It’s the butt crack of dawn, an ungodly hour of the early light when you suddenly awake from a deep and dreamless sleep. “ahhh, horse shit,” you mutter. Your neck is stiff and throbbing, vomit is creeping into your throat, and you are experiencing a temporary case of vertigo. All you can think about besides wanting to die is getting some liquid to quench your seemingly insatiable thirst.
Through the one eye not cemented shut by crust, you drag yourself to your feet and embark in search of a libation. Though you foster dreams of 7/11 slurpees and vats of Gatorade, the kitchen sink suffices, and you begin to suck up the liquid life directly from the faucet.
Curled over the sink you ask yourself the age old question, “Did I really drink that much?”
Somehow, despite a 20 hour beer binge with a few shots of Vodka on the side, it still comes as some kind of surprise. And it is this pathetic bewilderment that epitomizes a tragic flaw of the human condition. That being, how quickly we forget.
Since there is no indication that we will start remembering the pain of hangovers past, it is inevitable that we must face them time and time again.
Fortunately, almost every culture throughout history has realized and responded to this with the hangover cure.
1) Norway: Though alcohol in Norway is more expensive than any other country in the world, it doesn’t stop people from getting their drink on. And since a winter night in the north can last months, it’s easy to guzzle down a few liters of Ringess beer or Aquavit.
The Cure: A pungent plate popularized by the vikings known as Lutefisk. Lutefisk is dried cod that has been soaked in lye, then steamed and served with butter. It’s jelly like consistency, animal fat and fish oil, make it ideal for soaking up any leftover Aquavit floating around your stomach.
2)Australia: With a population descendent from northern European prisoners, the Australian drinking culture is strong. Whether you’re kicking back a Fosters or trying to put down a 2 liter bottle of “Darwin Stubbie,” the morning after will leave you as parched as Ayers rock.
The Cure: Vegemite on toast. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Vegemite, it is basically the yeast leftover at the bottom of a beer-brewing barrel. While it sounds gross, when you put it on toast and wash it down with a “cuppa” or cup of tea, it’s actually not too bad.
3) England: One of the most delicious yet potentially devastating drinks England has to offer is known as the Snake Bite. The Snake Bite consists of half lager, half cider and a drop of berry concentrate. It’s sweet taste makes downing 3 or 4 liters effortless. When you finally realize the meaning of it’s name, it will be too late.
The Cure: “A Full English Breakfast.” It includes scrambled eggs, crushed and fried tomatoes, hash browns, beans, big saucy bangers(sausage), bacon, mushrooms, and toast fried in bacon fat. While it definitely helps ease the pain of a hangover, it also significantly increases your risk for a heart attack.
4) Scotland: Another thirsty northern European nation, Scotland is well known for it’s drinking prowess. The most common drinks of choice include a pale lager named Tennents, a tonic wine called Buckfast, and the cheap yet effective and infamous cider known as “White Lightening”. With all these cheap yet potent drinks, it is not uncommon to awake in the rain in a large field full of sheep.
The Cure: The Scottish cure is not unlike the English one, and prescribes what is known as “A Fry Up.” It consists of bacon, eggs, sausage lorne, beans, and tatty scones, washed down with a tall can of Irn-Bru, a century’s old hangover soft drink.
5) Ancient Rome: The Romans are accredited with greatly advancing viticulture technology and laying the foundation for wine culture across Europe. They also assured that wine be democratic and available to all. As such, epic wine induced orgies and resulting hangovers were commonplace.
The Cure: A breakfast of sheep lungs and owl eggs. Yumm, enjoy.
6) Japan: The rice based wine known as Sake is the drink of choice for the Japanese. Since it’s alcohol content is relatively low, and it is generally served hot, drinking way too much happens all too often. The Japanese refer to a hangover as “Futsukayoi” or literally, two days intoxication. And if you ever end up at a Japanese drink buffet, you’ll understand why it’s called that.
The Cure: The cure is known as Ocha Zuke. It is a simple yet effective. To make, pour one cup of green tea over a bowel of hot rice. Then sprinkle some seaweed and sesame seeds over it, and you’ve got an easy to eat hangover porridge.
7) The Netherlands: Although marijuana is legal and abundant, Dutch people still enjoy their beer.
The Cure: Simply keep drinking. Dutch people suppose that the best way to cure a hangover is by downing a few more beers for breakfast. However, this cure isn’t limited to the Dutch. In fact, quite a few alcoholics swear by this method.
8) The American Wild West: The Wild West and whisky seemed to go hand in hand. They used it to cure depression, insomnia, and as a disinfectant for bullet wounds. Whiskey cured just about everything except the whisky hangover.
The Cure: A nice steaming cup of rabbit turd tea. It is not clear whether this actually worked but legendary figures such as Billy The Kid are known to have drunk it. However, if you ask me, if your hangover is so bad that you even contemplate drinking poopy tea, you may have a drinking problem.
9) Korea: Korea like Japan has a strong drinking culture that enjoys a traditional rice wine known as So-ju. Often these wines are sweet and, like the Snake Bite, trick you into consuming well more than you can handle. It produces a unique and mellow drunkenness and a uniquely awful hangover.
The Cure: You probably won’t be surprised to hear that Kimchi is one of Korea’s hangover cures. Kimchi’s main ingredient, the red pepper, dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow. Ultimately clearing up your cloudy perception by bringing more oxygen to brain. Additionally, a soup known as Haejangguk or “A soup to get sober,” is a common remedy. It consists of asparagus, cabbage and ox blood in a beef broth. All ingredients aimed at detoxifying your body.
10) Italy: One of Italy’s many great gifts to the world is it’s wine. Curiously, the same cannot be said about it’s wine hangover cure.
The Cure: A Sicilian slice of…no, not pizza, but dried bull penis. Perhaps it works by making you vomit. However it works, a hangover sounds more appealing.
The Runaway Guide’s Hangover Cure: It’s definitely not turd tea, bull penis, sheep lung, or vegemite. The best way to cure a hang over in my book is through:
1) A gallon of water or Gatorade to rehydrate and replenish electrolytes.
2) A banana for lost potassium.
3) Honey to raise blood sugar.
4) A bowl of Ramen or Udon to settle the stomach and gain strength.
5) Some stretching.
6) A cleansing bowel movement.
7) Sleep and Time.