People everywhere understand a simple, universal truth: drinking alcohol is fun until it’s not. Everyone has felt the crushing blow of an epic hangover after waking up from a booze-soaked night with friends — aside from the teetotalers of the world, of course — and this shared experience of pain, regret, and sudden nausea is one of the moments that bonds us all together as humans. Am I over-analyzing the significance of a hangover? Perhaps, but as anyone who has had to crawl to their kitchen sink to get a glass of water while shouting "WHY, GOD, WHY?" in 80 proof breaths can tell you, it’s nice to think that someone, somewhere is having the same hellish morning.
Luckily there are many people in the same sinking boat when it comes to hangovers, as evidenced by how many hangover cures exist in the world. My personal remedy is a tall glass of apple juice and a giant turkey club with extra mayonnaise, but I haven’t conducted any formal research to prove if those items are actual hangover cures or just foods that taste good to me and take my mind off the splitting headache. The following cures are regarded highly enough to be used by entire countries, so despite the fact that they’re all extremely odd, chances are they’ll make you feel a little less like death warmed up.
1. Turkey: Tripe Soup
While the thought of eating a watery tripe stew makes me want to vomit when i’m sober let alone in a delicate state, Turkish people swear by this dish for hangover prevention and alleviation. I don’t think I could handle it, but if you’re up for some offal the wonderfully named Global Hangover Guide has a recipe you can try. Also: there’s something about the stomach lining of farm animals that makes it great for eliminating the hooch from your system, because tripe dishes are also considered hangover cures in Romania and Mexico.
2. Germany: Pickled Herring
I’ve been known to chase shots of whiskey with a pickle back, but that has never done anything to prevent feelings of despair the next day. It may not work for me, but German drinkers trust a plate of pickled herring the day after a bender to heal what ails them. The tangy fish is often wrapped around slices of gherkin and onion, if that makes it sound any better. If you’re especially hungover and can’t bear the thought of swallowing solid food, take note that Germany’s neighbors in Poland skip the fish altogether and just drink glasses of pickle juice.
3. Japan: Umeboshi
Second only to tripe among global hangover cures, apparently, is pickled stuff. In Japan, hangover sufferers consume a pickled plum known as umeboshi that is touted for its health benefits. It is notoriously disgusting to eat straight up, so I recommend following the advice of the Macrobiotic Guide: steep umeboshi in some tea and consume the resulting sour liquid. Yep, still sounds gross, but it’s better than being stuck in the fetal position.
Side note: Does anyone else remember the episode of America’s Next Top Model where Yaya shows a complete lack of respeito for Japanese culture by spitting out her umeboshi? Tyra Banks probably does, and you should, too.
4. Namibia: Buffalo Milk
Hungover Namibians combine heavy cream, rum, and cream liqueurs like Baileys into something akin to a spiked milkshake (hence the photo, which is technically just a regular milkshake), then toss it back with enthusiasm. There aren’t actually any buffalo excretions in this drink, which is nice, but that doesn’t mean it won’t make you gag — can you imagine drinking a viscous dairy product when you already feel like you want to blow chunks? In the words of Ron Burgundy, "Milk was a bad choice."
5. Haiti: Voodoo
If all else fails, remember that you always have the power of the occult on your side. Rather than punishing themselves by consuming disgusting remedies like the rest of these suckers, the people of Haiti (well, those who practice voodoo anyway) follow a different path and punish the alcohol instead. Inserting 13 pins into the cork of the bottle that blacked you out is said to remove the hangover from your body — I’m not sure how this trick works on a glass beer bottle, but I’m always down for experimenting with Caribbean mysticism.
Do you have a preferred hangover cure for when you’ve hit the bottle a little too hard? Have you tried one of these or other global hangover cures with any success? Let us know in the comments and we promise we won’t send you to rehab.
— Danya Henninger, The Drink Nation
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