Photo by Chris Casella

Hangover Easy(er)

small part of me secretly likes hangovers. There’s something appealing about the idea that if you enjoy excess* then you should feel some pain. Otherwise, what’s to stop everyone from partying constantly? Remove hangovers from the equation and every goddamn weekend is New Year’s Eve, the whole city crammed full of champagne-chugging idiots. Hangovers thin the herd.

But they are awful sometimes. Like skull-shattering, incapacitated on the couch, bloody terrible. To that end, I evaluated a couple alleged remedies from Columbus-based companies – Life Support and Formula O2. The latter has rebranded itself more as a recovery drink for high-intensity athletes, but let’s face it, if the hangover is bad enough even watching athletic endeavors requires detox.

Life Support 

The night A small gathering at a friend’s house. We party. I mostly drink cans of Budweiser, a couple rips of Buffalo Trace bourbon, and for whatever reason, a few particularly bad shots of Red Bull and vodka. I end the night sipping on some pinkish drink also made with vodka that tastes better than it probably should. I go to the fridge around 4:15 in the morning, grab the bottle of Life Support, and down the thing in one chug. It tastes like raisins. Sleep.

The day after I wake up at about 9:45 and I feel decent, definitely better than I would expect. The aftertaste of raisins is still pretty strong due to the main active ingredient – Japanese raisin tree fruit extract. I’d heard from others that the taste wasn’t pleasant, and though it’s a little weird, I don’t mind it much. It’s unclear if I would have been hungover anyway (I drank a substantial amount, but relatively slowly, and mostly just beer), but overall I feel pretty good. My heart seems to be beating harder or faster than normal, and I have a strange nervous energy all day.

Conclusion: More beer! More beer now! Is this normal?

Formula O2  

The night Same place, pretty much the same crowd, new night. Bud Light is the primary potion this time around, with a few pulls of Jack Daniel’s and Jack Tennessee Honey mixed in, though the night ends with me and a friend sharing boxed wine (I drink like a college freshman, apparently). Another friend wanders into the garage where we’re boozing to see what’s going on… it’s tomorrow now and dawn is breaking – whoops.

The day after I awake not long before noon and snag the Orange Mango Formula O2 that I stashed in the fridge the night before. The flavor is better than Life Support, but there’s still a bit of a funny aftertaste, and it seems like it should be carbonated but isn’t. Also, you drink this after the damage is done so the effects aren’t as immediately obvious. Formula O2’s key ingredients are highly oxygenated water, electrolytes, and caffeine, and I don’t feel too bad as the day progresses, though I’m a bit more sluggish than with Life Support after approximately the same amount of sleep. On the plus side, my heart doesn’t feel like it might explode. My knees hurt, but that appears to be residual effects from hours spent snapping dead tree limbs over them for a fire. Does anyone make a drink for that?

Conclusion Add iced coffee, an omelet, and feel like 85 percent of a real human being.

*Most of the time this is where you’re told to drink responsibly. But you’re an adult. If a footnote informs how you live your life, then you’re probably pretty bad at being a person.