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Hideous Hangover Cure
Spike likes his hideous hangover cure with gin.

"No, no, no," said the Dean. "This can't be right. Everyone knows a good hangover cure has got to involve a lot of humourous shouting, etcetera."

The only reliable cure for hangovers is time and lots of water, but that doesn't stop fictional characters from trying all sorts of other methods to speed up the process. The Hideous Hangover Cure comes in two varieties, the first is something that will catapult you back into full sobriety within minutes, sometimes even seconds. The second variety is the one you take to stop feeling awful the next day.

Regardless of the intent, it's almost always a vile concoction, whether it's provided by a bartender or a well-meaning friend. To qualify for this trope, the cure must be effective (or at least the character proffering it must believe it is); otherwise this is just "let's play pranks with the drunk guy."

Note that "Hair of the Dog" (having a little more of the same stuff that caused your problem in the first place) does not count as an example of this trope, considering that it's not hideous at all, and is in fact mildly awesome. Hey, it's an excuse to be drunk while the sun's up!

Often involves Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce. Related to It Tastes Like Feet (because it usually does), Gargle Blaster (because it usually requires one), and I Drank What? (a common response from the subject afterward).


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Utawarerumono: Oboro accepts a hangover cure from village medic Eruruu. There isn't any buildup or indication of a gag, but the poor man's expression after throwing it back, along with the fact that it gives him convulsions and nearly kills him makes it fall squarely under this trope. He even forces her to add something to make it taste sweeter.
  • In Wolf's Rain, Hubb gives Quent a sobriety pill so that Quent can spend some time behind the wheel. The only side effect is excessive urination.
  • While she meant to clear the head of a fever and not alcohol, Mahou Sensei Negima!'s Chizuru is rather infamous for this. Just don't say the word "leek" around Kotaro...
  • Spike from Cowboy Bebop appears fond of the Prairie Oyster (see Real Life entry below) (apparently seasoned with a little gin) as a hangover cure. His hangover is so bad that ruining his egg yolk drives him to singlehandedly beat the piss out of all involved brawlers and make it again. Spike generally likes to make his enemies look like jackasses and plays around with them in a fight, that time, however, he just curb-stomped them out of hangover-rage.

    Comics 
  • In the Astérix comic book Asterix and the Laurel Wreath, Asterix and Obelix unintentionally invent an extremely powerful Hideous Hangover Cure (it should be mentioned that its ingredients included soap and a full chicken with all its feathers ) for the Roman family they are temporarily serving as slaves. (They just had planned to cook up something inedible to be... fired isn't the right word, but you know what I mean.) In the last page of the comic the narrator states that this potion induced Romans to drink in excess without regard for consequences, thus contributing to the decline of their Empire.
  • From Buck Godot, there's "Thank Prime", a mixture that we never learn the ingredients for, but it's apparently ultra-effective, instantaneously curing a hivemind-sized hangover with no side-effects... its taste is never brought up. Of course, the first one to drink it was so hung over he was hoping it would be poison.
  • One issue of Cerebus the Aardvark features a drug that cures drunkenness — by turning it into an instant hangover. After receiving it Cerebus requests "a dozen raw eggs, twelve gallons of water and some hot towels", presumably for curing the hangover.
  • In Lanfeust de Troy, Master Nicoledes produces this cure to make quick cash. One of the main ingredients of the cure is fresh dung.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Avatar: The Last Airbender fanfic Three Years at Sea, Zuko's crew swears by a noxious mixture of century eggs, stinky tofu, and kimchee all drenched in hot sauce.
  • Subverted in the Lost Girl fanfic Faeral. A hungover Kenzi begs Lauren for a remedy, only for Lauren to tell her the only true remedies are water and time. She also advises against coffee, but does make something else that Kenzi insists tastes like cat pee. Hale eventually uses his Siren whistle to calm it, but that wears off too. Finally Lauren just rigs an IV, and later buys her a beer hat that's holding electrolyte drinks.

    Film 
  • The "Wake-Up Juice" from Back to the Future III. This is an actual legit drink, the Bull Shot, a variant on the well-known Bloody Mary. It consists of one ounce of club soda, two ounces of beef broth, one ounce of tomato juice, one teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, quarter of a teaspoon of lemon juice, three dashes of Tabasco-Habanero sauce, and some dried garlic. It immediately causes the Doc to holler and rush to the nearby water trough without waking up. Explanation? "That's just a reflex reaction. He won't be awake for another 10 minutes."
    • Though this was used to wake him up, and he apparently had a headache afterward.
  • Sally Bowles from Cabaret swears by Prairie Oysters. Drink it from the tooth glass and it tastes just like peppermint!
  • John Wayne's character uses one of these on the drunk sheriff in the classic Western El Dorado. One of the ingredients is gunpowder (along with cayenne pepper, hot mustard, ipecac, asafoetida, and croton oil).
  • The Hairy Bird: Momo gives Ipecac to the boys of St. Ambrose Academy, causing a Vomit Chain Reaction.
  • In Reno 911!: Miami, a hungover Deputy Junior drops a shot into a cup filled with Pepto-Bismol and chugs the concoction while sitting on a toilet.
  • In the remake of The Parent Trap, the bartender hands Elizabeth a mysterious red substance. "This'll cure anything you've got. Just don't ask what's in it." Upon consumption she lets out an impressive belch before she coughs out "I think I just drank tar."
  • In Revenge of the Nerds, the Japanese student wins a tricycle-riding contest because he's given a prophylactic dose of an instant-sobriety drug, hence is unimpaired when he has to chug a beer after every lap.
  • In My Man Godfrey, Godfrey gives Mrs. Bullock "Pixie Remover," namely tomato juice and lots of Worcestershire sauce.
  • Rigby Reardon in Dead Men Dont Wear Plaid makes coffee to sober up his partner Marlowe. He makes it by pouring grounds into a saucepan and beating an egg into them. This is a legitimate, if largely forgotten, way of making coffee: when the egg sets up it traps the grounds, removing the need for a filter. It does taste different from normal coffee — and of course the amount of ground coffee Reardon uses is obscene.

    Literature 
  • In The Restaurant at the End of the Universe we are introduced to a machine which, through the application of flashing lights and various noxious gases, can reverse even the effects of the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster. It is placed (rather responsibly) near the ship hangars. This placement seems to be the only semblance of responsibility in Douglas Adams's entire universe.
  • Discworld novels
    • The ultimate hangover cure appears in Hogfather. The wizards of Unseen University mix together every hangover cure they can think of, including a whole bottle of Wow-Wow sauce (the ultimate hot sauce, which distressingly contains two-thirds of the active ingredients in gunpowder) and at least three magic spells, they end up with a glowing, effervescent beaker containing "the essence of pure sobriety". It goes down easy and has no lasting side effects for the drinker, Bilious, the oh god of Hangovers, but this is because Bilious gets his perpetual hangover from the drinks consumed by Bibulous, the God of Wine. So naturally, Bibulous ends up getting the "humorous side effects" of the hangover cure. Up on Cori Celesti, he starts to hear some kind of "descending note" - and then we cut back to the horrified wizards magically watching.
    • The famous Klatchian Coffee, which can take you from drunkenness to sobriety and right the way through to a terrifying state beyond sobriety, where you see everything as it truly is. This is known as being "knurd". Aficionados tend to drink large amounts of alcohol before indulging in Klatchian Coffee to offset the effect. Alcohol made out of scorpion venom mind you. Being knurd must be pretty horrible if people will drink that to avoid it.
    • In The Last Continent Crocodile Crocodile tells Rincewind that the cure for too much beer is "more beer".
  • In Sergey Lukyanenko's Night Watch (distinct from Pratchett's Night Watch), there is a very simple spell that can sober anyone up within a few minutes... but it involves the person throwing up on the spot, so it's messy. What's more, it cannot be blocked by any means (at least, it has never been blocked in the books).
  • In the first Jeeves and Wooster story, Jeeves gets the job by curing Bertie's hangover, and afterwards often dispenses the concoction following Bertie's latest night on the town. As in Cabaret, Jeeves' mixture includes eggs and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Robert A. Heinlein uses several of these. In I Will Fear No Evil hangovers are cured by a thermos of coffee with a Danish pastry and by a Silver Fizz made with vodka instead of gin. In Glory Road another cure is mentioned with unspecified ingredients, but the mnemonic used to remember them is the witches' lines from Macbeth ("Eye of newt and toe of frog...")
  • It is mentioned in one Star Wars novel that there are anti-veisalgia drugs one can take to prevent winding up with a hangover.
  • The Drive-Right pill in Harry Harrison's The Stainless Steel Rat's Revenge. It's a small round pill that will make you absolutely stone cold sober seconds after swallowing it... it's completely black except for a skull and crossbones on each side. Unfortunately it's rather unpleasant to take.
  • H. Beam Piper referred in Space Viking to "alcodote-vitimine" pills which prevent the user from getting drunk no matter how much he drinks. Rather disappointing to a man who'd like to get wasted enough to forget what he saw and did on his first Viking raid.
  • In The Court of a Thousand Suns by Alan Cole and Chris Bunch, the hero gets drunk with his boss, the Eternal Emperor, who then sobers them up with "Angelo stew."
    Sten swallowed. The Angelo stew savored his tongue, and then gobbled down his throat to his stomach. A small nuclear flame bloomed, and his eyes teared and his nose wept and his ears turned bright red. The Stregg in his bloodstream fled before a horde of hot-pepper molecules.
  • The "kill or cure" hangover remedy Daisy administers to Fat Charlie in Anansi Boys contains (among other things) egg yolk, Worcestershire and Tabasco sauce, salt and vodka. This is his reaction when he throws it back:
    Fat Charlie: Oh my God.
    Daisy: Yeah. But you're still alive.
    • Looks like a Bull Shot, based on the ingredients.
  • A Wing Commander novel featured Life of the Party Ace Pilot Hunter unexpectedly having his leave canceled, just after a night full of drinking incredibly potent alien alcohol. So when he's picked up in the morning, the fleet puts him through a clinical hangover cure referred to as 'the green goop', complete with several pages of an agonized reaction to it.
  • In Enemy Hands has Theisman use an inhaler to sober up. It's explicitly described to be a very unpleasant system shock, but it's not specified if the vomiting a few pages later is because of the drug or realizing he had accidentally given Cordelia Ransom ideas on how not to get caught mistreating prisoners of war.
  • In Dorothy L. Sayer's Gaudy Night, a female student is badly hung over. Harriet Vane writes out a recipe for a hangover remedy and tells another student to go to the chemist (Americans would say 'drug store') and have them make up a batch. It works. The book doesn't say what's in it.

    Live Action TV 
  • The Prairie Oyster also makes an appearance in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, given to a drunken daughter of a Chinese investor. Apparently, they don't help when you're drunk, only make things worse.
  • Red Dwarf has both versions of these. "Gunmen of the Apocalypse" has a character forced to eat a bowlful of coffee-grounds to cause sobriety and in another ep it's established that Lister drinks cold curry sauce the morning after a heavy night.
  • Brainiac: Science Abuse once did an experiment to find which of three hangover cures worked best (Greasy breakfast, hair of the dog, or nothing at all). Hair of the dog had good short term effects (because the body stops working on the difficult to process stuff which causes hangovers and starts on the easier just added alcohol) but bad long term (you just delay your hangover for the same reason). A greasy breakfast was the best of the options presented.
  • Bottom does this with a concoction made out of various kitchen-cleaning chemicals and a few organic ingredients (past their expiration date, for preference). It has to be taken through the nose.
  • MythBusters tested four sober-up-quick methods: black coffee, vigorous exercise, dunking the head in ice water, and being slapped in the face. While they didn't show the breathalyzer results, exercise and the slap did cause improvements on the hand-eye coordination test. (Those two tests also provided some hysterical high-speed footage.)
    • Oddly enough, the only cure close enough to qualify for this trope was the black coffee. Which doesn't seem anywhere near as bad as some of the other 'cures'.
      • Have you ever tried running on a treadmill while drunk? Anything short of eating nails would be more pleasant.
      • As evidenced by Adam, who fell over, managed to right himself, and tried to get back on the treadmill.
  • Strop's hangover cure from The Paul Hogan Show: an oyster, a raw egg, salt, pepper, Vegemite and beer. The most remarkable aspect is that the actor actually mixed and drank this concoction in front of the cameras before dashing off the set to throw up.
    • No the amazing thing is he mixed TWO, and managed to drink the first one without throwing up
  • In 30 Rock episode Generalissimo, after Tracy goes out with the new interns and has a huge hangover, Kenneth gets his uncle Harlan's hangover cure.
    Kenneth: Mix two cups boiled possum meat with one messload ragweed. Stir in alcohol-
  • In Mash episode "A Night at Rosie's," Rosie brings the passed-out random major they found her coffee.
    Rosie: Don't worry, Radar. Even if he's dead, my coffee will bring him back.
    Radar: What's in it?
    Rosie: Just coffee, egg, and a little gunpowder!
    Radar: That's dangerous!
    Rosie: Yeah.
  • Get Smart had a curious cross between this and the Gargle Blaster: A pill intended to be covertly held in the mouth which absorbs all the alcohol from drinks before you swallow them, but if itself swallowed, will instantly render you drop-dead drunk.
  • During the California series of Oz And James's Big Wine Adventure, James spends a morning cooking these for a hungover and very surly Oz, using miscellaneous and leftover food items found in their RV fridge.
  • An episode of Brotherly Love had the mom making a hangover cure for the eldest brother. She never said what was in it, but, "If it starts to taste like ranch dressing you're drinking it too slowly."
  • Used on Twin Peaks. When Sheriff Truman has a hangover, Agent Cooper and Cole list the ingredients of their own personal hangover cures. They're so disgusting, Sheriff Truman rushes to the bathroom to vomit. (Which was the real 'hangover cure' all along.)
  • Sanford and Son featured one at least once. It contains BBQ sauce, OJ, a raw egg, Tabasco, and three other liquids from unrecognizable bottles or shades from brown to red.
  • In Supernatural, Dean tells Sam the best cure for a hangover is a greasy pork sandwich served in a dirty ashtray. However, instead of being hungover, Sam was still very visibly drunk (as in, head in toilet bowl drunk). Dean's intention was probably to make Sam puke again, and try to get the alcohol out of his system before the hangover hit him like a bulldozer the next day. How effective that really is remains to be seen.
  • Subverted in "Bringing Up Baby," the fourth-season premiere of Modern Family. Claire offers her daughter Haley, who won't directly admit to her mother that she was drinking, a blended mix of perfectly vile ingredients on the morning after her last prom. She drinks half the glass and runs away to throw up, after which Claire admits to her other daughter that it was never intended as a hangover cure.
  • Somewhat inverted in the penultimate episode of Cheers. Woody successfully cured his hangover with a cure that worked all the time in Hanover: put on your pajamas, take an aspirin with a glass of water, then vomit till your nose bleeds and you see the angels.
  • Paige is shown making one in an episode of Charmed, with the requisite raw egg thrown in with who knows what else in a blender, to give to Piper.
  • Barney from How I Met Your Mother has the Stinson Hangover Fixer Elixir, which he claims was invented by his ancestor Barney Stinsonheimer, commissioned by President Roosevelt as part of the Too-Many-Manhattans Project. Ingredients include ginger, Tantrum soda, Funyuns, grease, and a secret ingredient. Amazingly enough, it works, but when the others try to make one for Barney, they discover that there was no secret ingredient; the elixir only worked because they thought it would.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Deadlands Classic had a small spell (termed a "trick") named coffin varnish that Hucksters could use to conjure a thick, black liquid reminiscent of two-day old coffee mixed with a small amount of corn starch and kerosene. Sure, It Tastes Like Feet, but it does help with hangovers.
  • Rolemaster Shadow World supplement Jaiman: Land of Twilight. Eating the fruit of the Siene bush cleanses the body of any intoxicant (such as alcohol) in seconds and can cure hangovers, thus making it a rare example of both types of this trope.

    Video Games 
  • The Curse of Monkey Island has a particularly useful one. All it takes is an egg, some pepper, and the hair of the dog that bit you. Dangerous if mixed, and surprisingly so for a LucasArts game.
    • The hard part is finding a sufficiently angry/careless dog.
  • There is an Alka-seltzer looking concoction in Conkers Bad Fur Day that seems to cure hangovers like a miracle, including the little Harp sound.
  • Your Russian buddy in Tony Hawk's Underground (the first) gets drunk, and you need to help him clear his hangover. Cure consists of pills, rotten eggs, vodka, dog shavings, unknown liquids, vodka, grapes, more vodka, and other curious ingredients.
  • Runescape has a quest where you need to cure a man of a hangover to proceed. The cure is a mix of chocolate milk and snape grass.

    Web Comics 
  • An Inversion is found in A Modest Destiny, where the only way the alcoholic could be revived after extensive injuries is an alcohol drip.
  • Piffany from Nodwick has a sobriety spell that isn't so much a Hideous Hangover Cure as it is a Hideous Hangover Cause; it will even have this effect if the person who cops Piffany's stick to his head is stone-cold sober, much to Nodwick's chagrin.
  • One strip of Girls with Slingshots has Jamie feed Hazel a cup of what Jameson later points out is "disgusting cold coffee". Jamie's reply? "It was until I said it was a hangover cure."
  • Spacetrawler has a rather unpopular drink called "drunk-kicker" which crams a day's worth of hangover into about five seconds.
  • In this College Roomies from Hell!!! strip, Roger finds that having a leech attach to his tongue cures his hangover. Mike helpfully Lampshades the equally hideous reversal of the usual sort of Hideous Hangover Cure.

    Web Original 
  • The SCP Foundation has SCP-294, a vending machine capable of dispensing any liquid imaginable. Someone once made the mistake of asking it for a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, the after-effects of which included a headache that was only relieved by consuming an entire bottle of Excedrin. note 
  • DC Nation's Green Shield whipped up a obnoxious-tasting, but effective, hangover cure that she dubbed "the Caleb Zukov" after a team-mate she found obnoxious but effective.

    Real Life 
  • Prairie Oyster. Actually most of The Other Wiki's article on the drink is them doing our job for us.
  • Water is touted by the health sciences community as being the best thing for a hangover, the argument being that the splitting headache is a result of massive dehydration. Some take aspirin along with their water. However, dehydration is only one of the reasons to hangover headache, the other being toxic action of acetaldehyde, the alcohol metabolite. So rehydration only lowers the headache, but does not remove it completely. This is why you include the pain reliever. Consult a doctor — or at least someone vaguely familiar with basic medicine — to choose which one.
    • IV fluids and vitamins also seem fairly popular.
  • Bacon sandwich. Only hideous if you're barred from eating pork products, though. However, other meats as well as eggs in sandwiches — or simply with bread — work almost as well. Come to think of of it, this is probably where the Full English (and Scottish and Welsh and Irish) Breakfast comes from: bacon, check; eggs, check; bread, check...and sausages (for even more fatty meat), plus tomatoes (vitamins, I guess?), beans (you've got us there), and tea (whose caffeine content doesn't do you any favours, but considering that tea has relatively little caffeinenote  and the psychological benefits are massive, so it's a net plus).
    • Now it makes even more sense that Vimes loves bacon sandwiches so much.
  • Speaking of eggs, raw owls' eggs were a common cure for hangovers in Ancient Rome.
  • An easier to obtain way of getting rid of a hangover is to get a cup, fill it about a little over 2/3rds of the way with tomato juice. Then pepper the hell out of the surface with Tobasco sauce. Horrible taste, horrible after-effects (be prepared to spend a while in the restroom) but it gets rid of your hangover fast.
  • Narcan (naloxone), when injected into the victim of a heroin overdose, reverses the drug's effect completely and has saved many lives as a result. (It's also gotten a lot of ambulance officers beaten up because they deprived the patient of their high. It such a big problem that some EMTs are known to give the addicts they're rescuing a bit less Narcan than prescribed for their weight: enough to get them breathing again, but not enough to wake them up completely. In other cases, the beating is somewhat justified because spiteful EMT's occasionally administer Narcan to injured opioid users out of spite.)
  • Gatorade actually started as a semi-Hideous Hangover Cure. In 1965 University of Florida medical researchers created the original Gatorade formula because the Gators' players were showing up to football practice dehydrated and hung over; two years later the team won their first Orange Bowl, which encouraged its creators to remove some of the sourness from the recipe and make it commercially available.
  • A solution practice by medical professionals (but only amongst themselves). 1 liter Hartmann's Solution delivered intravenously! Hartmann's solution (known as Lactated Ringer's in the States, or sodium lactate solution) is basically isotonic salt water that rehydrates and replaces mineral salts in one go and the only cure listed that involves needles.
    • In an episode of House, Cuddy catches Thirteen attempting to recover from a night of debauchery with some sort of self-administered IV solution, which may have been that one.
    • Also featured in an episode of Scrubs.
  • Dialysis apparently works wonders, since it cleans the blood and resets your fluid and sugar levels all in one fell swoop. A perfect solution! ...Except for the whole "having major organ failure" thing. Whether or not that would be preferable to a hangover is left to the reader's discretion.
  • According to the Scottish, Irn Bru. It contains caffeine, quinine (a mild opiate) and lots of sugar. Now you know why it's the most popular soft drink in the country.
    • The incredible amounts of sugar also makes it a good "cure" for overly spicy food. Truly, Irn Bru is the wonder drink!
    • In Ireland, Coca-Cola is sometimes nicknamed "Red Ambulance" because the caffeine and sugar contained in the drink are considered good for treating a hangover.
  • According to the Mexicans, extremely spicy food.
  • Sometimes the best cure there is for a hangover is to puke your guts out. Forcing out the contents of your stomach is meant to keep more alcohol from coming in and making the situation worse. If you're vomiting after heavy drinking, take heed; it's a definite sign your body is in trouble and needs time to get a hold of itself.
  • In Canada, Poutine (french fries covered in cheese curds and gravy) is considered by many to be a hangover cure.
    • It's a hangover prevention! Eat one before going to bed and you'll be fine. No one eats it in the morning!
  • Greasebombing (ingesting inordinate amounts of fat, mostly with proteins) in general seems to be popular, especially things like the Full English Breakfast.
  • Although illegal in most jurisdictions, marijuana is considered a great hangover cure by many who smoke it. Marijuana gets rid of nausea and increases appetite (which is why it's prescribed medicinally to people undergoing chemotherapy in some locations) and also eliminates headaches, which are some of the more unpleasant hangover effects.
  • Alka-Seltzer. Oh what a relief it is! You just have to drink a lot of it.
  • While tastes may vary, there's plenty of Asian dishes which one culture or another will swear by as a solution to a night spent drinking, and the descriptions of some of them may raise eyebrows and worry stomachs. Ginseng tea is not an uncommon suggestion, but as far as taste goes, 'medicinal' would probably be the most accurate description. Korea does a vegetable soup version of the Prairie Oyster (with ox's blood included). There is also the extremely suspect rumor that the ancient Chinese consumed horse's brains to cure a hangover, which probably qualifies as the worst thing to wake up to the morning after a night of hard drinking.

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