never be so stupid again.

Now scientists have weighed in.  A study conducted by researchers from Canada and the Netherlands looked at 826 students (a perfect control group for hangover analysis if there ever was one) and examined their food and water intake, their alcohol consumption, and their resulting hangovers.  The study concluded that neither food nor water consumption had any impact on the severity of the throbbing next-day headaches and the listless, befuddled feeling that inevitably accompanies them — although those that drink lots of water feel better than those that don’t.  (Told ya!)

Instead, the study concluded, the only surefire way to avoid a brain-crushing hangover is simply to consume less alcohol.

What?  Drink less?  That’s no fun!  You know, pancakes sound pretty good right now.

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Hangovers Be Not Proud

001I got a chuckle out of this New Year’s Day sign that we saw at Camden Market during our travels today. I guess I’m proud, but I’m definitely not from Camden, or else I might have attended the meeting, too.

About That “Instant Drunk” Spray . . .

I suppose this was inevitable:  they’ve invented a mouth spray that causes you to become instantly intoxicated, but lasts only briefly and leaves no hangover.

The secret, apparently, lies in how the small amount of alcohol (.075 milliliters) is aerosolized.  Rather than having to guzzle Cosmopolitans or Manhattans for hours — less if you’re a lightweight — until the alcohol is finally absorbed into your bloodstream, you’re immediately affected by the alcoholic mist.  When the effects wear off, you don’t have a headache and, if the story linked above is to be believed, you could even pass a breathalyzer test.

I think this product misses the point.  You should achieve a state of intoxication only after moving progressively through stages of the drinking process, such as the stage of wondering whether you should have another drink and the (much later) stage where you think you are the most hilarious person in the bar and wonder why no one else seems to agree with that assessment.  Drinking should be a long-term social experience, not a quick spritz from a sleek inhaler.

That said, I wonder whether sales of the inhaler will skyrocket when last call comes around and people looking for companionship feel their standards need some quick and effective adjustment.

Egg No

Kish got two quarts of egg nog for the holidays.  She did so because, some years in the past, one of the boys made the offhand comment that they had tried egg nog and it wasn’t bad.  That innocent remark probably means we will buy at least one container of egg nog for the holidays, every year until the end of time.  Mothers are just that way.

The egg nog has not been touched by anyone.  Perhaps the fact that the label describes it as “ultimate” egg nog is the reason.  Regular egg nog is intimidating enough without having to deal with the “ultimate” variety — whatever it may be.  Or perhaps it is because every rational person knows that egg nog is undrinkable.  Its grotesque thickness, cloying sweetness, and overpowering odor . . . could anyone have come up with any less appealing holiday drink?

Occasionally you will run across those egg nog defenders who look at you knowingly, lower their voices to a conspiratorial whisper, and say that everyone knows you need to spike the egg nog with, say, Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum.  That’s how they drank it in the old days, such people will say.  Why do you think Old Fezziwig was so jolly in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol?

Such comments simply confirm that the long-dead Brits who came up with the idea of combining milk, sugar, eggs, and rum were seriously troubled individuals who probably, deep down, hated the holidays.  It’s bad enough to be left furry-tongued after a night of pounding rum; combine that rum with the awesome, near-permanent coating properties of egg nog and I’d be scraping my tongue for days.  No one who really wanted to celebrate the holidays would develop a drink that is just going to compound and prolong the morning-after awfulness.