Hangover Helper is The Takeout’s weekly feature on how to survive the booze flu.
When St. Louis native Tim Wiggins began managing a whiskey bar there, it made for a lot of late nights at work. He was in his early 20s, though, and not ready to entirely sacrifice his social life for 60-hour work weeks—which made him a regular drinker at the city’s 3 a.m. bars. “It was really fun but it was definitely like ‘Hey, last call is in 30 minutes, get as many drinks as you can,’” he says.
Now 26 and the bar manager at Retreat Gastropub in St. Louis’ Central West End, he’s mostly put the wee-hours bar hopping behind him. He’s more focused on Retreat and a forthcoming cocktail bar called Yellowbelly, which will open in mid- to late 2018. But those late nights (and the next mornings) imparted him with some serious hangover-curing wisdom. Learn up, kids.
When was the last time you were hungover?
The last time I was hungover was probably the worst experience ever because I went to one of my best friend’s weddings in North Carolina and had to wake up 7 a.m. and drive 14 hours home. There weren’t enough pairs of sunglasses in the world to shield how miserable the sun was. Every sound was the worst in the world.
How do you set yourself right?
I stand by Topo Chico water. For whatever reasons, maybe it’s the minerals or something, it fixes me. We also do shots of cold pressed ginger juice at the bar, where we have a pretty awesome cold-press juicer. It clears your sinuses immediately, any foginess in the head, it’s just gone. We use lots of ginger juice in the cocktails and syrups, so we usually have a quart container in the fridge that says ‘fire water’ on it. It really is a game-changer.
Why “fire water”?
When you’re hungover, shots of the ginger juice hurt but in the best way possible. It feels like your face is on fire for a couple seconds but then you feel so much better. Sometimes we hit it with some fresh grapefruit juice as a mix-in, because you’re basically shooting a whole knob of ginger. One knob will give you about 1.5 ounces of juice, and then you’re good to go.