Hair of the dog cocktails and hangover tips

Hair of the dog cocktails and hangover tips
Courtesy of Scott Suchman
Wednesday, January 1, 2014 - 11:13am

Overdid it with the booze a bit last night? You're in excellent company. Twitter and Facebook abound with tales of over-consumption, repentance and just plain old pain after the revels of the New Year.

Luckily for you, Jon Harris, lead bartender of Firefly in Washington D.C. is too much of a pro to leave you hanging. He's got recipes, tips and cautionary tales to cure what ails you.

Hair of the Dog Cocktails and Other Hangover Tips: Jon Harris

Brandy and Coffee

This is the original, adult version of the popular Red Bull Vodka. I think it's best taken with cream and sugar. When I was working in London, I had a regular at my restaurant who'd always order a double espresso with a side of brandy.

I recall making one of these for myself the day I moved back to the US. I'd been out all night the night before with my friends and used this pick-me-up to navigate the nightmare that is Heathrow Airport. Going through Heathrow with a hangover is like taking a walk in some Tim Burton-esque macabre fantasy world. People with Cockney accents are yelling constantly and there's all these twists and turns to get to the gates and you have to muddle your way through a weird garish mall thing.

If you're ever in this situation, a recipe: buy a coffee to go, pour out some, then buy two mini bottles of brandy from duty-free and dump it in the coffee. Or, just order one on a Sunday morning at your local bar to sip while reading your Sunday paper.

Brandy and Coffee

  • 1.5-2 oz cheap brandy (St. Remy VSOP, e.g.)
  • Coffee
  • Cream and sugar to taste (optional)
  • Stir and enjoy!

Corpse Revivers

These were a class of drinks popular in the late 19th and early 20th century when imbibing before noon was perfectly acceptable. Of course this idea went the way of the dodo as even lunch martinis became taboo, but if you are ever in need, this drink does the trick. The brightness of the citrus flavors wakes you up, the gin numbs the headache, and the piquancy of the absinthe sharpens focus.

This recipe comes from Harry Craddock's Savoy Cocktail book published in 1930. Craddock, of the Savoy in London stated that Corpse Revivers were "to be taken before 11 a.m. or whenever steam and energy are needed." Additionally, he warned, that "Four of these taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again."

Corpse Reviver No. 2

  • 3/4 oz each of gin, Cointreau, Cocchi Americano (or Lillet Blanc) and lemon juice
  • 1 dash absinthe
  • Shake and strain into a martini glass.

The Relapse Cocktail

This an original recipe of mine from some years back. The recipe is based on the Master Cleanse, which requires its sufferers to drink naught but a lemon, maple syrup and cayenne pepper concoction for a week or so to cleanse the body. It's a ridiculous diet in my opinion, but it is somewhat tasty. Tastier still with a spot of rum.

The Hellfire Bitters, with a habanero kick, will bring you back to life in a snap, and maple syrup is perfect for the morning. Skip the pancakes or waffles and have one of these. (If you don't have Hellfire Bitters, a dash of any kind of bitters with a dash of Tabasco will work). The original inspiration for this recipe was an ex-girlfriend who'd constantly try out the cleanse only to wind up drunk somewhere with nothing in her belly but booze and Master Cleanse and calling me to pick her up. Here's to you, darling.

Relapse Cocktail

  • 2 oz dark rum (I like El Dorado 5)
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz maple syrup
  • 2 dashes Hellfire Bitters


Cheers to classic morning drinks: eggs for protein, citrus for brightness and soda to ease it down. My favorite versions include the classic gin fizz with egg whites, the Morning Glory, with Scotch and absinthe, and the Ramos Gin Fizz.

Gin Fizz

  • 1.5-2 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz lemon or lime juice
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup
  • Egg, either the white, the yolk or the whole thing
  • Soda

Shake everything but the soda, strain into a glass without ice and top with soda.

Non-booze related tips

IVs: I met a nurse not too long ago who told me that she takes IV bags from her hospital and administers them to herself or friends who have over done it. Apparently it's a wonder cure according to a friend who's gone through the IV process a few times. They even have buses in Vegas that cruise the strip administering IVs to imbibers. If you have access to a hospital and the blessing and aid of a healthcare professional, get some IV bags.

Lacking an IV: Pour a glass of coconut water and add some Hellfire Bitters (or whatever hot sauce you have on hand: Tabasco, Sriracha) and chug it. The spice will wake you up and clear your sinuses, and the coconut water will give yourself some much needed electrolytes. Take some Vitamin B12 and aspirin, and go find yourself a nice, greasy bacon, egg and cheese bagel.

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.


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