The Germans actually have a word for the big breakfast they eat after a night of heavy drinking: Katerfrühstück. It often includes rollmops, or pickled herring with cucumber and onion. The Germans also subscribers to the “hair of the dog” technique, and so they wash down their herring with a beer.
An old Russian maxim claims you can’t get a hangover if you drink the right way—that is, you stick to vodka, and you drink it neat. But for those who stray from “wodka,” drinking a mildly alcoholic drink called kvas, made with rye bread soaked in sugar and yeast, is supposed to help. Hungover Russians are also big on saunas, and drinking a mixture of brine and tomato juice.
Always quick with a joke, an Irishman may refer to his hangover as “an inexplicable headache.” He cures it with, naturally, a full Irish breakfast. Think bacon, sausage, black and white pudding, mushrooms, fried tomato, fried eggs, baked beans and soda bread.
Everyone knows the French don’t suffer from hangovers, just like they’re immune to obesity, lung cancer, and smiling. But for those foreigners who wander into their country and drink too much Bordeaux or Beaujolais, an unsmiling French waiter is likely to recommend cassoulet—a kind of casserole made with meat and white beans—or onion soup.
Italians refer to hangovers as postumi della sbornia, or “the after-death of drunkenness.” Their cure for that after-death is a speedy rebirth—otherwise known as a double espresso. Drink one and quit your whining, Americano.
Our neighbors to the south appropriately refer to a hangover as feeling cruda, or raw. Rather than taking it easy on their queasy stomachs, Mexicans present their guts with a challenge: a vuelve a la vida, or a “return to life.” It’s a cocktail salad of shrimp, shellfish, lime, onions and cilantro.
Too much sake and karaoke? The Japanese may joke that you’re “two-days drunk.” While there’s no way to remove bad renditions of “Sweet Caroline” from your head, your host may suggest umeboshi, or pickled plums that are sometimes soaked in green tea to mellow their bite. Miso soup and energy drinks are also popular.