The observance of brunch is considered to be an exercise in effortless cool.
This is a lie.
No, really. Let's be real for a minute. You're not wearing those sunglasses indoors in an ironic attempt to achieve effortless cool. You're not even hopelessly missing the mark and just plain looking like a douche. This is a matter of hangover survival, which is pretty much the real reason brunch even exists.
Now, there are many hypothetical ways to avoid a hangover, the most notorious being the pickleback, a shot of whiskey chased with a shot of pickle juice. This arguably originated in frigid European countries where poor people have nothing better to do than drink and nothing better to chase it with than brine and still manage to get up every morning and go about their daily lives, thus making them appear superhuman. The story is that the sodium in the brine helps one retain essential liquids and electrolytes, preventing dehydration and consequently a hangover. It's certainly worth a try, but many say a large glass of water after a night of drinking is the clear winner in hangover prevention. Plus, that doesn't give you pickle-whiskey breath.
But if there is no pickle juice to be found and your drunk ass forgot how important that glass of water was prior to passing out, you're going to have to deal with the very real pain of inevitably waking up at some point the following day.
According to Jessica, a seven year service industry veteran and bartender at Vickery Park, there is a system for bringing yourself back from the kind of hellish hangover state when even glancing at a cup of strong coffee makes you gag.
"If you're hungover you want to get food in you, but you'll throw it up," she says. "Taking a shot first kind of thins your blood, gets everything leveled out and helps you get food down."
Although medical science might disagree, Jessica says the "hair of the dog" beats the brunch classics like a bloody mary or nursing a beer with your eggs.
"Everyone thinks a bloody mary is going to cure them, but it's too heavy, it has too many spices," she says. "Your best bet is downing a shot and getting it over with -- if you nurse a beer you're less likely to even finish it."
Bolsa bartender and six-year service veteran Spenser also recommends this method along with lots of water and ginger beer, since ginger is a natural soothing agent.
He says his personal preference is chugging a Gatorade upon waking, though. "When you come into a place [hungover] I highly recommend a shot of something -- just get it done," he says.
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While the two professionals differ on the effectiveness of vodka or whiskey based shooters, both agree it might be best to avoid tequila. Other things on the list of hangover no-nos are anything blue or anything sweet, especially in tandem. You should also forget about the brunch libation known as the Mimosa.
Spenser saysa mimosa is the way to get your weekend rolling, not a way to salvage it.
"I love a mimosa. It goes right to your head and really makes you feel great," he says. "All that citrus and all the bubbles, though, not good for a hangover."
And how about you? What's your best way to stop a hangover. (And don't say "don't drink." We tried that. It wasn't worth it.)