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Curing the hangover blues

Beer_September03_AIn last week’s article we looked at a new beer developed in Australia that has electrolytes in it and will supposedly reduce hangovers. At first glance, this sounds like a great, albeit a little crazy, idea – who doesn’t want to wake up without the nausea and headache? But read into this beer a bit and you will see that it’s only slightly under 3% beer, and drinking an equal amount of water will likely have the same effect.

Let’s face it – it’s going to be a long, long time before we see beer and other liquor that doesn’t give us a hangover at our local drinking establishments. We are still going to wake up with a hangover from time-to-time. Talk to 10 different people however, and you’ll get 10 different answers as to the best hangover cure. Let’s look at five of the more common ones.

1. Keeping the party going aka. hair of the dog
Have you ever woken up in the morning, stumbled over to the fridge and grabbed that nice cold bottle of Singha, cracked it open and took a big swig? Some people swear that drinking when they wake up with a hangover – commonly called hair of the dog – is the perfect hangover cure. In truth, this will make you feel better! But only for a short while.

This is because your body is essentially in withdrawal, and drinking more will actually make the hangover even worse down the road. Therefore, it’s actually best to not drink booze until the hangover has worn off.

2. Caffeine
Some people swear by the restorative effects of say a Coke or coffee. Drinking a coffee, or anything with caffeine in it, will likely make some people feel better. What caffeine does is essentially wake you up, on the downside it will cause more dehydration which will actually make a headache worse.

That being said, if you drink coffee or any other caffeinated beverage on a daily basis, it would probably not be a good idea to skip it, as this could trigger caffeine withdrawal (in extreme cases). What you should do is try a smaller amount first and wait half an hour to an hour. If you feel better, then try some more. If there is no improvement, try something else.

3. The McBomb
Sometimes when you wake up with a hangover all you can think about is something greasy, maybe a sausage McMuffin and hash brown from McDonalds, a big plate of bacon and eggs or some other fried food. To many people this will make the stomach feel a little more settled but if you eat too much grease then you could risk upsetting your stomach even more or triggering heartburn.

What may be a better idea is to eat the greasy/fatty/fried foods before you drink. The presence of this food in your stomach will actually slow the rate at which alcohol is absorbed, meaning the effects of a hangover won’t be as bad.

4. The Swedish Breakfast
If you have spent time down on the beaches in south Thailand, you may have come across this on some menus. That’s right: 2 Aspirin and a big glass of cold water. If you have a headache and nothing else, this is THE hangover cure. Well, it will at least get rid of the headache, but not the alcohol in your system.

Be careful with taking Aspirin, especially if you are still drunk. If you mix a large quantity of alcohol with Aspirin you face an increased risk of stomach bleeding, not to mention the fact that alcohol can actually cause medication to become more potent. Therefore, you should NOT take these before you go to sleep/passed out after a night of drinking.

5. MaMa Tom Yum
Ok, so this one is mainly in Thailand. After a night out on the town, you’ll often see people hovering down a bowl of these spicy and slightly salty noodles. No one is entirely sure why the combination of spice, salt and noodles seems to work but many swear by this.

Is there any real hangover cure?
Despite what people say, there actually is a perfect hangover cure! It’s fluids and time. Drink lots of water, drinks with electrolytes and even fruit juice (as long as it’s not full of sugar) and get some sleep if you can. You’ll wake up feeling a lot better! Of course, the best cure also lies in proper prevention. To minimize the effects of a hangover, try drinking as much, or more water than alcohol and drink plenty of fluids after you are finished drinking, before you go to bed.

What’s your favorite hangover reliever?
Personally I love a big bowl of Pho the morning after a big night on the town. Combine that with a glass of orange juice followed by a nap and I’m usually feeling alright. What’s your secret remedy? Let us know!

Wish of the week
Wychwood Hobgoblin
Looking for something a little bit different? This copper-red beer has different nailed. A medium to full-bodied beer with slight hoppiness and fruity characters and a near perfectly balanced malt ensure full flavor to the end of the glass. Still not convinced? Beer great Michael Jackson (not the white-gloved thriller, but another Michael Jackson) rated this one of the top 500 beers you must try.

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