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December 28, 2022

For the last few years, this blog has run a festive guide detailing how to avoid a Hogmanay hangover. Experience has taught that this can be a slow learning curve so let's have another pop at it.

Hogmanay fireworks are a dazzling way to mark the end of the old year and the beginning of the new. Fireworks in your cerebellum the next morning are less welcome.

The surest way to wake with a hangover on the 1st of January is to drink too much alcohol. This is blindingly obvious but this doesn't stop many making the same rookie error year after year.

If you are going to drink alcohol then slowly and thoughtfully are the ways forward. The easiest way to begin 2023 with a banging hangover is to start early and go hard. If you want to avoid this then leave the room if anyone shouts 'Let's get this party started' before the sun has set. Six in the evening is an acceptable time to crack a bottle but eight might be preferable to be on the safe side.

Your choice of drink will play a large part in how fresh, or ruined, you feel in the morning. Dark spirits and beers called Old Skullsplitter are not your friends. Thick red wine can be delicious but can also give you a thick head. Ditto port. 

Ca canny on the cocktails

This scribbler loves a Negroni but has learned that two of them are enough if I don't want a New Year's Day headache. On a similar theme, Espresso Martinis have come back into fashion and the caffeine involved can give a welcome pick-up for anyone planning a long night. This might be a good idea at the start of the night. Knocking back a couple after the bells makes it rather less likely that you will be bouncing out of bed feeling bushy-tailed at 9am the next day.

White wine is pretty forgiving but aim for something which is less acidic rather than more. If you are a beer drinker then you might want to think about sticking with something under 4%. These are often called session ales. As the name suggests, they are deliberately brewed to have a moderate alcohol content so you can drink a few of them without feeling rough. Or at least not as rough as if you had been chugging 8% Belgian whoppers all night.

If you must drink spirits then gin or vodka are a better option rather than, say, dark rum. Drinking neat spirits is tempting ruin. Having sad that, diluting them with sweet, fizzy mixers can cause an unfortunate combination of effects. Fizzy drinks get alcohol into the blood stream faster than non-fizzy drinks and sweet mixers give a sugar rush followed by a crash.

Mixing lots of different drinks over the course of the evening is not wise. Not just because crème de menthe and Guinness is disgusting - it is - but because it is harder to keep track of how many drinks you have consumed if you mix them up.

Eating is not cheating

Finally, eating is definitely not cheating and a glass of water in between each alcoholic drink will make the first day of 2023 much more pleasant. Partially because you will spend more time visiting the loo than the bar. A small price to pay if you don't want to wake up with your face stuck to the pillow. Or a carpet.

And if you regain consciousness in a world of pain, you will probably find that - apart from being in your late teens or early twenties - there is no quick cure. Some people find a fry-up works. Others prefer carbs or a banana. A walk in fresh air helps some people. Rehydrating - not with a hair of the dog - is a good idea. Water, paracetamol and an old film in a dark, quiet room lessen the symptoms for me but the passing of time is the only cure. Everyone has their own route to redemption.

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2023 with a hangover-free start.

Pic shows Australia Day fireworks in Perth. Via wikipix