By Dan Dunn
Updated June 20, 2016
Credit: iStockphoto

This weekend Americans from all walks of life will commemorate the 238th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by exercising one of the inalienable rights laid out in that hallowed document: the pursuit of happiness. For many, this will involve the consumption of large quantities of adult beverages.

And while I strongly caution against drinking to excess, I understand that in many cases such counsel will fall upon deaf ears. (Yes, I’m talking to you!) For the sake of argument, we’re going to ignore the fact that there are common-sense steps for preventing a hangover from occurring in the first place, such as avoiding brown liquors and sweet booze, downing a glass of water after every other alcoholic beverage, eating greasy food prior to drinking (to slow down the rate of alcohol absorption) and—yawn—moderation.

For the sake of reality, we’re also going to acknowledge that when strong drink is involved, you using hangover-prevention measures is about as likely as you remembering the Bill of Rights in order. So assuming the Fourth’s festivities leave you with a stomach that feels like the bathrooms in Grand Central station, here are some hard-earned, lab-tested solutions for curing what ails you:

1) Don’t Freak Out

When in the throes of a particularly nasty hangover, it’s possible that some parts of your body may go rogue. The key is to remain calm and ride it out. Remind yourself that your hand has its reasons for involuntarily clenching, and that your left ear will almost certainly be able to hear stuff again tomorrow.

2) Hydrate and Hump

Water flushes the bad stuff out of your bloodstream, so drink tons of it and maybe pop a few analgesic tablets for good measure. Then, posthaste, you should have sex—ideally, with a willing partner besides yourself. It probably won’t be the greatest lay of your life, but it’ll get the blood pumping and increase the amount of painkilling oxygen in the body.

3) Retox

It’s “hair of the dog” time. Yes, you’re going to get drunk again so you can avoid feeling the after-effects of getting drunk. Not a wonderful long-term strategy, but the dirty secret of this method is that it works. Just bear in mind that the trick is to drink enough to cure the hangover, but not get hangover-worthy again. Get really drunk and you will experience the Double Hangover. And, friends, you do not want the Double Hangover.

The classic hangover cocktail is the Bloody Mary. I personally prefer something a little more elegant and less vegetal, like a Corpse Reviver #2. Here’s a splendid recipe from Jonathan Pogash, a.k.a. The Cocktail Guru:

  • 1 oz. Tanqueray gin
  • 1 oz. Lillet Blanc
  • ½ oz. Pierre Ferrand dry Curaçao
  • ¼ oz. absinthe
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon peel, for garnish

Shake all of the ingredients very well with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.

This smoothie take on the Reviver from barman Chris Amirault of Harlowe in West Hollywood is also pretty damn comforting and delicious

  • 1½ oz. Plymouth gin
  • ¾ oz. lemon juice
  • ½ oz. honey
  • 1 whole ripe banana
  • 3 to 4 scoops crushed ice

Blend all of the ingredients until appropriate body is attained.

4) Smoke ’Em If You Got ’Em (and have nothing else to do that day)

If all-star stoner Jeff Spicoli taught us anything in this memorable scene from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, it’s that getting baked makes you virtually invulnerable to head trauma.

5) Chow Down

Get some bacon, eggs and toast inside you ASAP. First off, yum. Second off, bacon and eggs are full of protein, which breaks down into amino acids. You need those. Third off, bacon has grease. Your stomach wants a little greasy love right now. Fourth off, toast is starch, and your stomach wants something to soak its horribleness into. And if you’re having all that, you should probably toss in a little coffee. The magical caffeine inside it will constrict the blood vessels in your brain, making them hurt less. I don’t know why this works, but it does.

If you’ve had coffee, pot, booze, water, sex, bacon and a cold shower and are still hungover, it’s time to kick something really hard. Turns out that if you break your pinky toe, the pain in your foot will make the headache and nausea seem like a walk in the park. Then again, actually walking in the park will be problematic for a little while. But walking is overrated. And not walking leaves more time for drinking.