December is relentless. Burning the candle at both ends is unavoidable, and office parties, visiting friends and end-of-year commitments can lead to an intense month. We’re through the woods (thankfully) now, but while some turn to Dry January to assuage their guilt and soothe their broken bodies, others like to live a little. We bring to those soldiers a list of top tips from our best barmen and sommelière, who have their fair share of experience in the field, on how to survive the next-day blues.
AXEL, UPSTAIRS AT BELON
First things first, a Bloody Mary. Waking up disoriented, vulnerable and groggy means it’ll be really easy to get yourself inebriated again. And, let’s face it, being tipsy is infinitely better than the hungover alternative. The rich spice of the drink and the umami of the tomato juice coupled with its vitamins make this an obvious go-to. Use my tried-and-tested recipe at the bottom. You’re welcome.
Once that’s kicking in, you need food. A heavy, greasy meal works wonders, and my personal favourite is a big bowl of pasta with a rich, meaty bolognese. Spiciness is great in kicking the toxic remnants out of your bloodstream, too. If you managed to sleep through your alarm and are rushing to work, do not skip breakfast, whatever you do. That’s what McDonald’s is for.
AXEL, STAZIONE NOVELLA
For me, the best way to recover is preparation. Chug lots of water and leave a pint or two by your bed for easy reach. Have something fairly light to eat, like a pack of spicy noodles. Then, get yourself up and moving because lying around wallowing will increase your pain ten-fold. Productivity, and life in general, shouldn’t have to grind to a halt due to a pounding headache. Try a small coffee if you normally can’t get out of bed without one, but do not overdo it, as those jitters and jangled hangxiety nerves will get worse with too much caffeine. Later on, a few shots of whisky will help you back on your feet and get you ready for another big night.
JD, OSTERIA MARZIA
I go straight for another beer, but ice cold. Bloody Marys never let me down, and I make sure to rehydrate with cold water or lime soda throughout the day.
TAMARA, BUENOS AIRES POLO CLUB
Prepare, prepare, prepare. If you’re a wine drinker, avoid those with too many toxic congeners produced during fermentation (as with spirits, colour is a good indicator of congener levels). Your liver takes four to five hours to process half a bottle of wine, so the old adage of pacing yourself with a glass of water between rings true and helps prevent next-day dehydration.
Wake up, get yourself to the gym, and sweat it out. My miracle cure is mate, a South American infusion that is caffeinated and contains more antioxidants than green tea. I drink it by the gallon daily, and it is comfort in a cup to ease a hungover soul.
MASSIMO, BUENOS AIRES POLO CLUB
Ethanol is a toxic chemical that works as a diuretic and severely dehydrates you. Counteract this with as much water as you can hold (at least a couple of pints upon waking up) and tea: fresh ginger works miracles. Have some fruit as the vitamins and natural sugars will give you a boost, and bananas are particularly good with their heightened potassium and alcohol-absorbing properties.
Make sure you have a big lunch that will give you strength. You need comfort, so go for your favourites: lasagne, pizza, whatever your preference. Keep drinking water, and if that 3pm crash lands you with a pounding headache, take a couple of Ibuprofen as a last resort.
JOENNEE, BUENOS AIRES POLO CLUB
The best cure for a hangover is prevention. Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Instead, start right with fatty foods as they delay alcohol absorption. Enjoy your drink slowly as you do so, and follow each with a glass of water.
Stick to one drink if possible, preferably a higher-filtered spirit. The more a spirit is filtered, the less congeners it contains (compounds that give the spirit its colour and flavour). Typically, the pricier the liquor, the more it is filtered. While this is not gospel, it’s a good guideline, so here’s your excuse to start knocking back the good stuff.
The next morning, load up on eggs, fatty foods and get your electrolytes in via sports drinks such as Gatorade. Alcohol dehydrates the body, so those fluids need replenishing. Take an anti-inflammatory pill such as Ibuprofen to help with the head and body aches that are part and parcel.
The best part is, after you’ve refuelled with food and fluid, sleep it off. You will be a better person afterwards.
AXEL GONZÁLEZ’S MIRACLE MARY – the Bloody Maria
4 dashes Tabasco
4 dashes Worcestershire
2 pinches salt
4 twists of pepper
90ml tomato juice (Campbell’s is perfect)
60ml tequila. Swapping vodka out is what makes Mary a Maria, and the tequila’s earthiness is a perfect match for the spices.
Add some grated ginger to taste for reviving zing.