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16 Ways to Beat a Hangover

By the editors of Garden & Gun

16 Ways to Beat a Hangover
Photograph by Jack Thompson

While working on this issue’s definitive guide to drinking in the South, we sipped new cocktails, scoured the region for the best places to pull up a stool, and picked the brains of those leading the charge. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t at least mention the flip side of Dixie’s drink revival— the inevitable hangover. So to help keep those headaches at bay as you make your way through the February/March issue, we asked some of our contributors to recommend their go-to remedies (and threw in a few of our own). With cures that run the gamut from Carolina barbecue and cracklings to chocolate, we’ve got plenty of ways for you to find a little relief.

Derek Brown
Bartender/Owner – Mockingbird Hill, Eat the Rich, Southern Efficiency
Washington, D.C.

Egg drop soup. Walk up and down stairs. Ibuprofen. Go back to sleep. I have a little crappy Chinese store around the corner. That’s it. Otherwise, I’m always stocked with Gatorade and ibuprofen.

Gary Crunkleton
Bartender/Owner – The Crunkleton
Chapel Hill, NC

A Mountain Dew and a Mr. Goodbar is my remedy. I also recommend staying hydrated while drinking.

Neal Bodenheimer
Bartender – Cure, Bellocq, Cane & Table
New Orleans, LA

A bottle of Underberg Bitters does wonders. Or a good dose of Angostura bitters—an ounce—with some soda and a dash of lemon. Plus, a Company Burger.

The Thunder and Lightning cocktail from the Savoy Cocktail Book will usually set you straight, too.

Thunder and Lightning
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. powdered sugar
2 oz. brandy
Cayenne pepper, for garnish

Combine egg yolk, sugar, and brandy. Shake well, strain into a glass, and top with a dash of cayenne.

QUIZ: How Well Do You Know Your Southern Drinks?

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Photograph by Rush Jagoe

Zach Lynch
Bartender – The Ice Plant
St. Augustine, FL

My hangover cure is super simple: Fernet Branca. Just a shot of that by itself, or mixed in coffee, seems to do the trick.

Jeff “Beachbum” Berry
Tiki expert
New Orleans, LA

If you can’t get out of bed, don’t. Remain inert until you pass out again. If you can manage the impossible journey from supine to upright, stumble to the nearest diner and eat a big breakfast with lots of coffee. My preferred remedy is the Oysters Rockefeller Omelet at The Old Coffeepot in the French Quarter.

Greg Best
Bartender – Formerly at Holeman & Finch Public House
Atlanta, GA

When at first I open my swollen eyes on the following morning, I drink a large cup of water with a side of two Motrin IB pellets. Then it’s back on the pillow for 20-30 minutes until the Motrin lends the strength to stand, followed by the ingestion of 2-3 scrambled eggs dusted in cracked pepper and veiled in melted American cheese with a pamplemousse La Croix.

Paul Calvert
Bartender – Paper Plane
Atlanta, GA

Honestly, the only cure is time. I also lean heavily on the following: water, a salty, fatty breakfast, running, sex. I never drink booze the day after; there’s something inescapably depressing about a cul-de-sac.

Charlie Papaceno
Bartender – Windmill Lounge
Dallas, TX

Here’s my approach: A big, greasy cheeseburger accompanied by an ice cream float made with Manhattan Special Espresso Soda and any premium ice cream. Following all that with some hair of the dog is not a bad idea, either. Just a wee nip of say, Fernet Branca?

Kathleen Purvis
Food editor – The Charlotte Observer
Charlotte, NC

For every sip of wine, take a sip of water. If you’re on the town, make sure that your server fills your water glass as often as your wine glass.

Miles Macquarrie
Bartender – Kimball House
Atlanta, GA

I’ll usually drink a Coca-Cola classic instead of coffee if I’m really hungover. Then I will go and get two hot dogs or a cheesesteak at this little hot dog joint near Kimball House called Skip’s Chicago Dogs.

Doug Atwell
Bartender – Rye
Baltimore, MD

Shakes on a Plane

1 ounce Angostura bitters
3/4 ounce John D. Taylor’s velvet falernum

Place room temperature ingredients into a shot or rocks glass.

The bitters, a classic hangover cure, are perfect for soothing an agitated system, and the sweetness of the falernum helps the medicine go down.

SEE MORE: How to Build a Bloody Mary Bar

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Photograph by Jason Varney

John Currence
Chef/Owner – City Grocery
Oxford, MS

My hangover cure: Start drinking again. If you’ve got a for-real hangover, there’s no better way to cure it than just prolonging the agony. Personally, I like either a Bloody Mary or, if it’s an extreme case, a shot of tequila and some sangrita.

Kevin Barrett
Bartender – Foundation
Raleigh, NC

Eat a nice helping of eastern Carolina barbecue before or while drinking. A friend of mine swears that if you eat cracklings the night of a big drink, you will never get a hangover. If that doesn’t work, I recommend getting yourself to a diner in the morning(ish) to eat some eggs, grits, and your favorite breakfast meat.

Jed Portman
Editorial Assistant – Garden & Gun

I try to cure my hangovers the night before, with the old bottle-of-water-by-the-side-of-the-bed trick. Failing that, I go for a cure-all drink that my cousin came up with years ago, when improvising mimosas for a date: beer and orange juice. You can use good beer, but I prefer watery PBR and store-brand, no-pulp OJ. The combination is invigorating, hydrating, and just a little bit boozy.

Jessica Mischner
Senior Editor – Garden & Gun

My go-to is a big bowl of cheese grits—absolutely no butter, just salt and lots of good shredded cheddar—washed down with a red beer (Tecate or something light and Mexican, with a tomato juice floater and a couple of lime wedges). It’s the perfect mix of starch, sodium, vitamin C, and equilibrium-restoring alcohol.

Marshall McKinney
Art Director – Garden & Gun

Two Goody’s or B.C. headache powders shaken up in a quart of Gatorade (Frost Grape preferably) or coconut water. I also recommend waking up before your hangover does. In other words get out of the bed and start convincing yourself you have something important to do—you know, like foraging for leftover pizza or, better yet, a big-ass hamburger smothered in cheese.

More from Garden & Gun:

The Ultimate Bloody Mary
Southern Classic Cocktail: The Seelbach