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Saturday, April 12, 2008

From: Science To: Drunk of the Week

posted by on April 12 at 1:58 AM

Dear Kello O,

At this very moment, I am drunk off my ass—having consumed six shots of hard liquor plus a bottle of beer tonight. This is approximately six more shots than I ever have.

The perils of having a girlfriend who likes to go out dancing.

To combat a hangover tomorrow, in a vain attempt to be productive or at least conscious on what should be the very first really nice day of the year, I’m currently slugging down a pint (a half quart, a little less than half a liter) of my concoction. Specifically? 1 pint of water. 4 tsp of sugar. 1/2 tsp salt. A splash of lemon juice. It tastes salty—like the tears of the Irish starving from potato blight. I assembled this elixir while thoroughly smashed; for all I know it contains arsenic rather than salt.

Tomorrow, I will report back on my hangover status—none, slight, moderate, regrettable, unfortunate, epic, near death, death would be preferable.

I already regret this post.

Update! At 9:53am:

I awaken. No headache! Stomach fine. Ok, I do have a raspy voice—but that’s about it! Hangover status: None to slight!

I actually managed to drink a full liter of my homebrew pediolyte (double what I posted above), plus a half liter of water before going to bed. And as the comments note, duh, it’s all about keeping hydrated. Water alone won’t cut it. I needed electrolytes. Like Brawndo gots!

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I think it's supposed to be a raw egg with Tobasco sauce the day you wake up with the hangover. If you have the foresight to get stave off a hangover before passing out, the normal method is just drinking lots of water and hoping you are able to wake up to go to the bathroom.

Posted by Chris in Tampa | April 12, 2008 3:40 AM

You are an inspiration to us all, Jonathan!

Posted by Patrick | April 12, 2008 4:43 AM

Six shots is pretty toasted. I'm good for more than that, but I've got many years of experience under my belt. My hangover cure: aspirin or ibuprofen (NOT acetominophen - it can cause liver damage in combination with alcohol) and Gatorade or your other preferred sports drink (to replace those electrolytes you burned to a crisp). Greasy food seems to help too, for some unknown reason.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | April 12, 2008 4:54 AM

1, i always wondered if that recipe worked because it MUST provoke one to puke, thus purging all remaining stomach alcohol, and sobering you with the retching, no?

Posted by ellarosa | April 12, 2008 5:11 AM

Greasy food + water before you go to bed = a full glass of water to chug when you wake up thirsty in the middle of the night.

Posted by Julie | April 12, 2008 7:52 AM

if you eat something like Magic Dragon before going drinking, it helps a LOT. In fact, it may even be HARD to GET drunk.

Dicks and Gatorade work wonders the day after. And lots and lots of water. If water bores you, try throwing a little cranberry juice in it for taste. Drinking whatever you drank the night before can help a bit, too. Only if you can stomach it.

But really, no matter what, you're gonna feel like shit. Go rent the first season of project runway to keep yourself occupied and eat crap, drink fluids and tomorrow you should be fine.

Posted by catnextdoor | April 12, 2008 8:19 AM

12 step program and coffee.

Posted by Bob | April 12, 2008 8:20 AM

tears of the starving irish, indeed. i take umbrage.

Posted by adrian | April 12, 2008 8:24 AM

That concotion is basically what pedialyte is. The irish usually drink milk before a night of drinking, the italians a shot of olive oil. it helps to coat the stomach lining.
However, the next day besides water, an apple, some peanut butter and yoghurt are a good combo. And then some bacon!!

Posted by orangekrush | April 12, 2008 8:49 AM

Two tall glasses of water before bed. Duh. All hangovers are caused by dehydration.

Posted by Gomez | April 12, 2008 8:58 AM

I'm dubious as to how drunk you were. No drunk I know can type in complete sentences and paragraphs. You write better drunk than most commenters on Slog do sober. Including me.

Oh, and I'm with Gomez. Hangovers are mostly caused by dehydration. Water is the simple cure. Everything else is just fluf.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | April 12, 2008 9:18 AM

b-vitamins. drink something packed with b-vitamins. my roommate--who parties about as stupidly as you're supposed to college--swears by 'em. drink some water, an Odwalla, and it'll all be okay.

Posted by Harker | April 12, 2008 9:32 AM

@12: Sounds like vitamin water would probably be a good idea--Costco has cases of it for practically nothing. And as Gomez and others have pointed out, water is the most obvious remedy for dehydration.

I never thought about greasy food, although I stopped at the KFC across from Cal Anderson Park on my way home from Thursday's Slog party and was perfectly fine the next morning.

Posted by RainMan | April 12, 2008 9:56 AM

Golob, you're supposed to be the doctor around here - why don't you tell us why greasy food helps with hangovers? Amino acids? Proteins?

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | April 12, 2008 10:04 AM

two words: ZIP FIZZ

Posted by ac lewis | April 12, 2008 10:10 AM

Greasy food works because it's greasy. Oil coats the stomach. Besides that, water and sugar in huge quantities, about twice what you feel like having.

And shame. Shame is essential. The metaphysical hangover is worse than the physical one.

Posted by Fnarf | April 12, 2008 10:15 AM

I always slug down as much water as is humanly possible before going to sleep (fortunately I've never been so wasted that I pissed myself during the night). In the morning, chug a can of Dr. Pepper, drink more water, and eat some scrambled eggs with chorizo. I know that's complicated, but it works!

Posted by Hernandez | April 12, 2008 10:30 AM

And shame. Shame is essential. The metaphysical hangover is worse than the physical one.


Posted by Non | April 12, 2008 10:50 AM


Posted by joykiller | April 12, 2008 11:43 AM


Yes, hangovers are dehydration. But if you drink straight water you'll throw off the osmolarity of your blood and equilibrium potential of your neurons. Don't question Jonathan Dr. ToBe's methodology, he knows what he's talking about.

Personally, double shot-gunning a couple advil in the morning before hangover sets in has yet to fail me. My hang overs start non-existent and then manifest into something horrible as the day progresses. Taking Advil has left me never regretting the night.

Posted by DW | April 12, 2008 12:18 PM

you musta been drunk, "Kello O?"

I say we field test this, including the greasy food factor, in a scientific edition of Drunk of the Week, next issue.

I need answers. I need PROOF.

Posted by KELLY O | April 12, 2008 12:30 PM

And while Science researches the greasy food question, perhaps he could look into why cheap booze causes a worse hangover than good booze. Is dehydration not the only factor in hangovers or does cheap liquor somehow cause worse dehydration?

Posted by keshmeshi | April 12, 2008 2:05 PM

@22, congeners. Same reason dark liquor causes worse hangovers than clear liquor, all other things being equal.

Posted by joykiller | April 12, 2008 2:18 PM

Kello O = Hello + Kelly O

Just be glad he didn't say

Kellet's Fucko


Kellove You So Much It Hurtso.

Posted by six shooter | April 12, 2008 2:19 PM

When I wake up with a hangover I've been taking a capsule of the amino acid l-cysteine, and it always makes the symptoms subside quickly--usually within about a half hour. I tried it after reading (on sites like Wikipedia and, admittedly, so who knows how reliable this info is) that l-cysteine counteracts the toxic effects of acetaldehyde, a byproduct of alcohol metabolism thought to be responsible for most of the harmful effects of drinking. I'm curious to know if this is actually a valid cure, or if my experience is just a nice placebo effect. Any thoughts, Dear Science (or other biochemist-type ladies/gents out there)?

Posted by Anne | April 12, 2008 2:21 PM

My old standby is "half-and-half": get a 32oz bottle of Gatorade (or something similar), pour 16 oz of it into an empty 32oz bottle of Gatorade, top up both with water.

Drink as much as you can before bed.

In the morning, dump unused portions and rinse out a bottle to keep for tonight/next weekend/etc.

Posted by brent | April 12, 2008 4:02 PM

Water and naproxen here.:wave: Works well. If you have the NSAID on-board before the pain actually kicks in, it works much better (I'll spare you the chemistry). And yeah, dehydration is the main problem.

I, too, find that a greasy breakfast settles the stomach the next morning. I don't know what that's about.

Posted by violet_dagrinder | April 12, 2008 5:43 PM

Back in My day, two pints of water and two Advils did the trick. (I don't know if Advil is the liver destroying pain reliever or not, but my liver is still hanging in there - albeit by a thread - so whatever it is, it didn't seem to do much harm.)

But stay away from shots: After a horrible experience with alcohol poisoning involving Rumplemintz and the Minneapolis Marriott during my tender years, I learned my lesson. Mostly.

Except for Tequilla shots, which simply don't count.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | April 12, 2008 6:40 PM

i'm still having trouble with why you would want to drink salt water when the issue is dehydration.

my solution is: i leave an hour before bed without drinking anything and drink as much water as i can (3-4 tall glasses) during that time. seems to work.

Posted by sepiolida | April 12, 2008 6:44 PM

@17: I was going to ask Jonathan if he did a mattress moisture check before jumping in the shower. I've been drunk enough to piss myself and no, I'm not proud.

Posted by rob | April 12, 2008 7:34 PM

Pediolyte is god's gift to late night bender prone folks. I keep a six pack in my fridge all the time. The only problem is explaining to my friends why it's there when I don't have kids... hrmm....

Posted by Joh | April 12, 2008 10:02 PM


Ethanol solvates potassium much more than sodium, so it not only depletes electrolytes, it screws up the balance. Eating potassium rich foods (or drinks) helps the night of and the morning after. Orange juice and V8 are good drinks (bloody mary anyone?). Hydration always helps, especially the night of.

Posted by dave | April 12, 2008 10:46 PM

"This is approximately six more shots than I ever have."

Have you ever been hungover before? I for one did not start to get hangovers until many many instances of heavy drinking.

Posted by w7ngman | April 13, 2008 12:46 PM

@33-agreed. but i also hear that drinking only top shelf liquor shots (no mixed drinks) means no hang over in the morning, but it should be good quality. I've never employed this strategy due to lack of top shelf funds.

Posted by jerry falls well | April 14, 2008 1:04 PM

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