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BW Businessworld

Tips For The Tipsy

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As the New Year approaches, there is one question on most lips "Where's the party tonight?" No doubt you too have figured that out and are now all set to rock the night away. But as any regular party-goer knows, every great night out has its consequences.

Yes, we are talking about the morning after. Headaches, nausea, chapped lips, parched throat and that terrible feeling when all you want to do is curl up and die. In short: the hangover. The party doesn't seem all that great then, does it?

But there's no reason the morning after necessarily has to be a death wish. You can have your drink and drink it too, provided you take some precautions. Here's what you need to do:

Drink smart: Purists say the best way to avoid a hangover is to stay away from drinks. But we all know that doesn't work. After all, what's a party with dead sober people around? The trick, then, is to drink smart. Know your threshold. While some can drink like a fish, for others, a couple of pegs is all they can handle. If you are done in a couple of drinks but want the party to continue till the wee hours of the morning, alternate alcoholic drinks with the non-alcoholic ones. Not only do you nurse a glass the whole night, but also enjoy the buzz without going overboard.

Plus, non-alcoholic drinks keep you hydrated. Orange or cranberry juices are great options but there's nothing to beat that all-essential liquid — water. The more you drink, the better you will be.

Know your poison: You may be able to guzzle down pitchers of beer but a couple of glasses of rum may get to you. Select your drink of choice and stick to it. Avoid mixing drinks. Moreover, stick to one drink (or less) per hour, and sip it slowly. One hour is about the time it takes for the average adult body to process an alcoholic beverage. So what's one drink? Ideally, it is a glass of wine, a pint of beer or a large peg of hard liquor.

Food for draught: The three essentials of a great party are food, company and alcohol. But most people concentrate on the last two and forget the most important one — food. Drinking on an empty stomach is a recipe for disaster. Eat all those fatty snacks your host is serving to help prevent a hangover. Greasy food coats the lining of your stomach ensuring your body absorbs less alcohol. But while the tikkas and the fried fish is a good idea, stay away from the cake and the pastries. Sweets and alcohol just don't mix, as alcohol raises the sugar levels in the body and additional sweets simply give you a sugar-high.

VITAMIN POWER: Orange juice can replace the potassium lost during drinking; BULL'S EYE: Cysteine in eggs can break down the toxins causing hangover; BOTTOMS UP: Water is a drink that you should have in excess, hot or cold

Water hole: Reach out for that bottle of water and guzzle it. Drink as much as you can. Ideally you should drink as many glasses of water as you did of alcohol. It helps flush out the toxins and alcohol from the system and hydrates you.

Fruit punch: A glass of orange juice keeps the hangover away. Your body needs Vitamin C. Orange juice and lemonade are good sources of that. While freshly squeezed juice is ideal, you are unlikely to be in any position to make it yourself and unless you have a particularly caring caretaker, asking for it can lead to war. Our suggestion: open a tetrapack.


Ideally, if you follow the above suggestions you should wake up just fine the next morning (or should we say noon). But supposing you don't and a hangover is making your life miserable, try the following to snap back.

Coffee filter: While some swear by coffee (especially black coffee) as the ultimate hangover cure, others claim caffeine further dehydrates the body and hence should be avoided. But if you do have a caffeine fix, stick to just one cup. Ginger or mint tea on the other hand, is wonderful when dealing with a hangover. The classic toddy (non-alcoholic, of course) with honey and lemon is also a tried and tested hangover cure. And if you are having difficulty being vertical for 10 minutes to prepare any of these, just drink gingerale from a bottle.

RED END: A Bloody Mary cocktail can kill the effect of a shot of whiskey; ROOT OUT: A hot ginger tea is an ancient Chinese remedy; PEEL OFF: Bananas replenish the potassium lost to alcohol's diuretic effect

Like cures like:
The hangover is killing you but you still want to party? Well, go ahead. Drink some more. Have a Bloody Mary. The salt and tomato juice will perk you up. Another spicy morning after drink option is Hair of the Dog, the gin and hot sauce are sure to bite your hangover back.

MEXICO: Most Mexicans swear by Menudo, a soup made with tripe (the lining of a cow's stomach) and usually spiced with garlic, onion, chillies, cumin and oregano.

POLAND: Drink pickle juice.

IRELAND: Bury the ailing person up to the neck in moist river sand.

JAPAN: Eat dried sour plums in the morning.

RUSSIA: After a night of partying, head straight for the banya, or the sauna, for a quick session, followed by a flailing with birch leaves.

MONGOLIA: Pickled sheep eyeballs in tomato juice is the traditional treatment HAITI: Voodoo people recommend sticking 13 black pins in the cork of the offending bottle.

PUERTO RICO: Rub a slice of lemon or lime in the armpit of people to stop a hangover even before they start boozing

Last bite:
When your head is splitting and you feel like depositing most of last night's dinner in the sink, eating may not be a priority. But that's where you are wrong. Grab a banana. The fructose (a carbohydrate that helps the body regain its lost energy) and potassium in it will work wonders on your system. Eggs and toast are recommended even in ayurveda as an appropriate morning after breakfast. Eggs help remove the toxins even as they provide proteins while the bread provides the requisite amount of starch.  

Splitting head: Most of us wake up with a splitting headache the day after the party. While our first instinct may be to reach for that bottle of asprin, beware. Asprin is a blood thinner just like alcohol and can intensify its effects. You are better off putting an ice compress or a wet washcloth on your aching head.

Rest and recovery: New Year's eve is falling on a Saturday this year. So party the night away and just sleep off the hangover over the next 24 hours.

Party hard and be safe. Happy New Year.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 09-01-2012)