New Year's Eve is the booziest holiday of the year, meaning chances are high you're going to wake up on New Year's Day with an epic hangover, not the best way to kick off our next spin around the sun. So, we talked to three chefs—Ed Lee of Succotash in Washington, D.C., among others, Michael Mina of his eponymous restaurant group and one-MICHELIN-starred restaurant in San Francisco and John Mooney of Bidwell in Washington, D.C., and New York City's Bell Book & Candle—who generously shared their tips, tricks and techniques to help you avoid (or at least minimize) a hangover.
You're welcome—and happy New Year.
Don't Mix and Match
"Just stick to one thing," says Mina, who is partial to tequila. Whatever you begin drinking at the start of the night should be all you drink throughout the festivities. Combining a mishmash of spirits, beers and wines can wreak havoc on your body in the moment—and the next morning.
Champagne Can Be Your Friend
"I've drunk more bottles of Champagne than I could count and woken up the next day feeling great," Lee says. "But the trick is it has to be the really good stuff." Sorry, but that $8 bottle of pink brut you bought does not count.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate (Within Reason)
There's oft-given advice to balance each alcoholic beverage with a full glass of water. "In reality, that's impossible," Lee says, "because you'll just end up going to the bathroom every 10 seconds." Instead drink water steadily throughout the night and make sure to have a large bottle waiting for you at home to chug before you go to bed.
"It's what happens at the end of the night—usually shots—that totally destroys you," Mooney says. Resist the urge to order a few quick goodbye rounds before your Lyft arrives. The last thing you need before you crash is a huge infusion of alcohol into your bloodstream. Go for a group hug instead.
Salt Is Your Enemy
One of the main drivers of a hangover is intense dehydration. That's why you should avoid eating salty foods while you're partying or in the aftermath as they will intensify your dehydration. Fried chicken with a side of fries seems like a great idea, but you will be better served by eating fresh veggies or a lightly seasoned lean protein. "No one wants to think about eating avocados when they're drinking, but they probably should," Lee says.
Wake Up with a Toke (or a Bite)
"I've always been a huge marijuana proponent," Mooney says. "It'll put you back on the right side of things quickly." It's your choice whether you smoke, vape, eat or take a tincture.
Nourish Yourself the Next Morning
"Loading up on grease doesn't help anything but your mind," Mina says. He recommends kusherie—his favorite comfort food from his childhood in Egypt—a mix of sautéed lentils and rice topped with tomato sauce and browned tomatoes. If you need a little hair of the dog to go with it, Mina is a big fan of Bloody Marías made with his wife's Bloody Mary mix.
The last thing you want to do when you're hungover is be active, but that's exactly what you need to do. "You need to get your blood pumping and your adrenaline going," Lee says. "It may take a little while, but soon enough you'll be feeling good again." Just don't forget to change out of your party gear before you go to the gym.
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