Hair of the Dog

Hangover cures from our local cocktail-slingers.

The Japanese believe that what you do on the first day of the year characterizes what you’ll be doing for the coming 365 days. If you’re like me, you’ve started one or two years inauspiciously — staying in bed until three, popping aspirin on the hour until your stomach starts aching. This year I called a few bartenders around the area to ask them for their favorite hangover cures:

Michael from Twist, Walnut Creek, claims he’s never had a hangover in his life. “Maybe it’s because I drink a glass of water before I sleep. But some people say that drinking a Bloody Mary or a shot of Jägermeister works, because it puts you back over.”

Diane, of Oakland’s Bird Kage, also says she doesn’t get hangovers because she doesn’t drink that much. But for those of us poor zhlubs who do, “I would say tomato juice with a little Worcestershire sauce, a little hot sauce, and a squeeze of lime. That’s what the older bartenders I know have taught me.”

Paul, the bartender at the Pine Street Sports Bar & Grill in Livermore, varies the formula slightly: “Fill a sixteen-ounce glass with twelve ounces of beer and top it off with tomato juice. That’s what everyone drinks around here.”

Luann from the Hotsy Totsy Club in Albany believes in tough measures: “Equal parts Fernet (a bitter Italian digestive) and blackberry brandy in a rocks glass with one ice cube. If it don’t cure you, it’ll kill you.” And Jo of Hayward’s Rainbow Room believes in forging boldly ahead: “I always say the hair of the dog. Whatever you drank the night before, drink the next day. After a couple, you’ll feel normal again.”

Steve, from Radio in downtown Oakland, self-medicates with food. “My favorite cure is pretty classic. Have a shot of whiskey — preferably Jameson’s — right when you get up, and then head straight to a breakfast place and get an order of greasy potatoes.”

Tej of Club Mallard in Albany agrees. “There’s no possible way you can go wrong with a big, greasy breakfast, a couple of Ibuprofen, a beer, and then a gallon of water. That’s my personal ultimate cure. There’s one other thing that’s really good: this Chinese rice porridge called congee. A little exercise is good, ’cause you’ve got to get things moving. Then go right back to the couch.”

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