28 Crazy Hangover Cures From Around the World
Drinking is a global tradition. Almost every country has a signature spirit—as well as a signature way to recover after imbibing far too much of said spirit. Restoratives run the gamut from savory fare to punitive shots to downright farcical holistic traditions. They may not all work wonders for your headache or upset stomach, but if nothing else, they prove that everyone around the world is equal in the eyes of a hangover. Here, a few of the best and craziest global hangover cures.
You may be familiar with rollmops, often sold at Eastern European delis, but few hungover souls would think to indulge in the pickled herring-wrapped pickles and onions. In Germany, the dish is called katerfrühstück, or “hangover breakfast,” as it’s salty and briny enough to absorb even the most fearsome of German spirits.
Leche de Tigre, Peru
The acidic base of Peruvian ceviche, known as leche de tigre (translation: tiger’s milk), not only brings the seafood dish to life, but it’ll also revive you when you’re on the wrong end of a hangover. While some bartenders pour the fish and citrus mix into a Bloody Mary, a simple shot will bring the same relief in a hurry.
Vodka Socks, Estonia
After a night spent drinking vodka, it’s time to wear some vodka. In Estonia, soaking socks in vodka before bedtime is thought to help you sweat out any ailment, but it seems particularly apt if what’s plaguing you is...also vodka.
Once you’ve successfully pickled yourself with shochu and Japanese whisky, it’s time to pickle your way right back out of the hangover with umeboshi. Translated as salted, pickled plums, umeboshi are traditionally made from the ume fruit, which is closer to an apricot. Far from delicate, the intensely salty and tart fruit is usually served with rice or on rice balls.
Bury Yourself in River Sand, Ireland
If you wake up in an addled daze and feel like you’re buried in muck, maybe you are. Irish partiers are known to bury themselves in river sand up to their necks to shock the system back into order, like a cold shower. The benefit of a shower, however, is that you don’t have to haul yourself out of 20 pounds of sand while woozy.
Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. After a bit too much pilsner, the Danes cure a nasty hangover with some hair of the dog in the form of an IPA called Reparationsbajer, aka “repair beer.”
Public baths serve as communal meeting places in many countries, but in Russia they’re also used as recovery rooms. Sweating out booze may not work literally—otherwise these saunas would reek of vodka rather than sweat—but the rest of your day will be a breeze after enduring the inferno of the steam room.
Haejang-guk, South Korea
Any banchan lover knows that variety is the key to Korean cuisine. It should come as no surprise, then, that haejang-guk, or “hangover soup,” refers not to single dish but to an entire range of warm, soothing, often offal-filled soups. Think of it as grown-up chicken noodle soup from your Korean mother—with a lot more tripe than you’re probably used to.
Ostrich Egg Omelette, South Africa
Eggs may already be your go-to hangover breakfast, but South Africans go next-level with the breakfast staple, using a massive ostrich egg (roughly equal to a dozen chicken eggs) to make an omelette. Hope you’re hungry.
Ciorba de Burta, Romania / Menudo, Mexico / Iskembe Çorbasi, Turkey
Whatever you call it and wherever you get it, tripe soup is a surefire curative for anyone brave enough to stomach it (get it?). If you have a taste for entrails, there are few fatty stews more capable of coating your own belly with a restorative food hug.
A burek is cheese or meat wrapped in a pastry. It’s simple and delicious—the breakfast sandwich of hangover champions.
Buffalo Milk, Namibia
Buffalo milk sounds innocent enough, but within this common hangover cure in Namibia lies a whole lot of booze. The frothy milkshake of a cure is spiked with dark rum, spiced rum and cream liqueur. It sounds more like a way to get the night started than a cure for the morning after.
Lemon Arm, Puerto Rico
While its medical use has some scientific merit when imbibed in a Hot Toddy, there is no evidence that rubbing lemon juice in your armpits will prevent a hangover, as some Puerto Ricans are wont to do. The dubious claim suggests that a quick squeeze beneath the armpit of your drinking arm only somehow helps with dehydration. We recommend sticking to the Toddy.
Full English Breakfast, U.K.
The English may not be renowned for their national cuisine, but they sure know how to start the day right. No hangover could possibly withstand the weight of the full Monty, which includes bacon and sausage, beans, eggs, tomato, lard-fried bread, potatoes, maybe some white or black pudding (that’s blood sausage for the uninitiated) and possibly some sort of smoked fish—oh and tea, of course. If you manage not to pass out at the table, the filling meal should at least help get you to lunch.
It may not look as appetizing as your go-to breakfast sandwich, but the Chinese rice porridge congee is a perfectly comforting bowl of sustenance that will go down easy no matter what. If your stomach can stand it, take the next step and top your congee with any variety of sweet or savory ingredients, from fruit to meatballs to funky preserved eggs.
Known as “Scotland’s other national drink,” this orange soda, pronounced “iron brew,” helps over-indulgers steel themselves against the inevitable scotch hangover. The pronunciation confusion isn’t just a product of the Scottish accent but rather a clever way to avoid a mid-century law that denied the beverage maker use of the word “brew.”
Dried Bull Penis, Sicily
It’s hard to turn down salty, chewy jerky—unless that meaty strip is made from a bull’s nether regions. The reasoning behind this old school meat cure is a little muddled, but it somehow links increased virility to overcoming a hangover.
Kaya Toast, Singapore
Puny avocado-topped toast is no match for a mega death hangover. Get yourself to a Singaporean kopitiam (coffee house) and order some kaya toast—a breakfast sandwich stuffed with coconut jam, sugar, coconut milk, eggs, pandan and butter. It’s a next-level breakfast after a next-level night out.
Pickle Brine, Poland
In Poland, pickle juice isn’t just for chasing down shots, but also for chasing away hangovers. The morning after a big night out, fill a glass with pickle brine and sip away. The salty juice is packed with electrolytes, which will help you recover. Think of it as a crazy new flavor of Gatorade.
Utopenci, Czech Republic
Like the other pickled cures on this list, the best part of this go-to Czech cure is its name, utopenci, which means “drowned men,” a cheeky reference to the people who need it most. Pickled gherkins and sausages combine in a briny feast for the suffering soul.
Sparrow Droppings in Brandy, Hungary
A shot of brandy taken as a hair of the dog makes some sense, but adding animal byproducts to the mix is a new twist. It’s a little unclear how Hungarians got sparrow poo into their brandy snifters in the first place or why they then chose to drink the stuff, but apparently the outcome was therapeutic. We’ll take their word for it.
Oregano Tea, Ecuador
Forget adding honey to this tea—Ecuadorians prefer oregano’s natural salty taste. The herb is a remedy for any general digestive afflictions, but it also works wonders on a system racked by a night on the town.
Sheep Eye Bloody Mary, Mongolia
We’ve seen our fair share of over-the-top Bloody Mary garnishes on Instagram, but we’ve yet to see a foodstagrammer do up their Bloody like the Mongolians—with a pickled sheep eye. The mixture is relatively simple compared to many stateside tomato-based brunch drinks: plop some pickled eyes in tomato juice and bottoms up. Don’t knock it before you try it.
White Foods, Italy
Red wine can give you a wicked headache the next morning, sometimes so bad you may never want to see that color again. Eating white foods like rice, pasta and dairy may seem like an errant solution, but the next-day diet helps Italian drinkers avoid red sauces built on acidic tomatoes, which may only worsen an upset stomach.
Even if you like to go full Rocky on your eggs and slurp them down raw, the experience still probably isn’t as visceral as eating balut, the traditional raw duck embryos popular in the Philippines. No yellow yolk here; just a semi-formed, slimy duckling in a mucus-filled shell.
The mixture of French fries, cheese curds and gravy is good any time of day, so even if the greasy food doesn’t do much for your body medically, you’ll certainly enjoy your hangover more than if you didn’t have a big basket of delicious in front of you.
Green Ant Tea, Australia
Slurp your way through this Aussie hangover cure and you may think you’re downing a mugful of warm, soothing green tea. In fact, this tea is made from crushed ant carcasses. But like their living brethren who work as a team to lift much larger objects, this tea can carry your droopy body back into consciousness.
Voodoo Revenge, Haiti
If a hangover leaves you more angry than sad, you could act out those frustrations in a vengeful religious ritual. Stick 13 pins into the cork of the bottle that caused you harm and perhaps you’ll feel better via mystical retribution. Or maybe you’ll just have a new pin cushion.