“Australia Day is the most violent of our public holidays by a long shot,”
That was a statement from former Deputy Commissioner Tim Cartwright during an interview with the Herald Sun on the alarming amount (121) of violent, non-family assaults reported to the police on Aussie Day in 2013.
He also said that alcohol, drugs, warmer weather, and groups of people coming together to celebrate what’s supposed to be one of our nation’s proudest days, all combine to create conditions that can fuel violent acts.
What does this have to do with nursing your Aussie day hangover?
Well, one of the best ways to not make your hangover worse is by ensuring that you don’t wake up in jail.
If you know you have a propensity for violence when you’re absolutely smashed…
#1 Have an Aussie Day “Buddy” and Keep Each Other in Check
We all have that friend that we can absolutely trust no matter what. That one friend who has power over your actions whether you’re drunk, stoned, absolutely hammered, or stone-cold sober.
If you’re not already spending Aussie Day with that friend, call him/her up right now and make some plans.
Alcohol is very good at lowering inhibitions, intensifying emotions, and generally making you less able to make sane choices.
If you’re planning on joining the rest of the country on our national day of getting hammered, it’s dangerous to go alone, especially if alcohol makes you want to show off your right hook.
So take your best mate and have the time of your lives, but also have each other’s back by not letting each other drink too much.
#2 Splurge on and Stick to Drinking High Quality, Clear/Semi-Clear Liquors
If you’ve always been curious about what a $140 bottle of fine, authentic tequila tastes like, Aussie Day is the perfect time to try it!
The same is true for any authentic, high quality vodka, tequila, or gin.
Clear liquors offer less jarring hangovers than other alcoholic drinks because they contain less congeners.
Congeners are chemical byproducts of the distillation and fermentation process which are most present in darker and/or less distilled liquors.
While congeners are what give dark liquors their characteristic smells and flavors, their presence has an even darker side: they can make hangovers considerably worse.
Apart from the color, another way to determine the concentration of congeners in a certain liquor is the amount of distillation it undergoes.
Look for double or triple-distilled liquors: they’re more expensive, but they come with much less congeners compared to liquors that have only been distilled once.
The less congeners you drink, the less likely you’ll feel like waking up with a head full of lead.
In a nutshell: mo’ congeners, mo’ problems.
And if you can’t afford to spend north of $100 for a bottle of fine liquor and a congener-free drinking experience, you should at least…
#3 Know Your Enemy: Darker and Less Pure Cocktails Have More Congeners
Check out this graph from an intensive 2008 study on hangovers:
Yup. You read that last one right:
In terms of congener content, a screwdriver (vodka x orange juice) is the cleanest drink you can ingest.
But don’t expect to wake up without a hangover if you knock back 10 screwdrivers in one night; congeners aren’t the only chemicals you need to worry about.
While watching for congener content can certainly help make hangovers a lot easier to bear, the only sure way to curtail a hangover is to…
#4 Drink Moderately, Especially if You’re Ingesting Different Drinks
Sticking to clear, high quality liquors all night is a good way to ingest less congeners, but that doesn’t mean you’re safe from a hangover.
Don’t forget about primary ingredient of any alcoholic drink: ethanol, aka ethyl alcohol, the #1 cause of hangovers.
Drinking moderately means keeping track of your ethanol intake, and drinking different kinds of cocktails and liquors is a good way to easily lose track.
Here’s one way to see how much ethanol is already in your body:
According to the National Institutes of Health in the US, any ‘standard’ drink contains approximately 0.6 fluid ounces / 14 grams of alcohol. Check out the quick guide below; while each drink contains different amounts of fluid, they all contain about the same amount of ethanol:
While this is a good way to keep track of your ethanol consumption, it does come with certain limitations: if the above guide is to be believed, drinking 8 beers is equivalent to drinking just a shot of brandy, at least where ethanol is concerned.
What this guide doesn’t take into account is not just the congeners, but the many other chemicals that less pure alcoholic drinks contain – chemicals that may have unresearched effects on the human body.
Red wine, for instance, is so notorious at causing hangovers to the point that it’s warranted a medical term: Red Wine Headache.
While the causes of this particular headache are not fully understood, researchers speculate that it’s due to the presence of histamines from the grape skins with which red wine is made.
Additionally, the unpredictability of the weather during growing seasons can affect the concentration of histamines in a particular red wine; if your favorite, go-to brand of red suddenly gives you a headache, it could be the spike in histamines caused by the outdoor growing conditions of previous years.
And that’s just red wine. There are plenty of other chemicals present in beer, brandy, tequila, and other liquors, most of which have unexplained effects on the body.
In short, the only sure way to curtail the effects of a hangover is to drink moderately.
And if you want to be able to keep functioning the morning after, don’t forget to…
#5 Drink Tons of Water and Avoid Dehydration
Fine. We’re probably kidding ourselves if we expect you to listen to a mattress company telling you to drink moderately during one of our country’s biggest drinking days.
But please, at the very least, drink lots of water before, during, and after getting drunk.
This is why water is so important:
Ethyl alcohol is a fantastic diuretic. It suppresses the hormone that limits the amount of urine your body produces.
The more you drink, the more you urinate, the more your body loses water, the worse your post-Aussie day hangover headache is going to be.
Come morning, the effects of dehydration forces your organs to suck water from wherever it can find it in your body, including your brain, which is why massive headaches always accompany massive hangovers.
While keeping yourself fully hydrated won’t protect your liver nor make you any less drunk, it can curtail the dehydrating effects of a national holiday’s worth of drinking.
Keeping hydrated while getting yourself absolutely hammered can also shorten your hangover recovery time in the morning.
If you don’t drink too much while keeping hydrated, you might not even suffer from post-Aussie Day headaches at all.
But if you just know that you’ll be waking up to a massive headache, you should…
#6 Prepare a Breakfast Worthy of Your Aussie Day Hangover
If you know you’re going to get absolutely smashed, make plans for a tremendous breakfast the morning after.
Maybe something like this impressive little concoction:
See more awesome ways to improve this notorious breakfast here .
Or if you’re planning to really get hammered, you might want something more substantial:
Who’s ready for Aussie Day?