I can resist everything except temptation, said Oscar Wilde and it is not a particularly unusual philosophy when it comes to booze and especially for the month of December.
January is the month of resolve where the liver is rested and the inches fall from the waistline, largely as a result of an abstemious approach to alcohol.
There is for many however, the transitional stage known as the New Year's Day hangover which is the aftermath of treating the body like a ‘chemistry experiment’ on the 31st December and into the small hours of the 1st day of the New Year.
Most medics will tell you that there is no genuine cure for this self inflicted ailment but a large proportion of us I feel, prefer the belief that following years of practice, some things do seem to 'work'.
I am aware that the simple hair of the dog is a good start but my preferred remedy lies with a no-holds-barred Bloody Mary. Forget anything too fussy in terms of brands etc. but in the cupboard I suggest that the following ingredients should be available.
Large Glass - for the project to be beneficial, a small tumbler can be inadequate and obviously a pint is over indulgent - somewhere in between at about 45cl is my answer.
Vodka - probably at least 40% of alcohol but otherwise any brand will do considering what is about to happen to it.
Tomato Juice - plain as it comes - this is not an occasion to become too Organic.
Lemon Juice - after all, Vitamin C must be good for you
Worcester Sauce, Tabasco
Ground Sea Salt, Ground Black Pepper, Grated Horse Radish
Fino Sherry - any Fino has the correct effect but if you can find Valdespino Fino Innocente (Lea & Sandeman or Selfridges) then the rest of the bottle can sit in the fridge for subsequent months allowing a very rewarding thimble whenever the urge arises.
If making a jug of the above then the ice can remain in the Jug rather than diluting what appears in the glass. A better approach may be to have the Vodka in the freezer and thoroughly chilled Tomato Juice so that ice may be virtually dispensed with.
A slice of Lemon, a celery stick
Essentially everything can be thrown in to suit individual taste in particular with regard to spiciness. Being too prescriptive on quantities is not helpful since one person’s pinch of salt may differ significantly from another’s etc... The one thing that I do suggest is that the Sherry is floated on the top at the very end and forms a mild aromatic barrier between the imbiber and the spicy cure.
The psychosomatic elements are numerous and certainly include the celery - no calories and pretty tasteless after the senses have been numbed by Tabasco, but celery is nevertheless essential.
Dosage is the real challenge since this is meant to be a cure rather than prolonging the state of inebriation, but I hope that all who get it just right, will feel that 2023 can be faced with appropriate energy and optimism.
p.s. And if you are still searching for the culprit and not sure whether it was the fourth glass of Lynch Bages or the mixing of champagne, wine and cocktails that sent you over the edge, you might at some point circle back to the delicious Port that amplified the softness of the cheese at the end of dinner. In that case, I encourage you to search here on the blog, for another article “Know Your Port -Like Having Milk in the Fridge”. Just to give you some facts and context, before you reach your final verdict.