Perhaps you are a human who doesn't get hangovers. Maybe you don't drink in the first place, which hey—that's totally cool. Perhaps you just have some biological get-out-of-jail-free card or are 22 and immortal; enjoy that while it lasts. The rest of us reap what we sow, and if we're planting more than our recommended share of booze, or drink on an empty stomach, or forget to chug a ton of water before bedtime, chances are that a pretty nasty hangover is gonna sprout up by morning. We asked a few of our favorite chefs at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival about their professional-grade strategies for dealing with the effects of a raucous night out.
John Currence, chef/owner of City Grocery and author of Big Bad Breakfast and Extra Crispy's Breakfast Chef of the Year
Drink again? My hangover remedy is just suck it up. It's gonna be brutal. Also, dear reader, know that hangovers change over the years. If you're good at drinking when you're young, hangovers are just headaches and so on. As an adult, you learn to combat those things that give you headaches—like by drinking water so that you rehydrate. But ultimately, hangovers don't just hurt, they just give you anxiety. And they make you tired. That's all I have now. Of course I'm not funneling kamikazes and hurricanes and Long Island iced teas like I used to, but a hangover's a hangover and you just have to man up a little bit.
Seamus Mullen, chef/owner of Tertulia and author of Real Food Heals
I don't drink very much and I haven't had a hangover in a long time. Greasy food definitely helps. You have to just embrace having the hangover. A big, gnarly breakfast can help. Also I like broth, really good chicken stock, seasoned up. That always makes me feel better. And the real secret hangover cure is this ultra-hydration fluid that EMTs carry in their ambulance. It's a teeny little vial of super-concentrated electrolytes, and I get them for cycling when I'm riding in the desert or really hot conditions where you can get dehydrated really easily. They keep you from ever cramping, and they're a phenomenal hangover cure.
David Kinch, chef/owner of Manresa and author of Manresa: An Edible Reflection
Believe it or not, I believe the best thing to do for a hangover is before you go to sleep, not when you wake up, drink pure cranberry juice with a little bit of water. It's like this super hydration thing going on.
Art Smith, chef/owner of Table Fifty-Two and author of Art Smith's Healthy Comfort
Make sure that if you indulge a lot, drink a lot of water and then again when you wake up. My favorite is just having a nice glass of really good vegetable juice. I'm not saying "Have a V8!" Have real tomato juice or really good green juice. What happens is the the alcohol totally dehydrates your body and you want something that's going to put nutrients and nourish your body. Many times after you've been through that, you don't really feel like eating a lot of food, and you don't want anything creamy—you want something with more vegetables. A really good vegetable juice that's fresh, not processed, but something you make yourself is the best.
Katie Button, chef/owner of Cúrate and author of Cúrate
I definitely have to say it's eggs and a bloody mary. It's in that savory world for me and I think you need something greasy, something kind of fried and potatoes. So eggs, potatoes, and a bloody mary. I like hash brown style potatoes, super crispy and kind of chewy and creamy on the inside.
Adam Richman, host of Man Finds Food and author of Straight Up Tasty
Dear Lord, yes! Bacon, egg, and cheese on a toasted Kaiser roll, well-done French fries with extra salt, and a fountain Coke with ice. Don’t forget the three Advil and loads of ice water.
Alex Raij, chef/owner of Txikito and author of The Basque Book
I'm not a huge drinker so a hangover remedy isn't key for me, but eggs for sure. I've gotten really into eggs with green tahini, which we make at our restaurant. In Majorca and Minorca and probably in Catalan they have this expression that translates as "to make a cushion" so it's before you drink, you eat. We make so-called three-minute eggs that really take about six minutes to get all soft and fudgy in the center. I like slicing those with green tahini, which is really fresh and has a lot of herbs in it, and even turning that into a sandwich with pita. It creates that cushion, and it would absorb the next day as well.
Aaron May, chef/owner of The Lodge Sasquatch Kitchen
I'm a big believer in the breakfast sandwich. We owe a tip of the hat to our neighbors to the South who have taught me that when they make tortas, they fold all the goodness into almost an omelet and fold that omelet up on a sandwich. I like to employ that method when I'm making a breakfast sandwich when I'm hungover. I'll take scrambled eggs and I'll put them in a pan and fold in bacon or sausage or hot dogs or pulled chicken or curried goat—whatever you have—and fold it all up in a beautiful omelet, and then you add more crispy bacon and cheese, and you need some sort of good spread. I'm a big fan of pureed cottage cheese with spices and seasonings—I love Tabasco on it. Richard Nixon had ketchup on his cottage cheese, and I have this greasy, beautiful hangover torta egg sandwich.
Alon Shaya, executive chef and partner at Shaya
A bloody mary. My wife makes really good ones, but I live in New Orleans so I pretty much can get them anywhere I want. I love it when there's a ton of okra and green beans and olives and all those things with it. It sets me right back where I want to be.
Andrea Reusing, chef/owner of Lantern and author of Cooking in the Moment
I don't really eat when I'm hungover. I'm not super hungry. Just seltzer water. You can't eat too soon before going to sleep because if I eat, I immediately pass out. I have a really big dinner at, like, four o'clock and then go to bed.