Serious Eats: Drinks

Ask a Bartender: How Do You Prevent a Hangover?

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Kevin Dowell of Foreign Cinema in San Francisco

When drinking is (sort of) part of your job description, recovery from said drinking is a vital skill. So we asked bartenders across the country: How do you prevent (or, barring that, cure) a hangover? Here's their advice; use responsibly.

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Eric Johnson of Sycamore Den in San Diego

"Drink water in between drinks and it will keep you hydrated and slow you down. I have never mastered this. Geez, I wish I would." — Eric Johnson (Sycamore Den)

"Being under the age of thirty. For those of us over thirty, well, time to pay our dues." — Chris Burkett (Cusp Dining & Drinks)

"People often say that drinking a pint of water before you go to bed will prevent a hangover. I agree but have found that if I'm sober enough to remember the pint of water, I generally don't need it. My cure is orange juice, bacon sandwiches, paracetamol (acetaminophen) water, and exercise." —John Cummins (The Dawson Lounge)

"Wake up, pound an entire bottle of water and eat a banana. Walk the dog to the coffee shop (for me that's Trouble in San Francisco's Outer Sunset), order a whole young coconut (top chopped off) and a double shot of espresso. Pour the espresso into the coconut, chug. Return home for a hot shower. Back to life immediately." — Kevin Dowell (Foreign Cinema)

"Stay away from drinking cocktails made with fake syrups and processed sugars. If that doesn't work and you still wake up in the morning with a beast of a headache, take a shot of Fernet and go back to bed." — Jason Eisner (Gracias Madre)

"I say it every time. Spicy Chicken Combo with fries and Dr. Pepper from Wendy's." — Nate Howell (Jsix)

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Kamal Kouiri of Molyvos in NYC

"Even though the thought of a Bloody Mary may appeal to most people, I always go for a virgin version, which is a much better choice for the morning after a long night. It's always worse to have a drink the next day, but this version puts nutrients back into your system. Personally, if I have the time, a gentle workout does the trick." — Kamal Kouiri (Molyvos)

"I jump rope till I want to pass out, then drink a bunch of Tang or Topo Chico." — Bill Anderson (Vie)

"Water and tequila." — Christian Sanders (Evelyn Drinkery)

"For the stomach, I like Coca-Cola with a couple dashes of angostura bitters. For the 'hair of the dog' cures, I suggest drinking low alcohol drinks (beer, mimosa, etc.) with tons of water." — Kiel Schecich (SideDoor)

"If I wake up with a hangover: Banana, toast, coconut water, 3 liquid Advil, and at least an hour nap during the day." — Pamela Wiznitzer (The Dead Rabbit)

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Jay Powell of Coal Fired Bistro in Greenville, SC

"Stay hydrated... And if you do get a hangover, I recommend a really spicy Bloody Mary the next morning." — Jay Powell (Coal Fired Bistro)

"I tend to resort to spicy Chinese food the next day. I'm not sure if it's the heat, the rice, or the grease, but I always turn the corner to being functional afterwards." — Jeff Faile (Iron Gate, Red Apron, Birch & Barley)

"Hangover cure has always been a grilled cheese on rye with a Pepsi in a can. I don't know the magic behind Pepsi in a can, and I'm not usually a soda-drinker, but it's all I want on a rough morning. In terms of prevention, a coconut water and Advil before bed usually helps if one can remember!" — Meaghan Dorman (Raines Law Room)

"There's absolutely no way of avoiding them all together unless you're not going to drink. However, there's scientific proof about the whole hydration-and-greasy-food-the-next-day thing. If I'm hungover, my body immediately craves a sausage, egg and cheese on a roll." — Rene Hidalgo (Lantern's Keep)

"Know when to stop drinking sugary cocktails and switch over to beer and straight spirits. That's how to go the distance!" — Michael Lazar (Hog and Rocks)

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Tyler Voelker of Urban Farmer Steakhouse in Portland

"Bartenders don't get hangovers, but if I did I would probably drink an ice cold Coke from a very frosty bottle." — Tyler Voelker (Urban Farmer Steakhouse)

"A big bowl of Hapa Ramen [in San Francisco] if I can get my hands on it and a ton of water." —— Brian Means (Dirty Habit)

"Absolutely without a doubt: PEDIALYTE!  It's in the baby section of all drug stores and it restores electrolytes. Drink as much as you can before you go to sleep after a night out and sleep well knowing you'll be good to go come morning. (Stick to the orange kind—original flavor and bubblegum flavor can be hard to keep down especially if the walls are already spinning!)" — Holly Hart (A.G. Kitchen)

"Drink one of what you drank last night, the following morning." — Stephen Kastrati (The Fourth and SingL)

"Hangover cure: pho ga and 7-Up, instant healing.  Prevention: passing on the last 'nail in the coffin' cocktail." — Christopher Longoria (1760)

"As unappealing as it may seem when hungover, you gotta get some food in your stomach. A roast beef po' boy will usually do the trick for me. That and a lot of water. And maybe a prayer or two." — Steve Yamada (Bar R'evolution)

"Turmeric is one, in liquid form. Lots of water while drinking, or before bed. No sugar." — Alan Horridge (La Dolce Vita)

"Emergen-C or vitamins before bed.  Pre-workout drink and exercise in the morning." — Andy Nelson (Jackson 20)

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Cricket Nelson of The Broken Shaker in Miami

"If I truly need some 'hair of the dog,' I prefer an Aperol spritz to a Bloody Mary." — Cricket Nelson (The Broken Shaker)

"My prevention method is to avoid certain bars after I get out of work. There are a few that guarantee a hangover (you know who you are). That and stay hydrated—sounds like mom advice, but you'll thank yourself in the morning." — Jesse Cornell (Sbraga)

"There is the prevention method of not drinking too much, keeping well hydrated, and eating; but if that isn't in your mo for the night, keep a container of Nuun in your home for those 'What the hell did I do to myself?' mornings. That, and some really greasy, protein-rich, food stuffs." — Elizabeth Powell (Liberty Bar)

"Tablespoon of honey chased down with a glass of water. I don't know why, it just works." — Brandon Lockman (Red Star Tavern)

"A tall glass of ice cold Victory Prima Pils." — Dan Andruss (312 Chicago)

"One word: michelada. No idea why, but seriously cures what ails me every time. Or so I think." — Sean Still (Mercadito Chicago)

"Sometimes I just take a shot of tequila and then go back to bed; I believe that agave is healing." — Cari Hah (City Tavern)

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