One of the biggest drinking days of the year, New Year's Eve, is fast upon us. To us bartenders, the 31st is derided as the biggest amateur night of the year. Lots of people partake in potent potables at quantities they aren't used to drinking. The next morning, seemingly everyone you know ends up with a walloping hangover. Hang on to these tips come the 31st and 1st, and you won't have to suffer.
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Don't Get A Hangover To Begin With As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In this case, good hydration one night will save you a pounding headache the next day. Drink plenty of water through the evening when you drink. I aim for a full glass of water for every cocktail I have. You'll have to make bathroom runs all night; come morning, you'll be glad you did.
On the way home, stop for a bottle of Gatorade or Vitaminwater. Slug it down before bed, and take a couple of Tylenol (or your over-the-counter pain reliever of choice) before you conk out for the night. Skip theTylenol if you are a regular heavy drinker; the alcohol is doing enough damage to your liver without Tylenol's assistance, and that or Advil can burn a hole in your stomach lining.
The Next Morning, You Got A Hangover Anyway So, you forgot to take my advice, and now you feel like you got run over by a truck last night. It happens to the best of us. First and foremost, take it easy. Sleep in if you can. You deserve it. Once you're up, you might be tempted to exercise to sweat out your hangover. If you do, keep it light: Go for a walk, or do some yoga. Hydration is even more important than usual! Keep a water bottle with you while you're exercising.
Once the nausea clears, you'll probably find that you're very hungry. As with the exercise, keep it light. You'll be tempted to wolf down a greasy truck-stop style breakfast with all the trimmings. Don't do it! Your body is still off-kilter, you don't need to throw a big heavy meal into the equation. My preferred post-hangover meal is soup. I'm partial to pho, but any clear soup is fine. I've heard matzo ball soup works wonders. Some people swear by menudo, but that's a little too much for me to take when I'm hung over.
What Not To Do There's a couple of folk remedies to be avoided at all costs. First, while you're at the gym, it may be tempting to take a post-exercise sauna or steam bath, under the guise of sweating out toxins. It opens up your blood vessels, which stands to make your symptoms worse. Second, lay off the hooch! Having a Bloody Mary or other drink will temporarily alleviate your symptoms, but in the end will make your hangover worse. All you need is some rest, a light bite, and gentle exercise, and you'll be as good as new in no time.