Many visitors to Villa St Simon ask me about hangovers. What causes them? How can we cure them? Does everybody get them? etc…
If you only drink Bordeaux wine and little else alcoholic, then hangovers and headaches are not part of your vocabulary or life. Good Bordeaux’s are incapable of causing such pain.
Hangovers generally have three causes:
1 Dehydration: more urine is passed, than the fluid intake. The only part of the body that is not dehydrated is the brain, which is swollen and waterlogged as a result of transient damage to it’s cells and thus compressed.
2 Low Blood Sugar: The sugar in the alcohol has stimulated insulin production and blood sugar is very low. This hypoglycaemia leads to sweating, headache, dizziness and blurred vision.
3 Nausea: Resulting from inflammation of the stomach walls and the gut from being bathed in alcohol.
As everybody knows the average alcohol content of a good Bordeaux is 12.5 % so each bottle contains 87% water preventing dehydration in 1 above. The relatively low alcohol content of good Bordeaux’s also preempts 2 above and any stomach walls or gut that becomes inflamed from good Bordeaux,(3 above) just dont deserve the greatest wines in the world.
We always tell our guests at Villa St Simon that they will never experience the wrath of grapes if they stick to good (not necessarily expensive) Bordeaux. Low sulfite levels, aforesaid average of 12.5%alcohol and low levels of pesticides in the vineyards ensure this. So we are able to quaff reasonable quantities of these stunning wines, without consequences.
Poor souls who drink lots of new world wines, or who mix their drinks, tend to feel very different the next day. Their bodies are there, but the souls are missing.
As we rate wines, so one scribe has classified hangovers and we reproduce these ratings for you. Sadly we dont know the author and if any of you do please tell us so that we can acknowlege, him/her.
1 STAR HANGOVERS
No pain. No feeling of illness. You slept in your own bed and when you woke up there were no traffic cones in there with you.You are still able to function relatively well on the energy stored up from all those vodka and Red Bulls.
However, you can drink 10 bottles of water and still feel as parched as the Sahara.
Even vegetarians are craving a cheeseburger and a bag of fries.
2 STAR HANGOVERS
No pain, but something is definitely amiss. You may look okay, but you have the attention span and mental capacity of a stapler.
The coffee you hug to try and remain focused is only exacerbating your rumbling gut, which is craving a full English breakfast.
Although you have a nice demeanour about the office, you are costing your employer valuable money, because all you really can handle, is some light filing, followed by aimlessly surfing the net and writing junk emails.
3 STAR HANGOVERS
Slight headache. Stomach feels crap You are definitely a space cadet and not so productive.
Anytime a girl or lad walks by you gag because the perfume/after shave reminds you of the random gin shots you did with your alcoholic friends after the bouncer kicked you out at 1.45 am.
Life would be better right now, if you were in your bed with a kebab and a litre of coke watching daytime TV.
You’ve had 4 cups of coffee, a gallon of water, 6 chicken nuggets and a litre of diet coke, yet you haven’t peed once.
4 STAR HANGOVERS
You have lost the will to live. Your head is throbbing and you can’t speak too quickly or you might spew.
Your boss has already lambasted you for being late, and has given you a lecture for reeking of booze.
You wore nice clothes, but you smell of socks, and you can’t hide the fact that you (depending on your gender) either missed an oh-so crucial spot shaving, or, it looks like you put your make up on while riding the dodgems.
Your teeth have their own individual sweaters. Your eyes look like one big vein and your hairstyle makes you look like a reject from a second grade class circa 1976.
You would give a weeks pay for one of the following:
a cheeseburger and somewhere to be alone.
a Time Machine so you could go back and NOT have gone out the night before.
You scare small children in the street just by walking past them.
5 STAR HANGOVERS
You have a second heartbeat in your head, which is actually annoying the employee who sits next to you.
Vodka vapor is seeping out of every pore and making you dizzy.
You still have toothpaste crust in the corners of your mouth from brushing your teeth.
Your body has lost the ability to generate saliva, so your tongue is suffocating you.
You’d cry but that would take the last drop of moisture left in your body.
Death seems pretty good right now. Your boss doesn’t even get mad at you and your co-workers think that your dog just died because you look so pathetic. You should have called in sick, because lets face it, all you can manage to do is breathe….. very gently.
6 STAR HANGOVERS
You arrive home and climb into bed.
Sleep comes instantly, as you were fighting it all the way home in a taxi.
You get about 2 hours sleep until the noises inside your head wake you up.
You notice that your bed has been cleared for take off and is flying relentlessly around the room.
No matter what you do now you are going to chuck.
You stumble out of bed and now find that your room is in a yacht under full sail.
After walking along the skirting boards on alternating walls you find the toilet.
If you are lucky, you will remember to lift the lid, before you spontaneously explode and wake the whole house up with your impression of walrus mating calls.
You sit on the floor in your undies, cuddling the only friend in the world that you have left (the toilet), randomly continuing to make the walrus noises, spitting and farting. Help usually comes at this stage, even if it is short lived.
Tears stream down your face and your abdomen hurts. Help now turns into abuse and your partner goes back to bed leaving you in the dark.
With your stomach totally empty, your spontaneous eruptions have died back to 15 minute intervals, but your body won’t relent.
You are convinced that you are starting to turn yourself inside out, and swear that you saw your tonsils shoot out of your mouth on the last occasion.
It is now dawn, and you pass your disgusted partner getting up for the day, as you try to climb into bed. They abuse you for trying to get into bed with lumpy bits of dried vomit in your hair.
You reluctantly accept their advice and have a shower in exchange for them driving you to the hospital.
Work is simply not an option.
The whole day is spent, trying to avoid anything that might make you sick again. Like moving.
You vow never to touch a drop again, and who knows , for the next two or three hours you might even succeed.
OK so whether you have a one star or a six star hangover you need help.
Firstly drink plenty of fluids to counteract rehydration, toast and marmalade for the hypoglycemia. An antacid for the stomach, and a paracetamol for the headache will work.
Peppermint or Camomile tea, rice toast,organic tomato juice are all little helpers. Honey, grated ginger with fruit juice will all wake up your system.
A prairie oyster, pepper, egg yolks, tomato juice and Worcester sauce provide carbohydrates to counteract low blood sugar.
The hair of the dog, means more alcohol, which neutralizes noxious chemicals from congeners. The most famous of these, is is from D.H.Harris the chemists in London’s St James. Otherwise a Bloody Mary should do it.
When we next rake up this messy subject we will give you the best of Salvatore Calabrese’s cure alls, including the Corpse Reviver, Blood transfusion and the award winning cocktail The Virgin Lea.