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Weekly Alibi Hangover Remedies

JANUARY 4, 1999:  New Year's Eve--the biggest drinking day of the year--is upon us. That means, of course, that New Year's Day--the biggest hangover day of the year--is also waiting to pounce. No doubt a great many of us will partake of the demon rum (or vodka or whiskey) on that fateful night. And no doubt an equal number of us will seek a cure for our aching stomachs and pounding heads come daylight. Throughout the history of tippling, helpful mixologists have striven to discover a magical elixir to beat down "the butterflies, whips and jingles," as famed restaurateur Trader Vic Bergeron used to put it.

Restoratives, pick-me-ups and other alleged hangover cures abound. Our good friend Trader Vic weighed in on the subject in his 1946 Book of Food and Drink, stating, "There has been a lot of tripe dished out on that curse of mankind, the hangover, and the consensus seems to be that there is no cure, yet a lot of intelligent people still seek a modern miracle in all sorts of horrible potions which are about as effective as burying an old sock in the backyard to cure warts." Typically, these snake oil drinks contain

1) something to give your stomach a kick in the pants (like Tabasco) and 2) something easily digestible for nourishment (like egg or cream).

The truth of the matter is that there is no cure for a hangover. You're suffering mostly from dehydration, and if you didn't drink enough water while swilling the night before, then only time is going to help you, my hurting friend. That said, it has been shown that--in moderate amounts--"the hair of the dog" can at least take the edge off of a killer hangover. But, as Don Williams warned in an Esquire magazine essay from long, long ago, "Few afflictions are more horrible than a really first-rate hangover--one with long matted hair and a guttural voice. One of the few things more horrible is the hangover remedy which each well-intentioned friend forces down your gullet the morning after."

Banana Cow

This Trader Vic's original features bananas, an important source for potassium in nursing hangovers. Plus, as it says in Trader Vic's Book of Food and Drink, "No foolin' this is a pip."

    1 crushed ripe banana
    2 level tablespoons powdered sugar
    3 ounces whole milk
    1 1/2 ounces Puerto Rican rum
    Plenty of cracked ice

As per Vic's instructions; "Put the mess in an electric blender and mix hell out of it. Pour in a large glass and have at it."

Bloody Mary

    4 ounces tomato juice
    1 1/2 ounce vodka
    1/4 ounce lemon juice
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    Dash Tabasco
    Celery salt, ground pepper to taste

Stir well over ice cubes in a collins glass. Garnish with a celery stalk and serve.

Corpse Reviver

This famed restorative has dozens of different recipes. Here is the most common:

    3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
    3/4 Calvados (an apple-flavored brandy)
    1/2 ounce Cognac

Stir well over ice cubes in a mixing glass. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist lemon peel over and serve.

Fallen Angel

    1 1/2 ounce gin
    Dash creme de menthe (white)
    Dash Angostura bitters
    Dash lemon juice

Shake over ice cubes, strain into a chilled cocktail glass and serve.

Prairie Oyster

This pick-me-up contains no alcohol. I'm not sure what its restorative powers are supposed to be, but I'm guessing if you can keep it down, you're going to be OK.

    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    1 dash Tabasco
    1 raw egg
    Few drops lemon juice
    Salt and pepper to taste

Carefully combine ingredients in a shot glass. Down in a single gulp.

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