No one wants to ring in the New Year with a splitting headache and yet 'Hangover Cure' tends to be the number one Google search on New Year's Day. If that search term brought you here, sorry…
Hangovers are caused by a variety of chemicals and chemical reactions, but nothing contributes more to the miserable feeling than dehydration. That's why water is so important. If you don't like to mix water and wine — and I don't — then you simply have to gulp down the a pint or two of water after the cabernet is all gone. Full disclosure: The price might be an extra wee-hour pit stop or two, but you're far less likely to hate yourself in the morning.
And you have probably noticed that different kinds of alcohol cause different kinds of hangovers. The nastiest ones usually follow the consumption of highly tannic red wines and ‘dark' liquors, such as bourbon, brandy and some tequilas, because these beverages have more concentrated cogeners, the byproducts of fermenting alcohol. White wine, vodka and gin tend to be kinder, gentler options.
There's no silver bullet cure for the side effects of boozing. But based on what we know about hangovers, scientifically speaking, there are five things you can do to help in advance...
Always drink slowly, which helps ensure moderation
That shouldn't be too hard: Wine is meant to be contemplated, even waxed poetic over, not gulped.
Drink one glass of water for each alcoholic beverage you consume
Non-caffeinated, non-carbonated sports drinks also work splendidly — they help replace the sodium and glycogen that alcohol sucks out of our systems.
Take a good multivitamin before the soirée
Then take vitamin B6 and magnesium (and a couple of aspirin, if your head is already pounding) before you fall asleep.
Learn which wines your system can and cannot tolerate
Many people, for example, are hopelessly allergic to cheap red wine. However, it is likely that the more you pay on a bottle, the less sulphites it will contain, and the less your head will be pounding.
Coat your stomach…
With a nice, indulgent, fatty meal, because it slows the body's absorption of alcohol. A particularly satisfying way to accomplish this is to have an opulent cheese course at dinner.