If you think you’ve tried everything and you’re desperate, here are some appalling hangover cures from the 19th century.
When we take a look at our history to think about the unsettling things that our ancestors did or had to deal with on a daily basis, we’re generally overcome by relief. We love to read those stories about the past because they give us the satisfactory certainty that things are way better now. But when it comes to hangover cures, we’re not that advanced at all. Each weekend, millions of people google the words “hangover cure” to see what the Internet has to say about this perpetually annoying issue. So, if you think you’ve tried everything and you’re quite desperate, we can take a look at the past and find solutions we would've never imagined. Here are some appalling options from the nineteenth century that probably won’t cure your hangover but will keep you distracted (and disgusted) until your body recovers 24 hours later.
The Prairie Oyster
The famous prairie oyster isn’t an oyster. Unless you have a particularly strange and exotic set of items in your kitchen, this cocktail is the only one from this list that you’ll be able to make easily. Its ingredients are a raw egg, tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, vinegar, salt, and black pepper. When doing it, make sure you don’t break the yolk as you pour it into the glass. The intact yolk is what inspired the name of the cocktail: its texture resembles the texture of an oyster. Sounds great, right? Not gross at all.
Its first appearance was in 1878 at the Paris World Exposition. Since then, this cocktail has been frequently mentioned in popular culture as a hangover cure, since it became popular during the late nineteenth century in New England. Apparently, its main ingredient (the egg) is what accelerates your recovery. You should try it. Even James Bond has had one of these for breakfast.
Being a cowboy in the American West was not easy, so you might want to give this one a second thought. Just picture a tall, serious, manly man wearing a hat and stepping out of his ranch to delicately pick up little pieces of shit, rabbit’s shit, specifically, to prepare some tea, of course. Hey, if nutrients are lacking, you need to get them where you can. And cowboy’s options included these animals’ excrement. Today you don’t really need to eat poop to get some potassium and ease the symptoms of a hangover. But don’t you want to live the cowboy experience to its fullest? Just think about it.
There must be some truth to this because people from two different places that have nothing to do with each other have considered it good for hangovers. First, Bolivia. There, bull penis soup has been the national hangover cure for many years. According to their recipes, the bull’s privates (a foot-and-a-half in length) take over 10 hours to be prepared, as many other ingredients are added to the broth, like lamb and chicken, boiled eggs, and potatoes.
Now, compare this way of cooking a penis with Sicily’s old method. Sicilian people used to eat it dry. They just chewed on it on Sunday mornings after the parties. Sadly, the date of origin of this hangover cure is unknown, but it’s still fun to think about the first person who tried it.
You know the Victorians and their silly ideas. In the nineteenth century, people thought it was a great idea to pour vinegar straight into a person’s throat before they passed out while being drunk. Vinegar was thought to be the quickest way to alleviate a hangover and make a drunk person sober up. But it was necessary to drink an entire glass. You might want to try this in case you’re having a hard time trying to find bull penises or if you don’t have any rabbits around.
Burying yourself alive
At least as the stereotype says, Irish people are known for being able to handle a considerable amount of alcohol. So they must have pretty good ideas about possible hangover cures. Irish folklore tells us that going down to the river and burying ourselves up to our necks in moist (and very cold) sand is a great way to get the blood pumping. Apparently, it has a cleansing effect. Are you up for it? If you don’t live anywhere near a cold river, you can try to create the same effect in your apartment with some dirt and ice.
Collect your sweat and take a sip
Of course I saved the best one for last. This method comes from a few Native American tribes that believe that licking your own sweat can alleviate the effects of your terrible hangover. You’re supposed to find the energy and the will power to get up and work out that sweat, which is really hard to do if you’re in the middle of an intense hangover, but the next part is the truly difficult one. Is it a good idea to lick what your body decided to expel? Probably not. You’re not supposed to swallow it. Working out is probably the effective part of this solution, so just try that.
After reading about these hangover cures, you’re probably thinking that modern bad advices and methods like “Just keep drinking” or “Stop drinking” aren't that bad. But now that you know them, you can mix them up and make your own disgusting cure for a desperate friend or for yourself.
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Images by Corbin Chase.