The Hangover

We don’t claim to be experts on how to cure a hangover, but we’ve had many (too many?) over the years and we’ve found a few tried and tested remedies that seem to help us. Of course, the best way to avoid a hangover is to drink in moderation, but we all know that’s easier said than done.

Preventive measures

  • Drinking water throughout the evening is the best and surest way to avoid over consumption and the dehydration that comes with it. Stay hydrated and slow the pace of your drinking by alternating between a glass of water and the next cocktail, especially if you’re drinking something as easy to down as a Veuve and Bourb!
  • Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Eat some starchy, low fat food that will help absorb the alcohol in your stomach and slow alcohol absorption. Drinking on an empty stomach is the surest way to early drunkenness and a night on the bathroom floor. Adding a little lean protein to your pre-drinking meal will slow digestion of the alcohol and will keep it from spiking all at once.
  • Before popping those corks or shaking those martinis, eat a banana or drink some coconut water. These two items are high in potassium and other electrolytes, things we eliminate through increased urination and the consequent dehydration. Revisit potassium again at the end of the night to ensure you get plenty of it back into your system before hitting the sack. If you can’t find coconut water you can also drink a non-caffeinated sport drink like Gatorade, but these beverages tend to be high in sugar, something to be avoided after all the alcohol sugar consumed throughout the evening. We keep cases of coconut water on hand and find that drinking a cold glass of it before bed significantly reduces the aftereffects of too many glasses of whatever libation fueled the party.
  • At the end of the night, drink herbal or green tea instead of coffee. While many believe a good jolt of caffeine is just what they need to sober up, coffee isn’t going to shortcut the metabolic elimination of alcohol in the bloodstream. That late night caffeine makes it harder to sleep, robbing us of the one sure remedy to over consumption. Using our own bodies as human guinea pigs we can tell you that after a hard night of drinking, adding coffee to an already acidic stomach is just asking for trouble. Instead, we like to finish with a nice cup of chamomile tea – it soothes and re-hydrates making a restful night of sound sleep more likely.
  • Walk it off. Slow moderate exercise will help your body burn the alcohol a little more quickly. If you can take a walk before returning home great, if not, take a walk the next day. Don’t over do it by running or jogging though, or you may be puking in your neighbor’s bushes.
  • Sleep in a cool place. We’re not talking about the cool tiles of the bathroom floor, either. If you live in a climate that’s not too cold, keep a window open while you sleep. If you live in a cold climate that requires the furnace be on through the night, turn down the thermostat to around 60 degrees. Your body is going to be burning a lot of alcohol and that process will keep you warm throughout the night. Whatever you do, don’t sleep with your heater on while bundled up in a warm duvet. You could end up with the worst headache of your life and a belly that takes all day to settle.

A few important don’ts

  • Don’t drink and drive. While obvious, it warrants repeating early and often. If you aren’t going to be out with a designated driver you know to be trustworthy, take cabs or public transport. You’ll be going crazy on the cocktails, why skimp on transportation on one of the year’s most dangerous nights on the roads? Check your local listings for free or reduced rate cab service on New Years Eve. Many larger cities offer free public transportation to late night revelers. No excuses!
  • Don’t take ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or any other pain medication. After a night of drinking these could cause serious damage to your liver and stomach. They may help in the short term but in the long term they could be fatal.
  • Don’t text, call, or facebook any current or former love interests! You may not remember the conversation/exchange, but there will be plenty of people to remind you later. And while it may be harder to remember this little tip after downing a few too many, keep this rule in mind as you head out the door: don’t be a jackass! Say it out loud, repeat, now get out there are have a Happy New Year!

Move over Mimosa

Party Tray! Front row: Sparkling Lemonade. Second row: Veuve and Bourb & Tangerine and Ginger Champs. Third row: Pop my Cherry, Violets are Indigo, & Cranberry Star Anise Champs.

10, 9, 8… the countdown is on! It’s almost time to say goodbye to 2010 and welcome in 2011. Unless you have a bottle of Veuve Clicquot or Dom Pérignon lying around waiting for a celebratory splurge, your sparkling wine options may seem mediocre – nothing fancy, but it gets the job done. And since most of us are still pinching pennies, we recommend you sidestep the big splurge this year in favor of a modestly priced and under appreciated Spanish, Italian or California sparkler. But we also appreciate the need for something delicious on the big annual page turner, and we want to offer up a few of our recommendations to change the drab to fab. So go ahead and pick up that inexpensive bottle of sparkling wine, or case if your having a party, and doctor it up with a few of these suggestions.

Fruit Reductions

If you’re looking for something a bit more colorful and interesting than just a splash of O.J. in your glass, try a fruit reduction with a little spice added. Over medium heat reduce 1 cup of any fruit juice along with an herb or spice, until there’s about 1/4 cup left in the pan. Be creative in your thinking but don’t overwhelm your palette. A good rule of thumb is one fruit juice with one spice. Some examples: tangerine juice and fresh ginger, cranberry and star anise, pomegranate and clove, apple and cinnamon. The combinations are endless. If you’re having a party, prepare a few different reductions and let your guests choose their own combinations.

Pucker up! Sugar never tasted so sweet.

Jams and Jellies

If you don’t want to reduce the fruit juice you can also try a little fruit preserves. Just add a small spoonful to the bottom of your flute, pour a little sparkling wine over the top, stir to combine and finishing by topping it off with more sparkling wine.


A little scoop of your favorite fruit sorbet in the bottom of a glass slowly topped with sparkling wine. Did we say, YUM?!

Veuve and Bourb

Any fan of Absolutely Fabulous will remember the season that Eddie’s kitchen sported a huge, clear glass fridge full of Veuve Clicquot. The ladies mixed a little bourbon with their Champagne to create one of our all-time favorite Champagne cocktails – “Veuve and Bourb.” For all those bourbon fans out there, this is a must try. Just a splash of bourbon (we prefer Bulleit) is all you need, topped off with your favorite bubbly. But be careful! These drinks have a way of sneaking up on you and before you know it, you might be passed out on the floor just like our best British gal pals Patsy and Eddie.

New Champagne Cocktails

Sparkling Lemonade: A little limoncello with a sugar rimmed champagne flute gives a bubbly elegant twist to the classic Lemon Drop cocktail.

Violets are Indigo: Crème de violet added to Champagne is a wonderful floral treat. Garnish with edible flowers to make it truly special.

Pop goes the cherry: Can you tie a cherry stem into a knot with your tongue? Maraschino liquor added to Champagne along with a maraschino cherry. If you’re a virgin, you won’t be for long after this drink!

Tried and True

After a sip of this cocktail, Elvis on Velvet will look like the Mona Lisa.

If you’re not up to being adventurous with your sparkling this year you can always stick to these classic Champagne cocktails.

Kir Royale: Crème de Cassis and a lemon twist with Champagne

Champagne Cocktail: a cube of sugar, a dash of bitters, Champagne and a lemon twist.

Bellini: peach puree added to champagne.

Black Velvet: For all those with a mixture of Irish and French heritage you might want to try a Black Velvet – half Guinness and half Champagne. After all, in our opinion, Guinness is the Champagne of beers.

Whatever your tipple, we hope your year-end celebrations bring you much joy and revelry as we all look forward to a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!

Cheers to 2011!