By Jack King
On New Year’s Day some of you out there (and you know who you are) will already have broken your first resolution — the one not to begin the year with a tongue the consistency of the Sahara Desert and eyes like two very, very painful poached eggs.
We refer, of course, to that widespread New Year’s tradition, the hangover.
Don’t feel alone. The world over and throughout history people have been sharing with you the morning’s atonement for a nighttime of whoopee. And, the world over and throughout history, the cure has often been worse than the condition.
According to Leanne Edmistone, a reporter for the Brisbane, Australia, Courier-Mail, in the Middle Ages drinkers treated their hangovers with a plate of bitter almonds and dried eels. Australians prefer a big, greasy breakfast, she writes.
In the Southwest, those suffering from “el crudo” — literally “the raw” in Spanish, not, as some would have it, “the crud” — traditionally have resorted to menudo, a soup composed of red chili, tripe, red chili, hominy, red chili, onions and some more red chili.
In Clovis, Prince Lounge bartender Linda Kelm said her customers call a hangover the “Bloody Mary morning after” in honor of the most commonly attempted cure, a drink made of vodka, tomato juice, Worchester sauce, horseradish, tobasco sauce, a variety of other, personalized, ingredients and a celery stick.
Carol Fulgham, the package store manager at Kelley’s Bar and Grill, agreed that Bloody Marys are the most frequently requested morning after cure.
Clovis resident — and reformed drinker — Kit Pettigrew said in the old days he kept things much more simple.
“‘Hair of the dog that bit you,’” he said. “Don’t be a quitter. Just keep drinking whatever you were drinking the night before.”
Pettigrew said he’s heard of “about 9,000” hangover cures, “but, it’s all something somebody just made up.”
“I do think if you have one drink the next day, then quit, that works. But, all it does is postpone the agony,” he added.
Dr. Jamie Felberg, who has worked in Plains Regional Medical Center’s emergency room for the last four years, said the best “cure” for a hangover is preventive — don’t drink. And, above all, don’t drink and drive, he said.
But, if you insist on courting pain, Felberg offered a few words of advice.
“Drink in moderation. The National Institute of Health says women should have no more than one drink a day and men no more than two. That’s one 12 ounce serving of beer, one 4 ounce serving of wine or 1 1/2 ounces of hard liquor. Drink slowly and on a full stomach,” he said.
“Two things that predispose people to hangovers are dehydration and substances called congeners. To counter the dehydrating effect of alcohol, drink a glass of water between drinks. Congeners are toxic substances created in the fermentation process. Dark alcoholic drinks like red wine, brandy, whiskey and cognac, and champagne, have more congeners. Lighter ones, like white wine, vodka and gin have fewer of them, so stick with light-colored alcohol,” he said.
“If you wind up with a hangover, consume foods and drinks with fructose in them, like fruits, vegetables and fruit juices. Fruit juice or honey helps burn alcohol faster. Drink lots of water. Also, sports drinks and bouillon-type soups help replace salt and potassium,” Felberg said.
But, he added, all these steps are treatments that make you feel better and speed recovery, not cures. In the end, Felberg agreed with Pettigrew, the only cure for a hangover is time.
So, brace yourselves, party lovers, for a long, slow morning. Then resolve to never, ever, do it again.