Six variations on a hangover 

When the season gets too jolly, lighten up your folly

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Tis the holly jolly season, when it's way too easy to lean into the "jolly" side of things.

Should have stopped a little earlier with those Coronas yesterday? Too much bubbly, or maybe just too many celebrations celebrating the celebratory? If you believe "festive" is spelled "h-a-n-g-o-v-e-r", this one's for you.

For anyone over the age of, say, 19 (let's keep things legal here), good chance you've known the underbelly of Party Central. Short (hopefully), nasty and sometimes brutish, hangovers seem to be payback time for something, although I can never quite remember what.

Whichever balance sheet they reckon, hangovers have dogged humans since the beginning of time, or at least the start of the cocktail hour. All those amethysts the ancient Greeks embedded around the outside of their drinking goblets weren't exactly knobs to prevent slippage when things got "out of hand." Amethysts were thought to have curative powers.

I hand it to the Brits, though, for really getting down and dirty with hangovers. We write about that which we know best, don't they say. So it is that that quintessential master of British humour of a certain stylish period, P.G. Wodehouse (called "Plum" by those who knew him best), described six different hangovers in his 1949 romp, The Mating Season, which have lived on in infamy.

It took another Englishman, Milton Crawford, a post-post-modernist, one with his own sense of humour to boot, to turn them inside out and offer us the Wodehouse Six, revisited, complete with recipes for good morning-after brekkies in his witty little Hungoevr Coobkook (sic).

To start, we have The Broken Compass hangover, a purely psychological, touchy-feely state wherein your lower lip corners hit your shoes and just about everything else is equally droopy. This woe-is-me attitude tells you your "amazing" lover and just about everything else good in your life is gone. Forever.

You might feel like you have a morally "broken compass," too, depending on what you may or may not remember from the night before.

Sounds like time for a Corpse Reviver — a "hair of the dog" solution invented by one Frank Meier at the Ritz Bar in Paris in the 1920s. Upon launching his cocktail, Mr. Meier advised: "To be taken before 11 a.m. or as soon as strength and energy is needed."

To wit, mix 1 oz. of Calvados, with 1 oz. of vermouth rosso and 1 oz. of brandy. Stir over ice in a mixing glass, strain and serve in a frosted martini glass, with an orange slice for garnish. If you actually frost the glass and slice the orange without cutting yourself, you deserve bonus points.

Or you could save the Corpse Reviver for Wodehouse's hangover type No. 2, The Sewing Machine. Actually, you can mix and match, since more than a few versions of Corpse Reviver have been concocted since the 1920s, a cultural commentary unto itself.


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