Hangovers and “hanging overs”
By Moritz Kallmeyer
Master Brewer of Drayman’s Brewery & Distillery, Silverton Pretoria, March 2003
I think that the over 40 year old section of the population experience less hangovers than the rest. In my own case, it comes with the collective recollection of all previous over- drinking bouts and how terrible you can feel. Let’s face it; some situations just lend themselves to getting a hangover. The crowd with the Proheps, Curonsan C and essentiales in their bathroom cupboard is most probably the same (young inexperienced) crowd that the night before were drinking hard tack, alcohol spiked soda pop with “spinning your head” names or were trying out the whole shooter and cocktail menu at the same time. In my younger years as a beer drinker in the pubs (after experiencing to many hangovers) I started following the example of old timers in the trade. The art of “pacing yourself” with each beer is a difficult one to master- especially as a boisterous evening progresses – or nowadays if the beer I brewed was particularly flavourful.
There are more hangover “cures” than there are styles of beer. For instance, back in the Middle Ages one cure called for a mixture of bitter almonds and raw eel. Then there’s the suggestion that you mix together vinegar and raw eggs, and swig them down with a giant gulp.
If you can think about measures beforehand without spoiling your evening, then the precautionary glass of milk really is worthwhile or eating a light meal, high in fat like a sardine salad (with olive oil)an hour before going out. It will retard the absorption of alcohol, and protect your stomach against the worst consequent irritations.
If you do overindulge on the night out (and you are wise enough to be responsible) have the taxi drop you off at your home. You will soon figure out that it is worthless trying to go to bed (unless you don’t mind to spend the whole night holding on to the bedpost to prevent the ceiling from spinning!)
Incidentally… this is a good time to admit to yourself that you are drunk – and that it was a stupid idea! Now is the time to act and to call George! Englishmen of old used a goose-tail feather to induce what medical practitioners call reverse peristalses, but you can use anything you choose. The correct procedure before hanging over is to down a litre of water and repeat this process twice.
An irritated stomach may produce acid. That is why antacid patent medicine can be helpful. Sleep helps the body to recover. For the same reason a tired or unfit drinker is especially vulnerable to hangovers – and no two people respond in quite the same way to each different drink. A shower is refreshing, and cleanses the soul. Vitamin C helps the liver detoxify the blood, and B vitamins may be beneficial. Fructose helps the body metabolise alcohol. It also replaces blood sugar, which may be low in the morning. A low level of blood sugar makes you feel weak. Eat bread and honey or drink a pint of sweetish Mild Ale! Jewish remedy: To combat dehydration, upset stomach and hunger, drink chicken soup. Drink some more cold water (mineral water is alkaline as well as being quenching) before retiring to bed with an extra pillow to keep you more upright (this should stop the ceiling from spinning!)
Extra equipment needed for the night is a bucket for urinating in and a 2L jug of cold drinking water which you should finish before morning. On a precautionary note, please space these two items well apart next two your bed to avoid a mix-up during the night! Alcohol causes dehydration because it is a diuretic – it is thus absolutely crucial for quick recovery to hydrate your body continuously. In fact if you had followed the one pint beer one pint water rule you would never have suffered a hangover in the first place and in part would have walked yourself sober; back and forth to the loo!