We’ve all been there before. The sun is filtering in through the shades after a lengthy night of tossing back tequila shots, your eyes are slowly adjusting to the sharp, piercing light, and your head is seething. It’s the start of your dreaded hangover.
Perhaps you have your own remedy to combat the symptoms: a mug of black coffee; a Molotov cocktail of red Advils and rainbow Tums; or a swishing of apple cider vinegar. Even if you swear by your own—or have yet to find a cure that actually works—there’s a new cookbook that’s here to help.
“Hangover Helper,” by Lauren Shockey, tracks the storied hangover cures from around the world. After all, just about every culture and country has their own sworn antidote. You’ll find recipes for the seemingly innocuous treatments that people swear by—from cups of flat 7 Up consumed in Ireland to bowls of Czech warming garlic soup—along with the stories and recipes behind the more uncommon and eccentric healers: In the UK, a restorative fish finger sandwich does the trick, while in Canada, it’s all about a platter of poutine, smothered in gravy and cheese.
Related Reading: 12 Cocktail Books You Need for Your Home Bar
Along with a slew of recipes, the book offers a global look into drinking around the world: the facts and figures behind who’s drinking, what they’re drinking, and the diversity of drunk food (Doner kebabs! Mutton rolls! Grilled lamb intestines!).
Read on for Lauren’s tips on how to prevent a hangover in the first place (it’s not simply about eschewing alcohol), then try her recipe for a pickle brine Bloody Mary, a hangover remedy made popular in Poland and Russia before its arrival in the U.S. After this, we hope you’ll never have to utter the cursed “h” word ever again.
Hangover Helper, $17.64 on Amazon
Excerpted with permission from Hangover Helper by Lauren Shockey, published by Hardie Grant Books October 2019.
How to Avoid a Hangover in the First Place
Food the next day may be your saving grace, but here are some helpful hints for minimising a hangover’s impact in the first place:
Know and Respect Your Limits
When it comes to drinking. Better yet, opt for a mocktail. It’s a sure-fire way to avoid a hangover!
Chug Lots of Water
While drinking and before heading to bed. Keep a glass of H20 on your nightstand to quench your thirst when you wake with a dry mouth at 4 a.m.
Draw the Shades
A study found recuperating in total darkness to be effective in reducing a hangover’s recovery time.
Cut out the Cigs
Smoking significantly increases the odds of getting a hangover and makes them more severe.
Be a Happy, Optimistic Drunk!
Negative life events, neuroticism, being angry when drunk and having feelings of guilt about drinking are also associated with experiencing more hangovers.
Enjoy a Hearty Meal
Prior to drinking. Carb and fat-heavy foods will help slow alcohol’s absorption in the body.
Go Easy on the Bubbly
The carbon dioxide in sparkling wines and other fizzy alcoholic drinks speeds up the alcohol’s absorption in your body faster than beverages without bubbles.
Choose Lighter-Colored Drinks
Like gin, vodka, beer and white wine. Darker drinks (e.g. bourbon, brandy, red wine, etc.) contain higher levels of congeners, which can contribute to hangovers.
And remember, you can’t be hungover if you’re still drunk!
7-Piece Cocktail Shaker Set Bartender Kit, $29.99 on Amazon
Pickle Brine Bloody Mary Recipe
Pickle (also known as gherkin) brine is celebrated as a hangover cure in the USA as well as in Poland and Russia, likely because the salts in the brine help replenish the electrolytes that your body loses after a night of hard drinking. Combined with tomato juice (itself weighted down with sodium), here pickle brine lends a welcome tang to the classic ‘hair of the dog’ cocktail, the Bloody Mary.
Canadians also relieve hangovers with a variant of the Bloody Mary called the Bloody Caesar, which puts a spin on the tomato vodka classic by adding a lashing of briny clam juice or using Clamato juice instead of tomato juice. Invented in Calgary by bartender Walter Chell in 1969, the cocktail has quickly become the country’s most popular mixed drink, with more than 418 million Caesars consumed each year. Pretty impressive for a country of about 37 million inhabitants, eh?
Pickle Brine Bloody Mary
- 2 tablespoons brine from a jar of large gherkins (dill pickles)
- 120 ml (4 fl oz/ ½ cup) tomato juice
- 45 ml (1 ½ fl oz) vodka
- ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- ½ teaspoon grated horseradish
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large gherkin (dill pickle) spear
- 1 celery stalk, bottom trimmed but leaves still intact
- In a cocktail shaker, combine the brine with the tomato juice, vodka, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, horseradish and black pepper.
- Fill the shaker with ice and shake until cold.
- Place a gherkin spear into a tall glass along with the celery stalk.
- Pour the contents of the shaker along with the ice into the glass and serve.
Header image courtesy of Sophie Melissa.