It's OK, we've all been there. Last year, I mistook a fat pint-glass sized caipirinha for a mixed drink. (Technically it is, but technically the only ingredients are rum and sugar) So this year, I and millions of other Americans with headache-PTSD are taking special measures to protect myself from that deadliest of New Year's inflictions: the hangover.
It's a shame that most drinkers don't take the necessary precautions to avoid hangovers, because there's one really, really easy to use and deploy method:
1. Water. I cannot stress this enough: Drinking water while you're drinking is the best way to avoid a hangover, period. Alcohol is dehydrating, and the hangover's method of action is partially caused by drying out your brain. Daniel Hall-Flavin of the Mayo clinic recommends you drink 16-20 ounces of water after a night of drinking.
Failing that, the medical industry might have you covered the next day.
2. Aspirin or ibuprofen. These chemicals will help relieve, but not eliminate, your headache. Do not take acetaminophen. It is processed by your liver – which just took a big hit, dummy. So lay off the Tylenol.
3. Coffee. Science has confirmed that this, combined with the above method, is actually effective.
4. RU-21, the mythical anti-hangover pill. Take one with every drink and, at least in theory, your hangover will melt away. Does it work? Eh. The more important question is probably whether or not you believe it will work.
OK, but those are all either preemptory measures, or just shave a little off the top of your morning hell-ache. Want something a little more powerful? Something a little riskier? Maybe after surviving the end of the world and yet another year on our hellish Earth, you've acquired a taste for living dangerously.
Here's the worst hangover cures we could scrounge from the internet. Avoid at all costs, or for only the most generous of bets.
1. Drinking pickle juice. This popular Polish remedy for a hangover relies on its high concentration of electrolytes – namely high sodium content – to replenish and recharge the body. An informal poll on FanIQ rated this particular cure at 29 percent “I wouldn't try it. You're gross.” (I probably would. It's just some pickle juice. List gets worse after this point.)
2. Haejangguk. Cultural divides notwithstanding, I'm not sure that beef broth soup made with pork spine, coagulated ox blood, cabbage and vegetables is the key to a headache-free 1st.
3. Prairie Oysters. Supposedly originating from England, this one was always a favorite of all the chest-thumpers on campus, and it's not hard to see why. One raw egg, a tablespoon of Worchestershire sauce, salt, pepper, and a two dashes of Tabasco. Experts say it does nothing, except maybe make you sick. As Esquire notes, this one was pretty popular until the drinking public chose to forget about it.
4. Licking sweat. Okay, I'm not sure whether the Chicago Tribune verified this one, but they do claim that “one Native American hangover remedy involved exercising, licking up the sweat and spitting it out.” Yikes. Uh, whose sweat?
5. Bacon fat. No, not bacon, not bacon grease added to food – just pure bacon fat. It's unclear what this would be supposed to do, other than induce vomiting.
6. Tripe soup. In Mexico, it's known as menudo and served with a side of tortillas or bread. In Turkey or Greece, the soup has either “a garlic-vinegar tang or a creamy yellow egg yolk and lemon broth,” both of which sound eye-popping, neither of which sound stomach-settling.
7. Deep-fried canary. While this probably violates the health code today, ancient Romans had no such compunctions. According to Forbes, decapitated canaries fried whole with the skin detached was a popular morning-after treat. Pliny the Elder reportedly also would drink two raw owl's eggs. Edgy.
8. Bull's penis. Sicilian men apparently once believed dried bull penis was a quick way to beat any hangover. Yet another cure on this list that really appears to have had no thought put into the development of its causal mechanism.
9. Rabbit dung tea. Though apparently practiced by (drunk from the night before?) cowboys, tea made from rabbit poop consists of just 2.5 percent nitrogren, 1.4 percent phosphoric acid, and .0.6 percent potassium, plus a heaping 95 percent plus dosage of, let's reiterate, poop.
10. More booze. This is just going to make your hangover twice as bad at the end of the day. This is also not going to stop you from doing it. Enjoy your bad decisions!