No one likes waking up with a throbbing head, dry mouth and who knows what next to you in bed. But how do different nations ditch the hangover? Katya Edwards investigate…
Berocca? Hair of the dog? A green smoothie? Hangovers – we’ve all been there. But for as many people telling us what causes our hangovers (maybe five martinis were a few too many), there are double the amount telling us how to cure them. Russians, unsurprisingly, have hundreds of hangover cures whereas the French suggest one thing – bed rest.
Forget the common cold, find a cure for the pounding headache and swirling stomach and you will probably find yourself winning a Nobel Prize. Everyone has their own way to get through last night’s bad decisions.
We stretch our nets further afield to see how hangovers are tackled around the world and where we can find those remedies in the capital.
The World’s Best Hangover Cures
1. The USA: The Prairie Oyster
The American Hangover cure The Prairie Oyster is a cocktail with a raw egg, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, lots of salt and pepper and sometimes vodka. The key is to keep the yolk unbroken- it then resembles an oyster- and drink it in one go. Although this remedy seems more stomach turning than calming, people swear by it and it is also touted as a cure for hiccups.
Although not strictly the traditional Prairie Oyster – 69 Colebrooke Row in Islington (or The Bar with No Name) serves a take on the Prairie Oyster that is more of a deconstructed Bloody Mary; by re-clarifying tomato juice in a 4.5k rpm centrifuge, setting it in alginate to form a ‘yolk’, and floating it in horseradish and spice mix served in a ceramic oyster shell, they have created a cocktail that is a little easier to stomach than the original.
2. Canada: Poutine
Poutine is the basically chips and gravy, and translates from French-Canadian roughly to ‘pudding’. In actual fact, it is the delicious, if heart attack inducing, combination of fries, cheese curd (with a texture and taste somewhere in between halloumi and mozzarella) and rich Canadian brown gravy.
Poutine has had a trendy London makeover as of late by joining gourmet burgers and pulled pork as a stylish city staple. There are plenty of places to enjoy this treat, but we recommend The Poutinerie on Brick Lane. Bon appetite.
3. Mongolia: Vodka
The original hangover cure ‘hair of the dog’ is the only way to do it in Mongolia. The Mongolians keep their cures simple by drinking straight vodka when they wake up to stave off the awful feeling.
Although not Mongolian, Baltic Bar in Blackfriars Road serves 60 different types of vodka, so even the most adverse to the spirit will find something that they will enjoy.
4. Japan: Raman
Ramen is nothing new, with chains like Wagamama serving bowls and bowls of the stuff. However, the Japanese have long eaten ramen to cure the ailments that come after a long night of partying. It is the lack of water and loss of minerals that are replaced by a big bowl of vegetable, soup, and noodles and is a sure fire way to make you feel at least a little bit better than before.
It’s hard to walk down the road without finding a restaurant that serves ramen because of the recent explosion of pan-Asian cuisine, but not all of it is top notch. Our favourite ramen is authentic and delicious and can be found at Kanada Ya in Fitzrovia.
5. Peru: Ceviche
The citrus marinade used is ceviche (Peru’s national dish of raw fish) is supposed to cure every aspect of the hangover. Ceviche dishes themselves are delicious but Peruvians often drink the leftover marinade, known as tiger’s milk, after finishing the dish itself.
It’s hard to come by the lemony liquid on its own, but Ceviche dishes are served all over London. Where better to find it than at the aptly named Ceviche in Soho which will answer anyone’s raw fish and citrus needs in the most delicious way possible.
6. China: Green Tea
This isn’t the first and it certainly won’t be the last time you hear of the benefits of green tea. Not only does it (supposedly) speed up our metabolism and clear our skin but now we’re told it can cure a hangover. Green tea is packed with antioxidants, is hydrating and has a bit of caffeine to nudge you in the right direction when feeling like you have been hit over the head with a hammer.
Green tea is available all over London and everyone has their favourite flavour and preference but Drink Shop Do on Calendonia Road in Islington really stands out. The café itself boasts an impressive 27 different tea blends, with seven types of green tea alone so head here for the freshest of hangover relief.
7. France: Cassoulet
Haricot beans, sausage and typically goose casserole is hearty and filling and certainly plugs the gaping hole in the stomach a hangover leaves. The dish originated in the southwest of France (Castelnaudary to be exact) and is eaten after a long night drinking wine in the Mediterranean sun.
The chaps behind The Wolseley (which has perfected Anglo-French Cuisine) have a deliciously rich cassoulet at their Chelsea restaurant, Colbert, which will have you reaching for the red wine bottle before you can say, ‘what hangover?’.
8. Argentina: Fernet
Although originally Italian, Fernet is incredibly popular in Argentina. Fernet is not strictly a hangover cure but rather is widely believed to help you avoid one in the first place by choosing it as your tipple of choice. Made from lots of different of herbs and spices which vary according to the brand, but usually include myrrh, rhubarb, chamomile, cardamom, aloe, and especially saffron and at the base distilled grapes spirits, it is, to put it nicely, an acquired taste, but hey if it doesn’t give you hangover, who cares?
Fernet is becoming more and more popular in the UK and is cropping up on bar shelves around London but The Gilbert Scott at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel features it in a few of their cocktails, including The Ambassador’s Reserve which is delicious.
9. Italy: Espresso
As always the Italians like to keep it simple and their hangover cure is no different – a delicious and well-made espresso. Although coffee as a hangover cure divides opinion as it is a diuretic and doesn’t help hugely with the shakes that so often accompany a hangover.
The best espresso in London is a quest that cannot be solved. There are hundreds of coffee shops all over the place that make terrific coffee but we recommend Monmouth coffee, which has branches in Borough Market and Covent Garden and is rich, delicious and always has a huge queue of customers grappling to grab a coffee. For more options, see our guide to the best coffee shops in London.
10. The UK: The Great British Fry Up
You can never underestimate the power of a greasy fry-up. The grease lines the stomach, the fried bread soaks up the booze and the eggs add protein, which is much needed. Let’s be honest – as if we really needed an excuse for bacon…
People haven’t stopped talking about E Pellicci in recent years. This Grade II listed greasy spoon on Bethnal Green Road is well known for its atmosphere and perfect fry up. Opened in 1900 it has become something of a landmark in the East End and attracts visitors from all over the world, just to have the perfect hangover cure. It’s almost worth feeling rough when it means you can eat food this delicious.
Originally featured May 2015.