People will try just about anything to get rid of a hangover. That’s why we’ve tested and ranked different supposed cures, mapped out America’s favorite hangover foods, and even consulted doctors on their go-to remedies. But as history tells us, right or wrong, sometimes the only thing that can really help is another drink.
The ritual of following up a night of debauchery with some more booze goes back centuries. The phrase “hair of the dog” — shortened from the old adage “the hair of the dog that bit you” — referred to the superstition that consuming the hair of a dog could help heal a wound inflicted by a rabid dog’s bite. The saying eventually took on a new meaning, and according to Ruth Clifford Eng’s book “Bizarre Medicine,” it was first recorded as a reference to an alcoholic drink in 1546.
Fast-forward a couple hundred years, and several beverages have been specifically designated as particularly helpful aids for beating a brutal hangover. The cocktails run the gamut from spicy to boozy to simple, but they all seek to solve the same problem, and get you back on your feet for the day — or even another night out.
Here are eight of the best hair of the dog cocktails.
Corpse Reviver No. 2
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the term “corpse reviver” was slang for a hangover cure, so this drink was presumably created with a purpose in mind. A riff on the original Corpse Reviver, the Corpse Reviver No. 2 appeared in Harry Craddock’s 1930 “Savoy Cocktail Book.” And unlike most of the 700-plus recipes in the book, this combination of gin, triple sec, lemon, and Lillet Blanc in an absinthe-rinsed glass has really stood the test of time. We can see how the combination of bright citrus aromatics and booze-forward build could get you going the morning after a rough night out, and though one of these drinks will surely provide the slap in the face to bring you back to life, it’s important to show some restraint in consumption. As Craddock notes in his book, “four of these taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again.”
The Alaska is another cocktail that uses the power of fresh aromatics to awaken the senses. The recipe calls for gin, Yellow Chartreuse, orange bitters, and an orange twist, so there’s no doubt the concentrated citrus characteristics will perk you up even during the groggiest of days.
From a nutritional standpoint, the Bloody Mary might actually provide the most vitamins and electrolytes out of any of these cocktails, so it makes sense that those suffering from a doozy of a hangover would gravitate toward it. Beyond a healthy dose of vitamin C from tomato juice, the vodka-based cocktail provides a spicy kick from pepper and sometimes horseradish, which can really help put a pep in your step. Plus, depending on how crazy you decide to go with your garnishes, you might get a full meal out of it.
Similar to the Bloody Mary, the Michelada has a hearty base of nutritious tomato juice. The major difference here is that instead of vodka, you’re including a full 12-ounce beer as the drink’s base. Many swear by the powers of an ice-cold beer when it comes to hangovers, making this refreshing yet spicy drink really combines the best of both worlds.
Breakfast Martini Sour
The Breakfast Martini was created for London’s Library Bar in 1996, and was meant to channel a British breakfast into a cocktail — an idea that popped into bartender Salvatore Calabrese’s head while enjoying marmalade on toast one morning. The Breakfast Martini Sour takes the modern classic one step further by adding an egg white. Sounds like a somewhat nutritious breakfast, though we recommend still having the toast, too.
Ramos Gin Fizz
Though you yourself probably wouldn’t want to be making this extremely strenuous cocktail — which requires at least 10 minutes of shaking — while hung over, it sure feels nice to drink one. So find someone else to sacrifice their time and flex their arm muscles so you can delight in the frothy mixture of gin, citrus, egg white, cream, and fizzy club soda.
This easy-drinking highball was crafted to ease the pain of, as the absurd name implies, someone suffering from an extreme hangover. The cocktail includes a large serving of ginger ale, which is often used to help ease stomach pain and nausea on its own — so why not add some bourbon and gin, too?
Death in the Afternoon
Sometimes, waking up with a terrible hangover does, in fact, feel like dying. Apparently, Ernest Hemingway thought this combination of absinthe and Champagne was the best way to combat that feeling. While there doesn’t seem to be much reason behind the remedy, who are we to argue with a famous drinker who definitely had his fair share of painful mornings?
- 1.5 ounces absinthe
- 4.5 ounces Champagne
- Pour absinthe into a coupe.
- Top with Champagne.