SO IT’S THE new year, and you feel terrible. You felt great when you were having that G&T while you got dressed for the party; and even better when you downed those black Manhattans with the hottie from work; and like an actual rock star when it came time to dance on the dining table with a snifter of cognac in one hand, a bottle of peppermint Schnapps in the other and a scarf made of the holiday lights you ripped off the host’s now-defunct Christmas tree when that new Harry Styles song came on.
But now that’s over, and your head feels like fireworks went off inside it, and everybody has advice for you. “Hair of the dog” is the most appealing option, and there is some science behind the idea that a little (a little!) more alcohol can soften the most drastic effects of a hangover the next day (hence the popularity of brunch Bloody Marys).
A kind friend might offer you Gatorade or coconut water (restore those electrolytes!), coffee (wake up!) or ginger tea (stop puking!). Your mother might suggest Pedialyte, but that’s mostly to shame you; don’t fall for it. I’ve had friends who swear by pickles (the brine kind — never, apparently, the vinegar kind) or a fatty breakfast, like a full English consisting of black (blood) pudding, sausages, bacon, ham, eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms. Someone you know will offer a recipe for their grandmother’s menudo, a generally spicy Latin American soup made from tripe (the lining of a cow’s stomach). However, the thought of the main ingredient might, in your current state, leave you heading for the bathroom (although it shouldn’t; menudo is damn tasty). This tendency to induce nausea seems common in hangover remedies — it seems, in fact, integral to the idea, as if a little self-flagellation is a vital part of your next-day post-bacchanalian shame experience.
The hangover cure you’re most likely to remember from movies usually involves someone breaking raw eggs into a glass or a blender with some hot sauce or pickle juice and then giving it to some poor suffering clod to suck down raw. This, in one form or another, is actually a thing, usually called a “Prairie Oyster,” a libation prepared without the blender but with the miserable grimace, consisting generally of a raw egg, a tablespoon or so of vinegar, a few splashes of hot sauce and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. And, if you’re so inclined, a shot of hair of the dog (vodka, often) to take the edge off.
No one knows quite whither this vile concoction comes (although this Eater article has a few ideas), but it is very likely at least 100 years old and therefore “traditional,” and it once was fictionally served by Jeeves to Bertie Wooster, so it’s probably Gatsby enough for your post-fete woes. I suspect, though, that whoever first dreamed it up did so with one eye on healing the sufferer and one eye on punishing them for having hit on the preparer’s girlfriend the night before.