You may not recognize the name, Salvatore Calabrese, but you may well have sampled one of his cocktail ideas. The author of 10 best-selling books — including the famed Complete Home Bartender’s Guide — Salvatore has returned with a rework of his 2005 How to Cure a Hangover. The subtitle of that book was Hair of the Dog. Here, the title itself is Hair of the Dog.
About that title. In medieval times, if a dog bit you, the local medicine would clean and bind your wound and include a hair of the dog that attacked you. That may be the reason so many people think that the way to cure a hangover is to drink the next morning. Maybe what you had the night before. Maybe that famous Bloody Mary.
Hair of the Dog has three parts:
- The mythology and science of hangovers
- Alcoholic cures
- Non-alcoholic cures
About that “cure” word. Salvatore goes through the chemistry of hangovers but notes that there is no accepted single theory of what a hangover actually is or how to cure it.
We do know that alcohol has multiple effects on us. The primary one is that it dehydrates us, so a way to cure a hangover, in fact, a way to avoid getting tipsy, is to drink water. Lots of water. During your evening of drinking, alternate alcohol with water. Heck, sparkling water can be a fun tool.
How alcohol affects people varies greatly. Some of us can drink massively. Drink anything. Others are affected by a glass of anything. And many of us have selective systems. I can down tequila by the glass, but a couple of bourbons has my vision blurring.
It is true that you can mitigate the impact of your drinking by selecting a certain range of boozy components. Besides the alcohol, there are components called congeners that can make a hangover worse. So, go for booze with the least congeners. That means vodka, then gin, then white rum, then brandy, then … The darker the booze the more congeners it has the greater the impact.
The battery of alcoholic cures Salvatore suggests includes, yes, the Bloody Mary. It’s the tomato juice, the celery, … And, it is made with vodka, the booze with the least congeners. I like the Baltimore Egg Nog, a mix of bandy, Madeira, dark rum, simple syrup, an egg, heavy cream, and milk. Hell, I’d get drunk just to try it.
And on the totally healthy, non-alcoholic side you will find Dale Degroff’s Macho Gazpacho:
- Red onions
- Green bell peppers
Okay, that’s it. I’m done. I’ve only had a hangover twice in my life. But I’m going to a wedding this weekend and I’m going to drink my ass off. I just have to get Room Service to put a blender and these ingredients in my room.
It’s a very good hotel. And this is a very good book. All of Salvatore’s books are good but you can start with this one!