Tuesday, May 20, 2008

On Hangovers

Joan Acocella writes about the hangover in this week's New Yorker. What a delightful topic. She mentions poetic names for hangover in many languages and she neglects Spanish, which is very bad. In Spain it is called "resaca", which the dictionary translates as "undertow" or "undercurrent", but which to me feels more like flotsam, the stuff you regurgitate when you feel like you are bobbing up and down in mercilessly rough seas.
In Mexico we simply call it "la cruda", the raw. Perhaps it is short for "la cruda realidad", back to raw reality. At least that's how it feels like.
So as a public service to those in need of hangover cures, here are some Mexican remedies tried and true.
• In the state of Jalisco they have an amazing potion with a fabulous Indian sounding name that I can't recall (Toloache? or something like that? Please pipe in if you know it), which consists of fizzy mineral water mixed with lime juice and salt and served on an earthenware jug. It's basically homemade saline solution and it's very restorative. If you don't have the earthenware jug it probably still works.
• I have seen comatose drunks revive instantly with something called "la piedra", the rock, which is -- drumroll please: tequila, Fernet Branca and anise liqueur. It looks, tastes and smells as scary as what it sounds like, but I've seen it bring people back to life with a vengeance (for about an hour, then they collapse again).
• Acocella mentions that people in Mexico eat spicy and fatty food the morning after. That is true.
Not only menudo, which is tripe soup so spicy of course you forget all about the hangover, but also chilaquiles, and birria, which is spicy goat stew.
• If it's hair of the dog, a Michelada (beer with lime and salt on the rocks) is also marvelous.
• I still swear by the Bloody Mary. According to me, it works because the tomato juice has enormous amounts of salt and potassium and that helps you recover.
• And I don't know about you, but the morning after I desperately crave sweet, mealy things like pancakes drenched in syrup, French toast or sweet rolls dripping with sugar.
• But the mother of all hangover cures, at least for me, are the soup dumplings at Joe's Shanghai. Not Mexican, but they are like mother's milk (and their fatty elixir is extracted in a way not dissimilar to sucking on a teat). They just make everything right again.
Now, Acocella claims that the dark liquors are the worst. Well, white wine is evil to me and so is champagne. E.V.I.L. Anything after red wine is also treacherous. They say it is no good to mix grapes and grains. And also that white before red is fine but the opposite is terrible.
Tequila is a jealous master, it only tolerates beer. I'm tired of hearing people give tequila a bad name because of the hangovers. Stop drinking Margaritas with cheap tequila and pixy stix flavors and have clean shots of the good stuff instead. No hangover whatsoever if you promise not to mix.
The other thing which will make your hangover hellish is smoking. Most of the time, my hangovers have been 70% worse when I've smoked cigarettes as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment