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Remedies for the morning after: 12 hangover cures from around Europe

Remedies for the morning after: 12 hangover cures from around Europe
Remedies for the morning after: 12 hangover cures from around Europe Copyright Canva
Copyright Canva
By David Mouriquand
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From pickle juice to vodka socks and bird droppings, here are the post-drinking cures you may need in your life after a big night like the 31st...


Before you start thinking about your new year's resolutions, all those promises to hit the gym, the prospect of dry January or Veganuary, you’ll first need to get rid of your hangover.

Drink responsibly and all that, but we all know that the evening of the 31st rhymes with jettisoning your best intentions into the sun and over-indulging when it comes to the hooch.

Lucky for you that we’re here to share the go-to hangover remedies around Europe. You may not be familiar with some of these, and they could help ensure a smoother start to your new year.

Katerfrühstück (Germany)


There’s word for everything in Germany. A hangover is known as Katzenjammer – literally ‘cats wailing’. So its no surprise that their hangover breakfast is Katerfrühstück - or ‘Tomcat’s snack'. It features a pickled herring wrapped around pickled cucumbers and onions. It works, but do expect your breath to be able to sheer sheep. And make cats wail a little louder.

Herring salad (Belgium)


Akin to the German hangover cure, but arguably a little tastier, the Belgians go for marinated herring with onions, peppers, yoghurt and paprika. The yoghurt really does help.

Pickle brine (Poland)


Poles favour downing a glass of brine from sour pickles to ease the morning doldrums. As you may have noticed from the first three entries on this list, pickles are central to getting hung-under, purely because their concentration of potassium and sodium helps replenish your electrolytes. Some bars even offer a shot of Bourbon with a pickle juice chaser.

Brandy-infused sparrow droppings or Korhely soup (Hungary)


Yep, it’s a thing – and probably the one we’d least recommend on this list. Some Hungarians apparently believe that adding sparrow droppings to brandy will help alleviate a hangover. Quite why is beyond us, but full marks for originality and making the cure sound worse than the ailment itself. However, if you do manage to convince a wee sparrow to come defecate into your glass, call a circus. Fame and fortune are just around the corner. Perhaps the more sensible and safe solution lies in a bowl of korhely soup, a classic consisting of finely chopped onions, diced bacon, red peppers and sauerkraut.

Vodka socks (Estonia)


An old-fashioned Estonian remedy that is one of our favourites. It involves soaking a pair of socks in vodka, wearing them under another pair of thick socks, and sitting back with a cup of hot tea. There is method to this madness, as it’s all about fighting fire with fire – the vodka and hot tea will induce the sweats and therefore release the toxins from your system.

Stews and soups (France)


The French love a hearty stew or an onion soup to cure hangovers, and they’re spot on. The saltier the better in order to cure the morning after shakes. They also have a tendency to make cassoulet, a traditional dish composed of white beans, sausages, meat, and goose fat. It keeps the alcohol from settling into your blood, but good luck if you’re not feeling peckish. 

Midnight spaghetti (Italy)


If you’ve still got your wits about you at the stroke of midnight, you could do a lot worse than follow the Italian example of throwing together a spaghettata di mezzanotte - a ‘Midnight spaghetti’. There’s no real trick to it – it'll just be tasty and absorb excess alcohol. The preferred dish is Aglio e Olio – the deliciously simple dish from Naples, for which you’ll need spaghetti, garlic, olive oil and chillis. And if you’ve got any self-respect, don’t forget the chopped parsley as a garnish.

Pizzle (Sicily)


One of the more gag-worthy entries perhaps, but for anyone who’s tried it, you’ll know it’s not that bad. It’s actually rather good. The traditional snack for a hungover Sicilian is a dried bull’s penis. Believed to be chock-a-block full of proteins, vitamins and minerals, this old-school remedy was also meant to enhance masculinity. It’s not as popular now as it once was, but again, if you can find some thin strips of the dried muscle, you won’t find it much different to beef jerky.

Tripe soup (Romania)


Much like the French, Romanians know that hot soups after a long night are always a good idea. However, they take it up a notch. When hungover, the Romanians turn to ciorba de burta (tripe soup). Indeed, the digestive tract of pigs or cows is made into a soup by boiling the innards with garlic and onion, and the essential fatty acids, protein, and salt speed up the recovery process.

Bacon (England)


Whether it's a humble bacon sandwich or a full English breakfast / fry up, fried bacon can provide all the amino acids you’re missing. And it’s tasty-good.

IRN-BRU (Scotland)


The Scots swear by the carbonated orange soft drink IRN-BRU to revive them after a big night out. And if you’ve ever gone out in Scotland and the locals think this helps, you know they’re onto something.

Sand. Lots of sand. (Ireland)


While a lot of the remedies on this list involve food and drinks, the Irish have another solution when you wake up feeling like a bat has shit in your head: sand. And plenty of it. You see, Irish legend claims burying yourself up to your neck in the cold sand gets your blood pumping and wakes you up. Makes sense. So, silt up this first of the month!

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