Hangover Thoughts: Fergus Henderson, Shaun Hill, Chris Hirst

Fergus Henderson’s Hangover Thoughts

If you follow simple rituals, things should not go too awry: a nip of Fernet Branca in the morning to fire the engines up (the head barman at the Savoy swore his longevity was a result of this morning nip). The symbiotic moment at 11 O’clock: Seed Cake & Madeira. The thrill of the aperitif before lunch: Campari and white wine. Red Burgundy for lunch. A little marc to aid digestion. A Dr Henderson to revive the spirits and re-focus you for supper. A glass of champagne – thank you – red Burgundy with dinner and finally a wee dram to help you sleep. This does not seem too wild a day’s consumption!

The hangover seems to appear when you temper with the rituals, too much too fast… I cannot say I’ve not been there.

Recipe for Dr Henderson from Fergus Henderson’s book Nose to Tail Eating –Bloomsbury 1999

Here is a cure for any overindulgence, taught to me by my wise father

2 parts Fernet Branca
1 part Crème de Menthe

Mix together and drink. Do not be put off by the colour.

Be careful, this is so effective you can find yourself turning to its miraculous powers with increasing regularity. Do not let the cure become the cause.

Shaun Hill’s Hangover Thoughts

There are two sad truths to admit. First, I cannot remember having a proper hangover for 20 years now. Second, which may be related to the first, I have always assumed that any below par performance experienced of a morning must be bad behaviour related and have therefore worked through every cold, flu or whatever on that basis.
Nothing that is “hair of the dog” related works for me. I don’t want a shot of booze in the morning, Concoctions that involve raw egg. Worcester sauce or the like are really only possible to swallow when you are feeling tip top, a recipe for feeling nauseous otherwise.
Solutions. What’s needed is twofold. The system may be soothed by a rubbish drink like coca cola. This contains, caffeine, sugar and fizzy water, all guaranteed to revive without making matters worse, and in truth this involves the ingredients of most chemist’s cures, paracetamol aside of course.
Next up must be something to reassure the stomach. A bacon sandwich is ideal. Muslims and Jews may have a spot of difficulty with this aspect of course but I should mention that muslims shouldn’t have been drinking in the first place and that jews may replace the offending item with a pastrami. Not as effective or delicious of course but they have only Moses to blame for any shortfall in the cure.

Christopher Hirst’s Hangover Thoughts

There are hangovers and hangovers. For a really bad hangover, the only solution is death or at least staying in bed until it passes. For hangovers of lesser intensity, there are a variety of possibilities to mitigate the effect. Some advocate exercise. Kingsley Amis, who made a useful second career pontificating on hangovers, suggested, “If your wife or other partner is beside you (and, of course, willing), perform the sex act as vigorously as you can.” The great drawback of this is that the hangover victim is rarely the most appealing of sexual partners. The smell alone can be off-putting. I usually went for a swim.

I agree with Shaun that a bacon sandwich is a good cure, something to do with amino acids apparently. But it can be tricky and time-consuming to get hold of a bacon sandwich, especially if you’re on your way into work. Even the noise can be distressing. The faster|, quieter alternative I often went for was an egg mayonnaise and anchovy sandwich. Wouldn’t do for everyone’s hangover, I agree, but it worked for me, usually with a pint of milk.

For the lighter, not-too-bad, even vaguely enjoyable hangover, you can indulge in hair-of the-dog, particularly the Bloody Mary. Here is one alternative and one BM variant.

Port Flip

Recommended in Larousse des Cocktails for lendemains difficiles (difficult following days, ie the morning after).

2cl port (according to preference you can substitute another sweet fortified wine such as marsala)
1cl cognac
1cl sugar syrup (this might be a bit on the sweet side, about half might suffice)
Yolk of one egg

Put in glass with ice cubes and mix with a spoon for two or three seconds.

Described as a “un short drink plus onctueux” (a very unctuous drink).

Blood Transfusion

From master mixologist Salvatore Calabrese

3cl vodka
3cl sherry
3cl Fernet Branca
15cl tomato juice
3cl fresh lime juice
2 dashes of Worcester sauce
Pinch celery salt

Fill beaker with ices cubes. Add sherry and vodka. Then tomato and lime juices, salt and Worcester sauce. Stir. Float Fernet Branca on top.

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