In the absence of diligent watchdogging on the part of the Food and Drug Administration, the hangover remedy space is pervaded with a “buyer beware” skepticism. Which ones work, and which ones are snake oil?
That’s where I come in. I tested the top sellers one at a time, calibrating my booze intake to precisely what will begin to make me regret my choices the next day (three big glasses of red wine, and the self-flagellating and bleariness set in). While my efforts were hardly scientific, I did it in the name of fun (and I’m certainly not advocating excessive drinking). Here’s what I found, in descending order of efficacy.
Morning Recovery (about $35 for six 3.4-ounce bottles): This is the media darling. Consume the full bottle before your first drink, between drinks or up to one hour after your last drink. I drank it before, and the taste was pleasantly lemony, not viscous, salty or dauntingly large. This was the only one for which I thought, “Wow, I feel great” the next morning, the red wine failing even a glancing blow. Raisin tree extract for the win.
Blowfish (12 tablets for about $12): Pop two effervescent tablets the next morning in a tall glass of water and chugalug. Very reminiscent of Alka-Seltzer, it’s lemony and a little salty, a bit like a fizzy sports drink. It worked swiftly to dispel a burgeoning headache (the magic of the aspirin-caffeine double whammy), but my stomach felt a wee bit delicate the rest of the morning.
B4 (an eight-pack is about $32): This one had some unexpected consequences. Described as “a sunscreen for your liver,” the lightly carbonated, fruity 8.4-ounce canned drink should be consumed just before you start drinking, and I’m not going to lie, it tastes pretty awful. Said to contain electrolytes, amino acids, vitamins, plant extracts, antioxidants and minerals that protect against alcohol’s effects, it’s really a B-vitamin bomb. The next morning at the gym I kept detecting whiffs of multivitamin and realized, with chagrin, it was me seeping B vitamins out of my pores.
DrinkAde (a six-pack for about $24.99): This one changed its name from Never Too Hungover to DrinkAde in 2018 and offers a Prevention 3.4-ounce lemony drink you consume before drinking, and a berry-flavored (let’s just say purple-flavored) Boost drink with B vitamins and a hit of caffeine you take the next day. The Boost’s taste will get your attention. It’s like Robitussin had a love child with colonoscopy prep drink. It made me shudder, and while the caffeine wallop made my heart race, the red wine won on this one.
Rebound (a sleeve of six patches for $7.99): This is a small, white, square patch one applied an hour before drinking, preferably on a body part with little hair (it comes with a hilarious cartoon diagram of sausage-looking fingers attempting to peel off the patch and apply). The major ingredients are B-12 and other B vitamins, raisin tree extract, turmeric and milk thistle. After wearing mine for eight hours and feeling no discernible benefit, I painstakingly peeled it off my arm, leaving a perfect red square of angry epidermis to ponder as I nursed my hangover.