You need to read this now: the ultimate hangover survival guide

However you are reading this, there’s a fair chance you’re not firing on all cylinders. What kind of hangover do you have? Like Lucky Jim, has your mouth been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night, and then as its mausoleum? Or maybe, like Ned Beauman’s Egon Loeser, you’ve woken with the conviction that somewhere in northern Rhodesia an elephant that got drunk on fermented marula fruit and rampaged through a village is enjoying your hangover, while you endure theirs.

Writers have always been drawn to hangovers because they do so much metaphorical legwork. Even the simplest statements come with a lovely dollop of pathos. They punish excess but we don’t understand them. They get worse as you get older. Every cure is unique and none is reliable.

And like all good poetry, hangovers resist interpretation. Whatever you think you’ve read about congeners and sulphites and wine before beer, it’s all twaddle. If any scientist had come within 10 miles of the secret, they’d be running for election in a plane with their name on the side.

Actually, that’s not true. There are three failsafe cures: swimming in a cold sea, skiing and Having Something Important On, of which the last is by far the most effective. Sadly none of them are available on Deliveroo, so here’s some more practical advice. Typically these pieces come with a warning about excessive drinking and dehydration, but here’s a more dire warning: none of these will cure the angst. Maybe your friends really don’t like you. Maybe you are bad at your job. Things to think about as you stand by the toaster.

Bloody Mary: bloody hell. If you’re going to have a vodka, just have a vodka.

Bloody Mary There’s always a Bloody Mary bore, isn’t there? “Extra spicy,” they’ll say at the bar, like they’re Clint Bloody Eastwood. This is a drink made from leftovers mushed into a glass and disguised with spice, like one of those potions young children make with everything they find under the sink. Presumably it’s another black-ops initiative by the Spanish, after gazpacho and salmorejo and that absurd festival in Buñol, to get rid of their spare tomatoes. Don’t fall for it.

Bacon sandwich A hangover makes you feel tired and dirty. You want to feel clean and awake. No bacon sandwich ever made someone feel more clean and awake.

The Full English The same goes for the Full English. It’s time the Full English was recognised for what it is, which is the back of the butcher’s larder – cheap sausage, lardy bacon, crusty blood – mushed on to a plate and disguised with jingoism.

A pint The only man who’s allowed a pint the morning after is Danny Dyer, and only if he’s at Gatwick. Are you Danny Dyer? Are you at Gatwick?

Coconut water We’re all in thrall to Big Coconut. No, it’s not “better than water”.

Toast and marmalade The argument for marmalade is that it tastes the same going down as it does coming back up. A good argument.

Jeeves’s remedy Raw egg, tabasco, Worcestershire sauce. In effect a Bloody Mary with raw egg instead of tomato juice. Impressive, if disgusting.

Tea Fine.

Boiled eggs A German friend of mine swore by boiled eggs, which he’d dip like radishes in salt. Eggs are a good test of recovering motor function. If you can run to a couple of perfect soft-boilers, you’re probably fine to drive.

Ramen All right until the pasta settles.

Kedgeree Delicious, but too ricey.

Pickle juice Some Eastern Europeans recommend a glass of pickle juice. I’ve never had it, but equally I’ve never had a hangover worse than how bad this sounds, so perhaps that’s how it works.

The Only Patent Proven Hangover Solution Before bed: 1 litre of water, 1 Dioralyte sachet, two paracetamol, two ibuprofen. On waking: one banana, two double espressos, fags (to taste), more medicine (as appropriate). Long walk.

Optional extra Ribena with ice and fizzy water: since they scandalously discontinued Ribena Sparkle you have to DIY this. Well worth it, though. Happy holidays.

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