I Got Drunk So You Don’t Have To: Testing the Latest Hangover Cure

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I Got Drunk So You Don’t Have To: Testing the Latest Hangover Cure

So, you might have noticed there is a slew of products (Perhaps “a murder” is the right term) bombing the market lately, some pills, some beverages, some powders, all making the fascinating claim that they have a superpower that would make Tony Stark mad with envy: The ability to make you hangover-proof.

My dudes, I am all about the scientific rigor. So I pitted DrinkAde, the latest of these concoctions to hit my mailbox, against the other thing that hit my mailbox that day, which was a bottle of really good sparkling Pinot from Oregon.

The claim: DrinkAde, a 3.4 oz. shot of vitamins, electrolytes and herbs, can be ingested before or during your moment of total refusal to accept that your brain and liver can only do what they can do, and will prevent what they genteelly call “next-day effects.”

Obviously, in order to test this theory, you have to drink enough alcohol to produce “next-day effects,” or in other words mildly poison yourself. Because I care about each and every one of you, I was happy to oblige.


Now, my scientific study consisted of one person, myself. Some things to know about me: I am not a lightweight (I was, at one point, and then I married into a family of Pennsylvania Dutch heritage). I am not prone to hangovers. I do not enjoy hangovers so I also try to avoid them. Oh, and I am what is known as a “supertaster,” which means I have a palate that is sensitive and easily assaulted. If any of these things do not apply to you, you might have a different experience than I had.

1) In theory, there is no special reason why this stuff should not help you on the hangover front. The stuff in it includes herbs with well-known and well-vetted cognitive enhancing and liver-supporting properties (green tea, milk thistle, Rhodiola) as well as B vitamins and electrolytes (sodium and potassium), which you chew through very fast while processing alcohol. If you try it and find it does in fact prevent you from being in “Ouchville” the next day, you’re probably not imagining it.

2) DrinkAde tastes pretty freaking horrible. If you cannot tell the difference between sugar and artificial sweeteners, you might be okay, but if you can, be prepared for a rat-poison finish that is hard to get out of your mouth. B-complex vitamins taste really gross (you know that rotten fish smell that wafts out of a bottle of tablet or capsule-format B vitamins? That.) I tried both a limeade and a berry flavor. Both were decidedly difficult to swallow.

3) To get that taste out of my mouth I promptly popped the cork on a very nice bottle of sparkling wine and had a glass. Okay, I drank the entire bottle. I was not staggering or falling down or sending hate-texts to that one guy, but yes, for sure I was altered. I drank a large amount of water before bed, but other than that, no other interventions but lime-fish-emulsion-Sucralose-monster-in-a-bottle.

4) Obviously, I cannot know for sure whether I would feel worse if I hadn’t drunk the DrinkAde, as there are simply too many variables, but I will say I am capable of putting away an entire bottle of bubbly, getting up in the morning, dropping my kids off at school, grabbing a cappuccino and going for a strenuous eight-mile hike. Please do not ask me why I know this. I know this. I absolutely skipped the hike today. Yuck.

5) As we know, a “hangover” can include symptoms ranging from low energy and “brain fog” to mild tightness behind the eyes to crippling migraine-type headaches, low appetite or an insatiable desire for bacon or mild queasiness or an “everyone to the nearest available exit” digestive emergency. It can de-optimize your morning or freaking ruin your day. There is a range. Personally I am more prone to poor sleep, eye pain and fatigue from over-celebrating; it takes a very, very special situation to put a dent in my cast-iron stomach. (I will note that one thing that happens to give me an incredibly painful stomachache is milk thistle, so I was a little worried about taking it on purpose in a quest to feel “better.”) There apparently wasn’t enough milk thistle in this stuff to make an impact because my only belly complaint is that drinking large amounts of champagne is a great way to ensure you no longer have a defined waistline or a mutually-beneficial relationship with your favorite jeans.

6) I must note that this stuff did not save me from exhaustion or the feeling that someone is poking my eyeballs from inside my skull. The hangover it will prevent is the one I won’t have for the rest of the week because I won’t be drinking anything for a while after this experiment.

Upshot: The single best way to prevent a hangover is “do not drink excessive amounts of alcohol.” Once that horse is out of the proverbial barn, there’s a hilarious range of remedies people swear by. According to my friend in Athens, the Greeks believed there was a passage of The Iliad you could recite and be totally hangover-proof; others swear by certain herbs or vitamin cocktails or Gatorade or lemon-water and chlorophyll or 10 cups of coffee and a cold shower and I don’t know what else. But I’m going to go ahead and say that sadly, the most prominent and lasting effect of DrinkAde was, for this reviewer, its lingering unpleasant aftertaste. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, and hey, just because it didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.

But I’m going to go on record saying I doubt it.

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