“Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.” This line popped into my brain last night. Of all the movies, I had to dream about Chinatown last night. I think it was something to do with water and hangover cures. Not that I have a hangover, far from. But if you drink like a pro- you should at least try to act like one too. That means if you’re drinking booze, make sure that you drink plenty of water.
Hangover cures are a dime a dozen. The mere thought of eating greasy food when one’s head is swelled and the ground seems as close as the bathroom door. But don’t laugh, a fried egg with bacon and cheese propped on a toasted buttered roll under certain circumstances is bliss. My thoughts with St. Patrick’s Day coming right up is to drink hot tea the morning after a particularly difficult day of the year. I may not consciously ask for a cure, it just comes naturally.
Ginger and curry have certain curative powers in the face of the spins. A bit of gin added to hot tea with ginger and curry? Now we’re talking.
The Far East Cocktail is built on the premise that you’ve had one too many the night prior. And keeping in the vein of the far east, it’s important to understand and appreciate the flavors of this region.
I’ve grown rather fond of a new ginger liqueur named INTENSE. The very name dispels any wonder that this liqueur is weak. It is far from weak. Rolling in at 44 proof, INTENSE is marvelous in a cup of black English style tea, then a framework of gin from Barr Hill in Vermont is added for good measure. I suppose what I like most about this gin is the flavor of raw honey and juniper, added to the distillate for not only flavor, but for the antioxidant purposes. And if you are feeling a bit less than pristine, gin in your tea with ginger is a gorgeous thing indeed.
Of course the potently aromatic Curry Bitters from Bitter End in Santa Fe, New Mexico take this cup of steaming healing to another level entirely. I’m very lucky to have been able to source this product. It’s truly unique and I hope you have a chance to find it. The flavor of cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, ginger, mustard seed, nutmeg and cloves wind their way through my subconscious and my cocktails. Either hot OR cold, they are certainly a wake-up call to the sense of taste and smell.
Barr Hill in Vermont distilled highly expressive liquors packed full of healing goodness. I believe that Barr Hill is one of the finest gins I’ve ever tasted. It’s so unique! As my friend Todd Hardie, the owner of the distillery says right on the label, “The best fertilizer is the footprint of the farmer.” Marvelous words for a marvelous and highly expressive gin.
My water is equally important when making tea for my curatives. I choose to use water filtered through a Mavea “Inspired Water” filtration pitcher. Sure, my tap water is fine- but it’s highly acidic from the area of NJ where I live. There is no chlorine fortunately, but there are minerals that turn the inside of the tea kettle bright green. I don’t want to drink that! Any water for ice or for tea/coffee is set through the Mavea pitcher. By now this procedure is just rote. Draw the water, filter it and boil it for tea. What is so difficult about it? Nothing.
The Far East Cocktail
2 oz. Barr Hill Gin (Distilled from Juniper, Raw Honey and pure Vermont Spring Water)
1 oz. Barrow’s INTENSE Ginger Liqueur
4 drops (no more!!!) Bitter End Curry Bitters
1 Tea Bag- or loose tea English or Irish Breakfast Style is fine. You want it strong!
Water from your Mavea “Inspired Water” pitcher
Raw Honey to taste for sweetness
Boil water and when just off the rolling boil, pre-heat your tea mug, then pour out
Add your tea to the cup
Add the liqueurs
Sweeten to taste with RAW HONEY
Drop no more than four drops of the Bitter End Curry Bitters over the top
Sip to your continued good health
You can also try a UNDERBERG in a pinch. Underberg only comes in 20 ml portions. That’s all you need to stave off a particularly evil hangover. I’ve also found that Fernet Branca is highly effective in times of dire need.
If you like to drink your cure, you may want to try the new product named Blowfish. I have to say it’s been a very long time since I’ve had a hangover, so I cannot recommend it by saying that I tried this product. What I do know is that it contains: aspirin, caffeine and antacid, all ingredients long known to stave off a particularly evil hangover.
I suppose that the best thing you can do is not drink too much in the first place! If you do drink, make sure that you have one glass of water for every cocktail. I actually recommend at least two 8 oz. glasses of water. You might think that you’re going to float away- and that is true. But take it from me. I’m a pro. I don’t get hangovers because, well… remember the famous line in Chinatown.
“Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”