The Morning After
These 3 elixirs promise to prevent or fix your hangover. We put them to the test.
By Lynda Wheatley | March 10, 2018
There’s only one surefire way to avoid a St. Patrick’s Day hangover: Stay home, swallow some corned beef and cabbage, then go to bed. But if you’re like most American revelers who head out on March 17, you’ll likely find that a pint of Guinness often leads to two or three. Fact is, despite the best of intentions, hangovers happen.
That said, we armed you last New Year’s Eve with hangover cures that came courtesy of the area’s bartenders. In honor of St. Pat’s, we’re going one better. Here, we give you a trio of Express-tested hangover cures — all of which you can order in advance from Amazon and have delivered in time for the big green day.
drinkwel (not to be confused with Drinkwell, the drinking fountains for pets) claims to be the world's first daily multivitamin created specifically “for healthy people who drink alcohol.” We gave three capsules to our vegetarian friend, Diana, which she swallowed, as directed, right before she spent a long evening making a series of bad decisions — a heavy mix of house-made margaritas, several vodka martinis, and (at this point we all lost track) a soup of spiced rum, cream, and nutmeg poured over ice cream.
Formulated by an unnamed naturopathic physician and (also unnamed) person with a PhD in biomedical science, drinkwel capsules are stuffed with a hefty combination of vitamins and minerals (the highest doses are of Vitamin C, B12, and thiamine); a proprietary detox blend (N-acetyl-cystine, taurine, and alpha lipoic acid); and a proprietary blend of super fruits and botanicals (reishi mushrooms; artichoke leaf powder; extracts of milk thistle, green tea, and rhodiola rosea; and more). You’re supposed to take three with food and water before you drink, and three, with water, after drinking. For obvious reasons, Diana failed to take the second batch. However, she claims she woke up feeling pretty good, despite a more-than-average amount and combination of spirits. She said she had a slight headache, but noted that she often does in the morning.
Final assessment: “The pills themselves are like taking any herbal supplement in that they smell gross and taste like eating leaves, but even if the pills don’t totally cure a hangover, they’re filled with vitamins and minerals, so they seem like a healthy thing to do anyway.”
LiquidI.V. Hydration Multiplier
Although not technically touted to be a hangover cure, LiquidI.V. popped up in our search for popular hangover helpers. Two collegiate athletes, sick of the high-sugar/chemical components of other sports drinks, partnered with “a group of world-renowned nutrition scientists to create a line of … products based on a breakthrough nutrient-delivery system.” That system, they say, utilizes “cellular transport technology” to infuse your bod with 11 essential vitamins and minerals and more than three times the electrolytes of traditional sports drinks, with less than half the sugar and calories.
Due to the ease of use — pour one packet into 16 ounces of water when you feel like crap — and its projected palatability — we chose lemon-lime flavor — several friends volunteered to try this one. Steve, Diana’s partner, was delivered a 16-ounce glass of LiquidI.V. while he languished in bed following a night of beer and rum. His reaction: “Wow, this tastes really good.” He later credited the hydrating liquid with getting him out of bed and moving. I had a similar experience. My vice was vodka and St. Germain, but because I have a tendency to feel like a steel rod has penetrated my left eye after I drink most any alcohol, I downed my LiquidI.V. packet before bed. And I sprang out like a spring chicken the next morning, minimal headache.
Final assessment: Our final guinea pig, Todd, estimated he drank roughly “a two-liter’s worth of Bell’s Two Hearted” and woke up at 4 a.m. with a mouth that “tasted like the bottom of Ghandi’s sandal.” By 9 a.m., he added a packet of LiquidI.V. to his list of already-imbibed items — water, Excedrin, coffee, and Aleve. By noon, he said he felt like he would live. Although we can’t be certain the water, Excedrin, coffee, Aleve, or cellular transport technology deserves the credit, we feel fairly sure that LiquidI.V. does manage to do something worthwhile.
Activated charcoal might just be the latest all-purpose hipster snake oil. Its adherents and peddlers claim it whitens teeth, unclogs pores, eliminates bloat, and, when swallowed with copious amounts of water, binds to toxins and flushes them out your liver, bloodstream, intestines, and colon, leaving you with more energy, glowing skin, and better overall health. Its user, who asked to remain nameless, can really only testify to the colon flushing: “It wasn’t pretty, but I’m pretty sure it meant it worked.”
Following a night of vodka cocktails and sparkling wine, our user woke with a pounding headache and a nauseas stomach. As directed, she mixed a teaspoon of activated charcoal to 10 ounces of water and tried — but failed — to slam the swill. It should be mentioned that, whether activated charcoal works or not, the act of ingesting gray water when you have a hangover is daunting. And if you finally muster the will, your worst fears are confirmed: This crap tastes like dusty cement. A quick internet search, however, revealed the addition of lemon juice, honey, and a pinch of salt would and did make the drink more palatable. Another liter of plain water later, our subject was completely flushed, of not only her hangover but also, it appeared, a lifetime’s worth of toxins.
Final Assessment: “The powder is so ridiculously fine, it makes a total mess, which is the last thing I want when I’m already hurting. It also looks and tastes so gross that, again, with a hangover, sucks. But I think it actually worked. Or maybe just all the water did. I don’t know, but I’d try it again, but maybe with activated charcoal capsules instead of powder.”