Looks like Happy Hour missed the New Year’s Day window for suggesting hangover cures, but since you are reading this, it also appears you got through the tough times without our counsel. Congratulations and Happy New Year!

Whereas the rest of America has now taken a break from raucous goings-on during the Holiday Season, New Orleanians are just getting started on the Carnival Season. Oh, yes, today, January 6, is Twelfth Night, Feast of the Epiphany and the official beginning of Carnival. Going to be a short season this year with Mardi Gras falling on February 9, so the celebration will be compact and intense.

All of which makes our comments and suggestions for hangovers, normally important for New Year’s Day, still relevant and maybe necessary even a week later.  The pace of life in our town is not at the speed of the 21st century and, more often than not, that works in your favor. No need to rush into a project when doing it next week, or even next year, will be just as good. Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow. But you knew all of that. Just look around.

Okay, a hangover is a nasty condition that affects the stomach, the head, every muscle in your body – your brain, your mouth, often teeth, and feet. Other than that, they don’t affect much.

Prior to you having this recognized medical condition, you thought it would be a really good idea to imbibe as much as you could of wine, gin, bourbon, beer, Scotch, vodka, rum, assorted mixers, greasy food, hot dogs, and Ding Dongs by the dozen. You have intentionally put your body on notice that your brain does not have a bit of good sense and the body now has full, implied permission to retaliate in whatever means is available to it. 

To your body, alcohol is a foreign substance, and in mass quantities the body treats alcohol as a poison. Process the bad stuff and get rid of it. That takes time but it will happen. This is, to a certain extent, also true of sugar. The body only likes so much sugar and after that a sick, nauseous feeling starts up. If you keep in mind that alcohol is essentially sugar, you will begin to understand the issue at hand. While drinking alcohol, you may want to avoid the sugar cookies.

One of the myths about hangovers and drinking is that mixing your drinks, going from cocktails to wines to beers, is what sends you over the cliff. In reality, alcohol, contained in all of those drinks, is alcohol. So getting inebriated is not caused by mixing different types of drinks; it’s caused by drinking too many alcoholic drinks. Period. The bad feeling you experience is brought on by the various levels of sugars, yeasts, grains and additives in different styles of beverages. Cocktails are a good case in point. What is truly in those drinks in this complicated age of craft cocktails? Lots of stuff that when mixed with other stuff may prove the truth of the childhood adage about not playing well together in the sand box.


Let’s check out a few items related to your general malaise after a night out and try to lump them together in categories.


We Know These Are Good

  • Water – Drinks lots of it. Sometimes it is even good to match one glass of water for every cocktail or glass of wine. That does work, but you will miss a lot of the evening as you are forced to travel frequently to the men’s or ladies’ room, depending on your gender or which one is closer in an emergency.
  • Eggs – Good for you to digest before the heavy drinking begins. Start your day with a good and hearty breakfast that includes eggs, bread, juice and water.
  • Pears – A relatively recent discovery, found quite by accident in Australia. This fruit seems to assist the body in fighting the effects of inebriation.
  • Dining Before – Heavy meals, laden with meats, vegetables, breads, salads and water are excellent. That old saw about “laying a good base” is true.
  • Fighting Fire with Fire – Europeans and Russians are all about easing the effects of a hangover with a sauna treatment. Hot, moist air surrounding the body seems to accelerate the purge process.


Can’t Be Sure

  • Prairie Oyster Cocktail – Whole raw egg in a rocks glass, with Tabasco, Worcestershire Sauce, salt and pepper. Sally Bowles in Cabaret swore by this cure. Many people just swear at it. Do this one at home, preferably when you are alone.
  • Oxygen Bar – At first consideration, breathing in 95% pure oxygen feels like it should work. And it just might. Then again….
  • Pickle Juice – Heavy drinkers in several countries (although it should be noted they are mostly Eastern European) believe that eating pickles, wrapping herring in pickle slices, or just plain drinking pickle juice provides relief. Yes, it may, but from what?
  • Haejangguk – Literally “hangover soup” for South Koreans Includes ox bone broth, raw napa cabbage, soybean paste, and congealed ox blood. Honest!
  • Leche de Tigre – The leftover fish juice and the lime from your ceviche is said to provide healing benefits for hangovers. The possible aphrodisiac qualities also present are lagniappe. 


Probably Not So Good 

  • Hair of the Dog – It may seem like a good idea but trust me, it’s not.
  • Fructose – Move on, folks, nothing to see here.
  • Beta Blockers – Not happening


Nothing cures a hangover like lots of juice, solid comfort foods, and one helluva nap. Shortcuts are few and don’t work for everyone.

The greatest piece of advice given about hangovers is to quit the alcohol before it starts to truly affect you. The deeper you go, the longer the return trip.

Happy Carnival Season!!