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Cooling the alcohol afterburn

Cassie Pence

What’s the best way to prevent a hangover? Don’t drink so much, says Patrick Moser, a bartender at Pepi’s in Vail Village.Moser has a valid point, and realistically, it’s the only way to avoid the afterburn of a night of tippling. But around the holidays, especially New Year’s Eve, it’s hard to say no to those tiny champagne bubbles rising in celebration of a fresh start.Ironically, it’s often the sweet fizz that’s the worst offender of holiday hangovers. The alcohol in carbonated drinks is absorbed more quickly than in noncarbonated drinks. And sugar, which champagne is chalk full, combined with alcohol speeds up the depletion of B vitamins, making the hangover worse.Hangovers, in general, occur because alcohol acts as a diuretic, pushing fluids out of the body, taking with them good-health essentials, like potassium, magnesium and vitamins. Loss of minerals and vitamins along with dehydration cause hangover symptoms: dry mouth, headache, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, shakiness, slight depression and diarrhea.There is hope for drunken revelers. Hangovers can be prevented and symptoms can be treated depending on what you do before and after the party. Here are a few suggestions.You are what you drinkSome drinks give you worse hangovers than others. The darker, sweeter beverages have more congeners, organic molecules that include amyl alcohol, butyl alcohol, methyl alcohol, propyl alcohol, and isopropyl alcohol. Ethyl alcohol is what makes you feel warm and fuzzy enough to dance on the tables. But the more of the those other congeners, the worse the hangover. So drinks like whiskey, red wine, brandy and sherry will increase your chances of “hanging over” the toilet the next day. Stick to vodka, white wine or gin – clear liquors – and try to limit the sugar-infused elixirs.”It helps if you can drink a glass of water inbetween each drink,” said Paddy’s Betsey Foley, who’s been tending bar since 1982. “Also eat before you drink, and take aspirin before you go to bed. Not that I would know from personal experience.”The poorly refined cheap hooch doesn’t help the morning-after, either. Scratch the malt 40 and pony up for something special – maybe a six-pack of The Beast (Milwaukee’s Best.)Prepare for the vitamin flushIf tying one on is inevitable, prepare for the vitamin flush before drinking or quickly replenish the next day. Liz Arellano and Riesa Harris of Nature Providers in Avon have a few suggestions.”Kombucha tea,” said Arellano. “It’s better than any anti-oxidant. It actually flushes bad cells out of the body. It eats up sugar in the body and is an energy booster.”Kombucha is a tea created from the live culture of the Manchurian Mushroom from the Himalayas.”Kombucha also balances PH levels in your body,” Harris said. “If your body is at a good PH balance, your body can’t really get sick.”Harris and Arellano also suggest drinking a lot of water taking vitamin B. Arellano recommends taking any nutrient formula with milk thistle in it. “It’s the most amazing herb,” Arellano said. “It not only cleans the liver, it actually blocks toxins.”Scientific or not – other hangover remedies”I usually try to exercise in some way shape or form to get the alcohol out of my system,” said Pepi’s bartender Moser. “And depending how drunk you were, you might just need to keep on drinking.”Hair of the dog, or drinking more alcohol in the morning, isn’t the best hangover remedy, but some people swear by it. One warning is it usually leads to a delayed and even worse hangover.”I’ve heard of drinking a glass of orange juice with a raw egg and a shot of vodka,” said Vic Szurgot, vacationing from Chicago. “But I’ve never actually tried it.”The egg yolk contains an amino acid that helps drive out toxins from booze and tobacco, if you can stomach the slimy reliever. Vodka because it’s the purist of all liquor is the best choice for hair of the dog.”I like a greasy burger and fries,” said bartender Foley. Food before, during and after drinking is always a good idea. Bananas are a prime choice because they contain potassium, which is one of the body’s essentials you lose when you drink. Bananas are also a natural antacid to help with the nausea, and are high in magnesium which can help relax those pounding blood vessels causing that hangover headache.Hangovers might be Bacchus’ way of reminding mortals he is indeed a god, but regardless, fighting through the alcohol afterburn is the only way to go – especially to start off the New Year like a champ.Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 618, or cpence@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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