Five Family Tips To Survive New Year’s Hangover

Whether we choose to have only family celebrations or small gatherings, let’s face it, we are all going to have a drink or two (or three, or four…) to farewell this shitty year the way it deserves. That’s why having some tips to cure hangovers becomes handy.

I did some research among my family members and was stunned by the variety of ideas they had. The most amazing one was to “put pressure on your eyes.” I swear, whenever I figure out that technique, I will get back to you. Meanwhile, we’ll have to try other options. 

Tip #1: Eat a substantial meal before drinking

All my sources (a.k.a my mom, brother, aunts, uncles, and cousins) agreed the best way to avoid a bad hangover is to have a substantial, fat-rich meal before starting to drink. This is because most of the alcohol is absorbed by the small intestine, and eating before drinking creates a coat in your stomach that will slow down the process of alcohol absorption. By eating before drinking, you will also slow down the alcohol’s diuretic effect and help prevent or reduce the next day’s headache for dehydration.

Tip #2: Try not to mix drinks

We have all had this warning, but no one seems to know how it works. The reason is not how many kinds of alcoholic drinks you have, but the overall amount of alcohol you drink. The liver can only process one standard-sized alcoholic drink per hour (twelve ounces of beer, five ounces of wine, or one shot –1.5 ounces– of hard liquor). So if you start mixing drinks, you are more likely to have more alcohol than what your liver can process in an hour. That said, if during a night you have just one beer and one gin-tonic, you are probably going to be better than if you are having Colombian aguardiente the whole night. In the first example, you mixed but drank less alcohol overall. In the second, may God have mercy on you. 

Tip #3: Drink water during and after drinking alcohol

Drinking water is not going to stop you from getting drunk but will help you replenish the liquid you lose due to the diuretic effects of alcohol and, the next day, will help you flush the alcohol’s toxins. Sports drinks can help you replenish electrolytes faster than plain water, so if the taste is okay for you, it might be even better. 

In the next two tips, I will include two recipes on which most of my extended family members agreed: Changua and the world-famous Caldo Levanta Muertos.

Tip #4: Have a Changua

I don’t know the first non-Colombian person who likes Changua, and I also know many Colombians that hate it, but I asked my family for advice on this, and at least seven different people said, “Oh, yes! A Changua! That’s the best!” So I will honor their advice. 

A Changua is a kind of Colombian milk-based soup we usually have for breakfast or as a kind of early dinner. Here goes the recipe. Please keep in mind this is the kind of formula in which no one ever measures anything, so you just go by “el ojímetro” (eye-measuring everything). 

You will need:

  • Spring onion (cebolla larga)
  • Butter
  • Milk (aprox 1/2 cup per person)
  • Water (aprox 1/2 cup per person)
  • Eggs (1 or 2 per person, depending on taste)
  • Queso Campesino (a soft, fresh, plain cheese)
  • Almojábana (you can also use any other bread, especially if it is sweet)
  • Fresh coriander
  • Salt to taste

Step by step 

  1. Chop the onion. Let it brown lightly with butter and salt in a pot. 
  2. Mix the milk and water and bring to a boil. 
  3. Once the mix is boiling, break the eggs inside and let cook. How long you will have to wait will depend on how hard or soft you like your egg yolks.
  4. Check the salt.
  5. Serve with chopped queso campesino and an almojábana broken in pices.
  6. Top with chopped coriander.

Tip #5: Have a Caldo Levanta Muertos 

The Caldo de Costilla or Caldo Levanta Muertos is Colombia’s favorite trick for curing hangovers, and I am pretty sure every Latin American country has a variation of this dish. Both the Changua and Caldo help with the hangover because they are rich in proteins and sodium, which means they will help you recover electrolytes. 

Since a good Caldo is a much more time-consuming dish to prepare than a Changua, the best advice is to make it BEFORE getting drunk. Having to chop that much onion, potatoes, and beef ribs while suffering from a big hangover is a terrible idea. 

You will need:

  • Oil
  • Spring onion
  • Garlic
  • Beef ribs with a lot of meat and as little fat as possible
  • Potatoes (as many as you like, serve yourself)
  • Salt
  • Lots of fresh coriander

Step by step

  1. Peel the potatoes and set them aside.
  2. Chop the onion and garlic, let brown lightly with the oil. 
  3. Add water, the ribs, the peeled potatoes, salt, and a good bunch of fresh coriander (reserve more for serving). 
  4. Let boil until the ribs’ meat is soft and the potatoes have almost melted (at least an hour).
  5. Serve with a lot of fresh coriander finely chopped (every Colombian is very emphatic on this point, it has to be A LOT of coriander).  

Being vegetarian, I have to tell my kind there is no way I know a regular veggie soup will do the same trick as a Caldo de Costilla. But according to Healthline, eggs, spinach, and avocados are good for hangovers, so maybe excellent vegetarian ramen might do the trick? 

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