Sooner or later it will happen to you on a trip. You’ll drink too much schnapps, or ouzo, or chang, or tej, and you’ll wake up the next morning feeling like your brain is two sizes too big for your skull and your mouth was indecently violated by The Mummy.
A hangover is one of the worst types of traveler’s illness because it’s self-inflicted. Luckily every country that has a local branch of hooch (and that’s most countries) has a local remedy. Here in Spain, someone suffering from a reseca should go to a cafe and order a tostada con tomate. This is toast with a bit of olive oil topped with tomato puree and salt. It’s best taken with some strong coffee. The Scots like drinking their national soft drink Irn-Bru. In England people have a traditional fry-up, with baked beans, toast, sausage, bacon, tomato, and mushrooms. Lots of carbohydrates is one school of thought for curing a hangover, although Vitamin C is also a common cure.
When I asked the rugged, hard-drinking travelers here at Gadling, I got plenty of suggestions. One blogger gave her personal recipe as “Emergen-C, carbs, a nap, a shower, more carbs.” Others suggested the “hair of the dog.” Two said a few Bloody Marys work best, mixed either with eggs Benedict and greasy hash browns or a nap. The Mexicans have a variation on the Bloody Mary cure called the michelada that sounds like it should work pretty well. I wish I had known about it after a certain tequila night in Nogales.
Gadling readers offered some favorite cures too. In Wisconsin, with its history of German and Scandinavian immigrants, the traditional remedy is sauerkraut juice. I can’t imagine stomaching such a thing the morning after a pub crawl, but with its salt, liquid, and vitamins C and B6, I can see how it would work. More palatable is ice cream or chocolate milk to get your blood sugar level up quickly. Chocolate before going to bed is said to give you crazy dreams as it flushes the alcohol out of your system more quickly but you’ll wake up feeling OK.
The main causes of a hangover are dehydration, vitamin B deficiency, and the toxins in the booze you guzzled the previous night, so the best cure is preventative: drink quality stuff and before going to bed have plenty of water and some vitamin B tablets. I’ve noticed that a night on the town enjoying quality British real ale gives me a pain-free morning, while drinking regular lager destroys me.