Hair of the dog? Not if that dog is from 2020

In a normal world, six days after New Year’s Eve would not be the time for hangover cures. But 2020 was not part of a normal world, and frankly, there really is no such thing as a hangover cure. But so-called “hair of the dog” cocktails aren’t really meant as a cure. What they are, is a way to ease back in. How’s the saying go? We detox so that we can retox.

All joking aside, these classic cocktails were all invented with that thought in mind. And just one look at most Beach/Bergeron, Craddock, and Scialom inventions, you get a sense of why they were needed. Large amounts of liquor and large amounts of sugar are not going to be a good thing. Don’t say you haven’t been warned!

Here are some takes on classic “hair of the dog” cocktails, all with reduced sugar and reduced alcohol. And as always, all localized for your consumption. 

Suffering Bastard

1 ounce Bender’s 8 year old “Old Corn” whiskey (Bender’s is located on Treasure Island)

1 ounce Griffo gin (made in Petaluma).

1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice

1 dash aromatic bitters (any will work, but Angostura is the classic ingredient)

4 ounces ginger beer

1 mint sprig

Combine whiskey, gin, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice. Top with ginger beer and bitters, stir gently and then top with mint sprig, probably originally for irony.

Originally created during World War II by legendary barman Joe Scialom, specifically for British troops fighting Rommel’s legendary Afrika Korps. During the pivotal Battle of El-Alamein, Rommel was quoted as saying “I’ll be drinking champagne in the master suite at Shepheard’s soon,” which was the Cairo hotel bar at which Scialom worked. Instead, the British stopped Rommel and then celebrated their victory with notorious hangovers, for which this drink is aptly named.

Trader Vic Bergeron famously co-opted the name for another drink in the 1960s, that for all intents and purposes, was really just another version of his famous Zombie. Vic served his version in Tiki mugs shaped like a rotund man holding his head in pain. And after looking at many of Vic’s drink recipes, one should not be at all surprised.

Note: this Bender’s whiskey is made from 100 percent corn, something rare in the whiskey market. It does not qualify as a bourbon however, because it is made in Canada and is aged in used barrels.


1 ounce Sammy’s Beach Bar rum (based in Marin)

1 ounce Batiste Gold rhum (also based in Marin)

1 ounce orange curacao

1 ounce fresh squeezed orange juice

1 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice

Splash grenadine

Splash of Emperor Norton Absinthe Dieu (or pastis such as Pernod)

Fill a Collins glass with ice then build in the following order. Light rum, orange curacao, orange juice, lemon juice, gold rhum. Add grenadine, it will sink to the bottom, then top with absinthe. The specific gravities of each ingredient will help to create a layered effect.

The legendary Donn Beach is reported to have invented the Zombie in order to help a hungover businessman get through a meeting. His version had three rums and seven other ingredients. Walking dead indeed! Trader Vic later stole his recipe and pared it down to the seven ingredients we have listed here. Although Vic’s version did have four and half ounces of liquor, including half an ounce of 151 proof rum! Yikes!

Note: orange curacao is orange in color. It is not triple sec, which is typically clear. Grand Marnier is a good substitution (because of its color and taste) and Grand Marnier in actuality, is ironically a triple sec!

Corpse Reviver #2

1 ½ ounces 209 gin (made in San Francisco)

¾ ounce Kina L’Aéro d’Or (imported by Tempus Fugit in Petaluma)

1 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice

¼ ounce simple syrup

Float of St. George Absinthe Verte (made in Alameda)

1 orange zest

Combine first four ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Float absinthe and garnish with orange zest.

Ever heard of a Corpse Reviver #1? Probably not. And that is because the #1 is really just an apple brandy Manhattan. Several versions of this drink exist (ergo the numbering) but the most famous is this version, originally featured in Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book. In it, Craddock suggest that four, yes FOUR, of these will “unrevive the corpse again.” I guess responsible hospitality wasn’t a thing back then.

Note: Cocchi Americano is a good substitute for the Kina L”Aéro d’Or. Lillet Blanc with a splash of orange bitters will also work well in a pinch.


Sorry, we meant to say, happy new year. Shhhh.