From seasoned juiceheads to social drinkers, we’ve all (at one point or another) woken up from a night of debauchery to one of the worst feelings you can put yourself through (since it’s no one else’s fault that you drank that much!). But this is not the time to lay blame, because the hangover is punishment enough. Some smartasses say that the best way to avoid a hangover is to not drink. While that is obviously true, hangovers are part of the risks you take if you like to drink. So, this is for all of us! Here are some tips on how to drink spirits without them coming back to haunt you the next day.

Pizza

BEFORE DRINKING: The Preparation

Eat something “unhealthy” – This is the time to indulge. Greasy food and carbs (pizza, fries, pasta, etc.) lessen the effects of a hangover because they slow down the absorption of alcohol and (to be technical) help reduce acetaldehyde formation in the stomach (thought to be the main cause of hangovers). Make the night you plan on a bender your cheat night. And just so this isn’t all about the booze (I’m also here to educate), this practice is commonly referred to as “soakage.” Many Mediterranean cultures also swear by having a spoon of olive oil (a little gross, I know, but whatever works, right?) before heading out to drink. It has the same effect as eating fatty food. Maybe if you’re on a diet, this is what you can do.

Milk

Drink milk – It’s not backed by science, but some people say this really works. Well, milk is a good source of calcium so it can’t hurt to drink it. Unless you’re lactose intolerant or have a weak stomach (for mixing dairy with alcohol). In which case, maybe skip this tip. You don’t want to spend the night making frequent trips to the bathroom in the club.

Vitamin B effervescent tablets

Drink vitamins – Vitamin B complex, to be precise. Your body uses up a lot of nutrients when metabolizing alcohol. This may destroys essential B vitamins. So pop a B complex.

Hard Boiled egg

Eat a hardboiled egg – An Indian friend of mine told me about this. Apparently, the protein in the yolk primes the stomach and you’re good for a few drinks without fearing for your head the next day.
Commit to a certain number of drinks – if you set an intention to only maybe drink five beers tonight (add or subtract depending on what kind of night you want to have), you will be (hopefully) less likely to go overboard and drink too much.

WHILE YOU DRINK: Try to Remember

So you’ve done your prep for a night out and now you’re out with friends partying the night away. It would be beneficial for you to try to remember these things (“try” because let’s face it, it’s hard to remember a lot of things when you’re out drinking with your friends).

Alternate alcohol with water

Alternate alcohol with water – We’ve all heard this one. Drink a glass of water between alcoholic beverages. Not only does this rehydrate you (so you don’t feel like a raisin when you wake up), it will keep you fuller and give you more time between drinks.

Pace your drinking

Pace your drinking – I know, I know! Even I have problems with this one. Try to limit yourself to one drink per hour. It allows your body time to process the alcohol so the effects won’t be so harsh the next day.
Stay away from drinking games – That is, if you want to be a party pooper.One beer only

Stick to one kind of alcohol – Mixing drinks is one of the ways you can get really wasted really fast and almost guarantees that you wake up feeling like a building fell on your head. Clear spirits like vodka and gin have fewer congeners (chemical by-products of spirits that contribute to hangovers) than darker colored ones, like rum or bourbon. If you can’t stick to one drink, go by the old saying, “Liquor before beer, never fear. Beer before liquor, never sicker.” It may just be a myth, but Filipinos like to drink beer after hard liquor as “panghugas” (something to wash it down with). So maybe we’re on to something here.

Bar Chow

Keep eating – “Pulutan” (bar chow like salpicao, chicken skin chicharon, chicken wings, and fried Brie bites are some of my guilty pleasures.) keeps you full and slows down the absorption of alcohol in your body. It does increase the chances of you throwing up and it does remind you of what you had the night before, but it’s a risk worth taking.

Stay Classy

Stay classy – Premium liquor uses quality materials and distilled properly, which means less congeners. So it might be best to pass on the cheap stuff and shell out for top-shelf booze. You either pay for it today, or pay for it tomorrow morning. Your choice.

If after all this reading you forget these tips, I have one last line of prevention before you tip over to hangover land: Drink a pill before you sleep! Paracetamol is preferred, as aspirin may irritate the stomach and cause nausea.

Of course, before you go drinking, it is best to know your body’s capacity to absorb spirits. Moderation, as always, is the key.

Restaurateur, expert drinker, creative proprietor of steam punk bar Hooch, SMITH Butcher and Grill Room, Ebeneezers, Poulet Manille, and Ampersand. She wrote The Standard newspaper’s Tipple Tales cocktail and spirits column and co-hosted the Manila episode of the Travel Channel show Booze Traveler with cocktail connoisseur Jack Maxwell. She is DrinkManila’s resident mixology expert.

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