THE BEST column on alcohol would be the one that appears on Friday evenings just before we head out to soak in spirits of all kinds. This column, unfortunately, appears on Sundays when people are too busy nursing their hangovers, trying to crawl back to normality from ‘the weekend’. I am sure a statistic is lurking out there, which can prove that my article is most commonly read by people lying curled up in fetal (recovery) positions. One would imagine that I would mind and take offence to such ignominy, but I won’t. After all, I have other things to take care of, my own hangover for one.
It’s surprising that so much is written about drinks, but so little about what comes after. Mixologists know the right bitter for every cocktail and yet draw a blank when it comes to a hangover cure. How come there isn’t a book written about hangovers? Why is it that the only cures we have heard of in passing are most arbitrarily grouped under ‘hair of the dog’ (HotD) recipes? I don’t want ‘dog hair’ when am sober, to want it while recovering from an inebriated night seems highly unlikely.
Some bartenders will fix you a Bloody Mary. That’s a popular HotD. It may have some scientific merit to it, for many in India will prescribe a hot spicy meal to kill a hangover. Imagine a classic south Indian breakfast: idlis (light and easy to digest) with spicy sambhar and chutney. All that sweat might help rid your system of the excess alcohol, something a Bloody Mary can also do, albeit in lesser magnitude.
Another famous cure involves drinking a juice comprising some of the most vile ingredients: quinine, bitter gourd and some other green veggies for good measure. It sounds impossible to down sober, drinking it with a gut-rot would only bring it all up. Which, come to think of it, might be just the thing one needs. So maybe it works.
Then there are the physical cures, more akin to party games than anything. For one, drinking from the opposite rim, that is, the one not near your lip. It requires you to contort into a shape that defies gravity and millions of years of evolution. Yet it does nothing to lower the angst of a hangover, except maybe making you feel worse than before you tried these acrobatics.
Drinking lots of water and sleeping in usually works for me. That and my girlfriend’s disapproving look of despair—signalling just how much the hangover should make me question my life choices, even as it makes her question hers—works as well.
A very reliable hangover cure could be making a video of when you are hungover and to play it back to yourself before heading out for the routine weekend binge. That might drive some sense into you. And if all else fails, ask your friends to make a video of your attempt at go-go dancing after your fifth shot and then post it on every possible social media channel out there. That has to be the best cure for hangovers that I know of. It lasts much longer than any other resolution I can think of.
I have tried some of these remedies. The results may vary from one individual to another, but on the whole they get the job done. No, they weren’t animal-tested. In fact, no creatures were harmed in the writing of this article. Except for those smug Sunday morning star risers, who looked fresher than the grass at Rolland Garros. Watching them drink like a fish and prance about the next morning like a race day-filly made my hangover even worse. So they had to go.
The writer is a sommelier