Does Alternating Every Other Cocktail With Water Actually Prevent a Hangover?



It’s Sunday morning and your peepers just broke through the crust of last night’s residual makeup. You’re so thirsty it feels like you drank a bag of sand and your head is pounding so hard you can hear it. You stagger out of bed, clutching the walls as you make your way toward the kitchen where you will consume 345332 glasses of water. You down glass after glass, excess water dribbling down the sides of your chin, gasping for air between gulps. Once your tongue no longer feels like leather, you wobble back to bed where you spend the remainder of the day in self-loathing watchingNetflix, ordering Seamless and vowing never to drink again.

Hangovers, man. They’re the worst.

And yet, no matter how terrible we feel on Sunday, by Friday, we’re ready to do it all over again.

It’s a vicious cycle that I’ve become increasingly less fond of as I’ve lost more Sundays to Saturday’s indulgent libations. Over the last couple of months, I’ve dreaded going out in fear of the impending hangover. And while not drinking is a feasible fix, I’m just not willing to make that kind of sacrifice.

There’s a theory that alternating every alcoholic beverage with a glass of water reduces the likelihood of a hangover, but I’ve always thought that sounded like a myth (kind of like the claim that guzzling raw eggs kills a hangover), so I tried it last weekend — first for a birthday party.

It started simply and propitiously: every time I finished a drink and subsequently consumed a glass of water I felt healthy and responsible. But as I started to get drunk, which, if you’re wondering, happens regardless of how much water you consume, it became harder to remember to alternate and grew increasingly more irritating/unappealing. I could feel my stomach sloshing with liquid and I was peeing every five minutes. Was I enjoying myself? Yes, because I like my friends. But I wasn’t having nearly as much unabashed fun as I would have had I spent less time on the bathroom line.

At the end of the night, with a bloated stomach and a pulsing bladder, I told myself I’d never do it again.

But the next morning, I woke up 100% hangover free. My eyes weren’t puffy, my stomach wasn’t twisting itself with nausea and there wasn’t a stampede of T-Rex pounding through my head. While the rest of my friends spooned takeout in bed, I went to the gym, did my grocery shopping for the week and even cleaned my stove. My stove!

When we consume alcohol, we strip our bodies of electrolytes and H20. It takes our livers about one hour to metabolize one ounce of alcohol, so when we imbibe, say, three margaritas in an hour, we are literally wringing ourselves of hydration, which is why it makes sense that backing every cocktail with a glass of water not only resists dehydration, but also slows down how quickly we consume liquor.

Next time you go out drinking, try going one-for-one. If it seems too trying, try two-for-one. I think that’s going to be my move. The takeaway here is that water is a hangover’s best elixir, so the more of it you drink, the more likely you are to take back your Sundays and, I don’t know, maybe clean a stove.

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