When “hair” in your drink is a good thing

“Hair of the dog,” maybe you’ve heard the term? It’s especially prevalent this time of year. These drinks are intended as hangover cures. The idea is that a little alcohol will help your body adapt to the situation caused by too much alcohol. But do you know where the term came from?

The notion of the hair of the dog was originally a folk cure for rabies. The idea was to place a hair from the infected dog in the bite wound inflicted by that dog, literally. The belief was that “like” would cancel out “like,” much like modern homeopathy – and if you scoff at that notion – you might just want to look up what bio dynamics actually means in relation to wine.   FYI, moon phases and cow horns are involved. However, the hair of the dog didn’t work for rabies. In fact, rabies was nearly always fatal for both the animal and for the bitten, at least until 1885. That was the year when Dr’s Louis Pasteur (inventor of pasteurization) and Émile Roux (inventor of the diphtheria vaccine) finally developed an effective vaccine for rabies. Ironically the cure was devised by using a bit of rabies to cure the rabies. “Like” did indeed cancel out “like.”

Unfortunately, when it comes to veisalgia, which is the technical medical term for a “hangover” (combining the Greek word for pain with the Norwegian word for ‘uneasiness following debauchery’), folk cures don’t actually work. At least not yet. But that doesn’t stop people from coming up with them. Maybe we just need more cow horn?

Whatever the case, I’ve taken the liberty of assembling some recipes for the best known so-called “hangover cure” drinks. And furthermore, they have all been localized for your consumption. Good luck.

Corpse Reviver #2

1 ½ ounces Alamere Spirits London Dry gin

1 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice

¾ ounce good quality triple sec (Cointreau, Combier, Citronage)

¼ ounce simple syrup

½ ounce Barber Lee Spirits absinthe blanche

1 lime zest

 Combine first four ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake to chill. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Float absinthe on top and garnish with the lime zest.

 Note: One might think a Zombie cocktail and a Corpse Reviver are related, because the ideas are so similar. They are not. The Zombie, a multiple rum (including high proof) concoction is made to get you into the condition. The other, the Corpse Reviver, was designed to get you out of it. One works, the other doesn’t. As a side note, when these drinks were invented no ever called this drink a #2. That came later, from being listed as the second version of this drink in cocktail guides. Funny that now, no one ever orders a #1!

 Gin Mary (Red Snapper)

1 ½ ounces Gray Whale Gin

6 ounces organic tomato juice

¼ ounce Worcestershire sauce

2 dashes Tabasco

1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

¼ teaspoon prepared horseradish

1 pinch celery seed

Dash of ground cumin

1 lemon wedge

1 dill pickle spear

Combine first 8 ingredients in a mixing glass without ice. Stir to combine. Gently add ice to fill. Squeeze lemon on top and garnish with the pickle spear.

Note: the vodka based Bloody Mary came first, but the Gin Mary (or Red Snapper), is so much more interesting. We use organic juice here because it tastes better, not because it is better for you. I mean, this drink has gin in it, so really, who are we kidding?


12 ounces Sonoma Springs Brewing Company “La Morena” dark Mexican lager

2 ounces chilled organic tomato juice

1 dash Worcestershire sauce

1 dash Tabasco

1 dash Thai fish sauce

1 pinch fresh ground pepper

1 lemon wedge

King Floyds Black Lava Salt for rimming

 Wet beer glass rim with lemon wedge and dip in salt. Shake off excess. Add tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, fish sauce and pepper. Stir gently to combine. Using a small ladle, or a spoon (right side up) slowly layer beer on top by pouring into the “belly” (not the back) of the ladle or spoon and raising it as the liquid rises, making sure to go slowly and create a definitive line between the beer and the juice.

Note: if you don’t feel like making the juice blend, Clamato juice is an excellent substitution. Neither really have a “fish” flavor, but both provide the necessary umami. 

Hair of the Dog

1 ½ ounces Moylan’s Distilling “single malt” American whisky

2 ounces heavy cream (or non-dairy cream substitute)

½ ounce cinnamon honey

½ ounce hot water

Fresh ground nutmeg

Split vanilla bean

 Combine honey and hot water in a tempered mixing glass and allow honey to dissolve. Add ice and then whiskey and cream. Shake gently to combine and then strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with the split vanilla bean and fresh ground nutmeg.

 Note: originally made with Scotch, this drink might be better with the American whiskey. As for its restorative properties, well, whatever we need to tell ourselves.