Every yahoo thinks they're a "Hair of the Dog" master, but most end up optimistically guzzling whatever hooch their trembling hands don't spill, then announcing their improved health even as they quietly poop their pants. Here to school you in the Art of the Hair: renowned mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim, in town to school on hangovers at The South Beach Wine & Food Festival.
Hangover Fighting Origin Story
Some friends and I had been drinking at Pat O'Brien's in New Orleans -- this is back when I was about 25 or so, and we were drinking those godforsaken Hurricanes all day and night. There's so much bad booze and sugar and artificial stuff in there. That really left a mark.
The only real cure is time, and try to get some food down. But you can certainly soften the blow by putting alcohol on alcohol. There's two directions you can take, here. Eye-openers, like the classic Bloody Mary -- that's all about attacking the hangover. Or you can go for soothing and sweet, with Gin Fizz drinks and Milk Punches; anything made with dairy, eggs, sugar, and a little bit of carbonation from champagne coats you all over inside like a soothing blanket, while the Bloody jolts you.
There's a long history [of remedies]. The Gentleman's Companion, a book that came out in 1939, lists at least 26 of them. Frank Meier at the Ritz Bar, Paris, created the "Corpse Reviver" -- to be taken before 11am, or "whenever steam and energy are needed".
The Bloody Truth
Legend has it that Pete Petiot invented the Bloody in Paris at Harry's New York Bar in 1921. After Prohibition was repealed he moved to New York. That's where he added Tabasco and started making it with gin, since vodka was scarce. The gin drink was called the "Red Snapper". As for the celery, that was added by mistake at the Pump Room in Chicago during the 60s.
Mimosas: Not Just for Chicks
Champagne with any sort of fruit puree is also soothing. The bubbles kind of tickle and ease the pain away.
What About Beer?
I used to work in this Irish pub and these guys would come in at noon or so in a lot of pain. We'd mix three parts lager to one part Bloody mix.
This one was inspired by my 40th birthday, when my friends and I had been drinking a deadly combo of Negronis, cab and sambuca [editor's note: wtf?]. It's always good to eat when hung over. To that end, I concocted a drink that morning called "Tony's Pick-Me-Up", that uses Absente and Fernet-Branca for the appetite, Cognac and egg whites for soothing comfort, and fresh sour and brut champagne for the tickle. As Harry Craddock once said, drink it "Quickly, while it's laughing at you!" (full recipe below).
The Best Kind of Ballast
A Double-Double cheeseburger with grilled onions from In-N-Out. And bacon improves everything.