Though experts agree on the biological effects of alcohol on the body — throbbing headaches, nausea, excessive fatigue, dehydration — how you medicate yourself depends on where you are in the world.
In some countries, it's all about pickled foods; in others, eggs are the rage; and in others, the hangover remedy of choice relies on consuming...more alcohol.
With this handy guide to global hangover cures, you can recuperate from too many cocktails like the locals do, no matter where you are in the world — because regretting that fifth shot is a universal experience.
Hair of the Dog — Various Countries
Hair of the dog is actually an abbreviation of the phrase “hair of the dog that bit you.” Centuries ago, it was believed that if you were bit by a rabid dog (or, if you were in Costa Rica, a pig), you could protect yourself from the bite by applying a few hairs of that very dog to your open wound.
An Italian spice trader invented Frenet in 1845 with this in mind, adding soothing ingredients — and opiates — to the spirit and marketing it as a hangover cure. Today, many cultures abide by the theory that the best way to cure a booze hangover is with additional booze.
In Mexico, micheladas combine lime juice, sauces, spices and peppers with beer, served in a salt-rimmed glass. Russians treat vodka hangovers with kvas, a mildly alcoholic beverage made from rye bread soaked in sugar and yeast. And after one too many drinks, Namibians consume “buffalo milk,” an inaccurately named concoction of dark rum, spiced rum, cream liquer and whole cream.
Prairie Oyster Cocktail — United States
This morning-after shot can be made in many different ways, but typically includes egg yolk, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper, slurped up in one unpleasant gulp.
The drink, which combines the benefits of egg, spiciness and acidity, has been popular in New England since the 19th century, and is still a regional favorite...though it's enjoyed in other parts of the world as well.
Recognize this drink? That may because it was the hangover cure of choice for James Bond in “Thunderball” and Sally Bowles in “Cabaret.”
Lemon in the Armpit — Puerto Rico
Puerto Ricans have long believed that rubbing a slice of lemon in the armpit of your drinking arm will prevent the dehydration associated with a hangover. (Lime works, too.) The trick is to do this before going out for a night on the town.
Looking for a cure after you’ve imbibed too much in Puerto Rico? Try asopao — chicken, chickpea or shrimp stew spiced with ingredients like onion, green pepper, chili peppers, garlic, paprika and oregano, and cooked with rice.
Pickled Foods — Various Countries
When it comes to curing nasty hangovers, pickled foods are doubly beneficial. Because they're loaded with sodium, they can help replenish electrolytes. And some of them, including sauerkraut, are fermented — which means more probiotics to aid in digestion and alcohol metabolization. No wonder, then, that so many countries put their own spin on morning-after pickled goods.
The Swedes believe in the healing power of pickle vinegar along with surströmming, stinky pickled herring eaten right out of the can.
Germans take things to the next level by wrapping pickled herring around a pickled cucumber and raw onion, a dish called katerfrühstück.
In Russia, drinking pickle (or sauerkraut) brine is popular; there's even a canned and carbonated version of it called Rassol.
And in Japan, the tiny, tart umeboshi pickled plum has been used as a hangover cure since the time of the samurai.
Poutine Fries — Canada
Canada was built on bottles of rye whiskey; at the time of the country’s confederation in 1867, the top five taxpayers were whiskey producers. Today, Canadians continue to suffer dearly for their love of whiskey, especially since dark alcohols have higher levels of toxic congeners in them. So it makes sense that the country has a go-to hangover cure: deliciously unhealthy poutine fries.
Covered in beef gravy and melted cheese curds, these fries provide the perfect curative mix of fat, protein and carbohydrates. This comfort food has Canadians lining up around the block...even when they're not recuperating from whiskey overload.
Full Breakfast — United Kingdom and Ireland
The United Kingdom’s fatty hangover dish of choice is a greasy fry-up known as the full English. Like the name implies, this breakfast has it all: fried bread and eggs, sausage, beans, grilled tomato and mushrooms, and sometimes black pudding, kidneys and kippers.
One study found that 38 percent of Brits who ate a fry-up the morning after drinking recovered within three hours...compared to 19 percent who recuperated in the same time frame by popping painkillers.
Ireland, too, is fond of this decadent meal. Its version, called the "full Irish breakfast," often includes hash browns, liver and brown soda bread.
Ostrich and Duck Eggs — South Africa and the Philippines
If you want to drink someone under the table, eggs are your go-to accoutrement. Eggs are rich in cysteine, which helps to detoxify the liver, and high in cholesterol, your liver’s gasoline.
South Africans circumvent the added effort of cracking all of those chicken eggs by using a single giant ostrich egg to make a mean morning-after omelet with butter, salt, pepper and parsley.
Hungover in the Philippines? Try a poached balut egg. Boil the fertilized duck egg, season with chili, garlic and vinegar, close your eyes, and crunch. Save the broth for sipping.
Leche de Tigre — Peru
Peru’s national spirit, a grape brandy called pisco, is used in excellent cocktails like the wildly popular pisco sour. Unfortunately, consuming this brandy in copious amounts can lead to a treacherous headache the next day.
The cure? Leche de tigre, aka "tiger's milk," so named because of its milky color and energizing qualities.
This Peruvian classic is made by taking marinade left over from curing ceviche and seasoning it with lime juice, sliced onion, chiles, salt and pepper. The liquid is served in a shot glass and often garnished with fresh seafood.
The combination of spiciness and acidity is just what the doctor ordered.
Soup — Various Countries
Soup is the perfect vehicle to deliver much-needed nutrients to a nauseous stomach. The salty broth bolsters you against dehydration, protein helps to detoxify your liver, and herbs and vegetables reduce inflammation while supplying you with essential vitamins and minerals. Plus, a piping-hot bowl of soup is comforting to eat.
Hungover South Koreans have been fond of haejang-guk, aka "hangover soup," since the 1300s. This cabbage soup is made with oxtail and coagulated blood, and is high in B vitamins to bolster your brain and central nervous system.
Tripe soup — made by slow-cooking the stomach lining of a cow, sheep, pig or lamb, then adding regional flavors — is a popular hangover cure in countries including Mexico (menudo), Turkey (iskembe corbasi), Scotland (cream of haggis soup), Poland (flaki) and Greece (patsas). (Why stomache? The meat is rich in selenium, zinc and vitamin B-12 to help combat cell damage, support your immune system and process toxins.)
And French onion soup— which, yes, is just called onion soup in France — has been delivering melty cheesy goodness as a hangover cure since the time of King Philippe-August in the 12th century.
Bull Penis — Italy and Bolivia
When Sicilians over-imbide, they head straight for the pizzle — dried bull penis. This animal part, which is also used to make "bully stick" dog chews, is full of vitamins, proteins and minerals, all of the things your body is craving after a night on the town.
In Bolivia, they eat their bull penis in a soup. Caldo de cadran is simmered for hours before adding rice, potatoes and additional cuts of meat. It is believed to cure hangovers, back pain and lack of desire. (Did we mention the appendages are served whole?)
Irn-Bru Soda — Scotland
This orange soda, which tastes a little like tic tacs, is the preferred morning-after drink of Scots, who rely on its caffeine kick to overcome their pain.
While whiskey is (obviously) Scotland's #1 drink of choice, Irn-Bru is so popular, it's often called "Scotland's other national drink."
Rice Porridge — China
In China, a hangover is treated just like any other illness, with a rice porridge known as congee. The rice is boiled until it breaks down, and the mixture is seasoned and topped with ingredients like eggs, pickles, shredded lotus root or ginkgo nuts for improved cognitive function.
Bonus: The porridge makes you feel full and hydrated.