Hungover in another country? Don't sweat it! Here are some tried-and-true international hangover remedies.
We’ve all been there – you wake up in an unfamiliar place with a splitting headache and a foggy highlight reel of the previous night’s activities, the morning sun cooking you in the gutter like a forgotten Hot Pocket. You need to find something to soothe the full-body mistake you’ve made, and fast, but you don’t know how to ask the locals where you can immediately find a cartoonish plummeting anvil to end your suffering. If you happen to be abroad, don’t fret – we’ve got a roundup of hangover cures from the around the world that will get you back on your feet in no time, no matter where you are.
I understand that only an absolute maniac wakes up with a biblical headache and a mouth that tastes like Gary, Indiana and yells “Somebody give me raw fish cooked in fruit juice,” but listen to me: Ceviche is the absolute balm of Gilead for hangovers. It’s bursting with vitamins C and B, which will help regulate your brain and belly and help you make it more than five feet without yarking on the carpet. Fish also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which apparently helps stave off brain damage from sustained binge drinking. Uh, this got dark. Thanks, Peru!
If you’re drunk in France, it was probably either wine or Stella Artois (which, I’m reliably informed, is like the Pabst Blue Ribbon of Western Europe), and either way, you’re lucky that you’ve gotten yourself a hangover in the land of dairy and carbs. Get a croissant and some café au lait, which will both soak up a lot of the bad stuff lurking in your belly and give you a little jolt of caffeine besides. If you’re feeling volatile and sad enough, there’s also a wildly risky homeopathic remedy called nux vomica, which contains arsenic and brucine. You can take the nux vomica as a preventative measure before getting thoroughly pickled, and apparently it will help alleviate the morning-after woes, but you’ll also have consumed something with a name like the most unsanitary Harry Potter character ever written.
I have a weird fixation on the movie Cocktail. You know, the one where Tom Cruise plays an idiot bartender who sexually self-detonates and we have to watch him do the bartending version of street magic? His mentor, terminally Australian saloon ghoul Doug Coughlin, makes a hangover cure throughout the movie called a Red Eye. It involves tomato juice, vodka, beer, and a raw egg cracked into a tall frosty mug, and you drink it all with your actual mouth. I have made, consumed, and regretted this drink because I’m easily influenced by critically panned ’80s movies. However, it did legitimately soothe my hangover, so it has that going for it. The whole thing looks like Ronald McDonald got pureed into a mug, so you’ll want to have something to distract you while you drink it. Like the movie Cocktail.
While profoundly hungover and praying for death, your first inclination may not be to consume tripe, the stomach of a cow, but your judgment was the thing that got you into this mess in the first place, so don’t trust your first impulse – trust this article you found on the internet, which is telling you to immediately find and consume some menudo. Menudo is both a Ricky Martin origin story and a thick soup made with tripe and peppers and cilantro, which will both settle your hash and give you a boost of energy to power through the worst of it – although you should never eat menudo while listening to Menudo, as this will rip a hole in the space-time continuum.
Everything is pickled in Russia. The fish, the vegetables, the napkins, the cars – if it’s not already pickled, it’s only a matter of time before it meets its ultimate destiny at the bottom of a glass jar in a basement. If you’ve had too much to drink in Russia, you’re going to want to hunt down some kvashenaya kapusta, which is sauerkraut made from sour cabbage. It’s full of vitamin C and good probiotic cultures, which will be a kindness to your aching gut after a night of vodka-themed misadventures, and it’ll help you rehydrate, too.
Certainly the most Dr. Seussian of any hangover cure is the South African remedy: ostrich omelets. Say that phrase out loud, but not too loud because you’re hungover and in a lot of pain, and try not to immediately picture yourself chasing an ostrich with an oversized butterfly net, yelling, “Let me cook your huge children, dinosaur bird.” An ostrich egg is apparently equivalent to roughly two dozen chicken eggs, which, I gotta tell you, is too many eggs. That’s like a water cooler’s worth of yolk and you could drown a small dog in it. Invite friends over (the same ones that let you get heinously drunk in the first place) to share in this enormous breakfast remedy.
It’s time for some clams. Did you know that clams contain ornithine, an amino acid that’ll help sort out your poor abused liver and help eliminate toxins? If you’ve had too much to drink in Japan, you’re going to want to suck down a bowl of shijimi miso soup, which is made with dashi (stock made from dried fish), miso paste, and shijimi clams. If your stomach is already doing donuts, I understand being reluctant to eat clams, but trust me, it’ll build character.
The last time I was drunk in England, I spent the entire day nursing bottles of Lucozade in between weird snack cakes I got from a corner shop, which was as far as I could venture from my dimly lit hotel room without my stomach cheerfully reversing gears. If only I’d been able to take advantage of the usual English cure for hangover symptoms: a full English breakfast. Even the phrase “full English breakfast” is intimidating, right? It didn’t come here to make friends. We’re talking baked beans, eggs, black pudding, toast, tomatoes, bacon, the whole nine. (Even if I have a vendetta against British bacon for actually just being weird country ham instead of crispy meat candy.) The greasy, carb-laden food will help soak up the alcohol and make you feel like a person again. There’s a reason it’s a classic.
There are a few immutable truths in this world: liquor before beer, put your phone in airplane mode so that you don’t text your ex the lyrics to “Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me” by The Smiths, and drink coffee the next morning to approximate the sensation of still having a functioning brain stem. In Italy, the customary hangover remedy is thick, dark espresso, to be hammered like a shot instead of sipped slowly. It’s best when paired with water, not because caffeine dehydrates you, but because just about anything the morning after getting wasted is best when paired with something that’ll actually rehydrate you. Take a couple of espresso shots and a large glass of water and you’ll be able to do your best impersonation of a human being by noon.
In the German tradition of creating new words by smashing other words together like a slow-motion autobahn crash, the land of beer and electronic music gives us katerfruhstuck, or hangover breakfast, the flagship dish of rollmops, an assemblage of herring and onion that’s guaranteed to unstuck your kater (hangover) with a vengeance. The pickled herring will help settle your mutinying stomach, and the whole thing is just lousy with electrolytes. Really what I’m saying is that it’s like edible Gatorade, and you’ll be able to brag to your miserable, also-hungover friends about the pickled herring you’ve just eaten. They will respect you but also fear your power.