Informant is an Australian student who has lived in Australia for most of her life.
“I’d drink a beer the morning after. Y’know—hair of the dog, when you drink to cure a hangover?’
Informant and I were discussing the option of beer as a beverage at a restaurant. She mentioned she would want to order one sometime in the future.
“Hair of the dog” is a colloquial expression that is a folk remedy. As a colloquialism, it is completely separate from alcohol and drinking, therefore creating an in and out group of drinkers and non-drinkers who may not understand the usage of this phrase and thus potentially lessening any shame or judgment that may be given if admitting to drinking alcohol. As a folk remedy, this uses the logic of homeopathic magic—a desired result, which is relieving the side effects of consuming alcohol, is achieved through mimicking it, drinking alcohol. The actual proof of this belief may or may not exist, but since such a remedy is popular enough as alcohol is widely-consumed globally (and as hangovers don’t necessarily have actual cures), the belief in this remedy is able to continue.
Context: M.Z. learned about this cure from his mother while growing up in the American Southwest.
M.Z. : Okay, so the first one would be my mother’s cure for hangovers she swore that the best thing for a hangover was to get a Coca-Cola from a soda fountain, it could not be in a can or a bottle Add to be out of a soda machine and that was the only thing along with Saltine crackers that would settle your stomach and help you cure a hangover.
P.Z. : Just drinking and eating those two things? Nothing else?
M.Z. : Yep, yep those were the two key ingredients. You could eat other stuff but that was you had to have the soda fountain Coca-Cola.
Thoughts: I’ve heard of a variety of hangover cures, and it seems that it is traditionally some sort of food or drink concoction. This meant that I wasn’t surprised by this cure, although I had never heard of this one specifically.
“Take a shot of whiskey for a hangover.”
Although this hangover remedy seems to have absolutely no basis in reason or medical knowledge, my informant swears by it. Every time he has a hangover, he takes a shot of whiskey–no matter how badly he wants to throw up.
Perhaps this remedy works for my informant because whiskey is so strong that it can probably force a person to momentarily forget about any nausea or sickness. In addition, Korean males firmly believe in the power of alcohol as a remedy for anything.
To Cure a Hangover:
- Pour a can of Coke in a glass
- Put one tablespoon of salt in the Coke and stir
- Chug the drink as fast as possible as the salt causes the Coke to bubble quickly
I learned this remedy back home from a friend of mine. He had told me that his older brother taught him about this hangover cure, so I tried it one day and it actually worked. I think it has something to do with the carbon dioxide in the Coke reacting with the salt that causes it to fizz so much. When you do chug the drink, it tastes kind of bad and it is actually difficult to drink the entire glass that quickly. When you do chug the drink it is almost like getting a brain freeze from ice cream, but after that feeling fades away so does the hangover. I dont use this remedy all the time, in fact Ive probably only used it three or four times, but Im telling you, it does work.
Many remedies for hangovers are a part of folk medicine; in fact, almost all are because there is not a scientific solution to cure a hangover. Ive heard another similar remedy of chugging a bottle of water before going to bed and waking up, after a night of drinking, however that does not immediately cure a hangover and can be linked to the scientific fact that alcohol causes dehydration. I believe most hangover remedies are spread from older college students to younger siblings and peers, as it did in this case.