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Do Bloody Mary’s cure hangovers? If you’re asking this question, chances are you’ve woken up with a hangover and debating whether to neck back a bloody mary.
Before you make that choice, you may want to read through this article first. Given that a wrong choice could make matters a lot worse.
With so many hangover cure myths out there, it’s hard to tell what works and what doesn’t.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the infamous bloody mary to see if this cocktail really is a hangover cure or not.
What is a bloody mary?
I’m sure it needs no introduction, but a bloody mary is a cocktail containing vodka, tomato juice, and other spices and flavorings including Worcestershire sauce, hot sauces, garlic, herbs, horseradish, celery, olives, salt, black pepper, and lime juice.
As you can see it’s no basic cocktail. If you’re a bloody mary fan, you know how you like them. And any deviation from your own special recipe is met with great disappointment. Right?
So, why are bloody marys called bloody marys? And where have they got their reputation for being a hangover cure?
There are many supposed origins of the bloody mary cocktail. Some say it’s associated with historical figures such as Queen Mary I of England, who was nicknamed “Bloody Mary”. Others trace the name to a waitress named Mary who worked at a Chicago bar called the Bucket of Blood.(1)
In the US and UK, the Bloody Mary is a common Hair of the dog drink. A bloody mary is said to “settle the stomach”, contains salt to “replenish lost electrolytes”, and alcohol to relieve head and body aches. And it gained particular notoriety as a drink to have at brunch after a big night out. If you know, you know.
But do bloody marys really cure hangovers? does it actually replenish electrolytes and settle the stomach?
To find out, we first need to go over the science of a hangover.
Hangover Science – The basics
Before we get into whether bloody marys are good for hangovers, understanding what causes a hangover is the first step.
Hangover symptoms start when your blood alcohol concentrations reach close to zero. That means you’ll only start to feel hungover once alcohol is almost completely cleared from your system.(2)
Hangovers are caused by drinking too much alcohol, too fast. Alcohol exerts most of its damaging effects as your blood alcohol concentrations build up and your liver struggles to deal with the extra load.
- Dehydration: Firstly, one of the main causes of a hangover is dehydration. Alcohol blocks a hormone normally released from your pituitary gland called ADH. In turn, this leads to extra fluid loss from your kidneys which ultimately leads to dehydration.
- Inflammation: Secondly, when alcohol is metabolized in your liver, it produces toxic by-products such as acetaldehyde which are highly volatile and reactive. During periods of overindulgence, these by-products build up and react with your cells causing inflammation.
- Poor sleep quality: Alcohol blocks you from getting enough REM sleep. REM sleep is essential for feeling fully rested
- Congeners: These are biologically active compounds that give alcoholic drinks their taste and aroma. Darker drinks like whiskey and red wine have very high concentrations of congeners, hence their distinctive taste. Unfortunately, congeners are known to make hangovers a lot worse.(3)
In summary, the science of hangovers is complicated and many different factors play a part. It's not just dehydration as many people believe!
Do Bloody Marys cure hangovers?
So, now on to the all-important question. Do bloody marys cure hangovers?
The simple answer is no, it does not. But instead, it can delay hangovers.
The reason why bloody marys seem like they make your hangovers go away is because of the alcohol it contains. Remember we mentioned earlier that hangover symptoms start when your blood alcohol concentrations get close to zero?
Well, if you start drinking bloody marys in the morning, your blood alcohol concentrations rise again. Therefore, delaying your hangover instead.
Unfortunately, the hangover you’ll get afterward is inevitable. And, in some cases could be worse than if you didn’t drink bloody marys.
That’s because more alcohol means prolonging the amount of damage caused by alcohol.
What about the other ingredients in bloody marys, are they good for hangovers?
Aside from the vodka, bloody marys are made from tomato juice and spices. Unfortunately, tomato juice and hot sauce do not have any magic healing powers!
In summary: Bloody marys are not a hangover cure, but can temporarily make you feel better. That said, the hangover that ensues thereafter could be a lot worse!
Are bloody marys better than other cocktails for hangovers?
Bloody marys make you feel better (albeit temporarily) because of the alcohol in them. That means any cocktail you decide to go for should have the same effect as drinking a bloody mary.
Why bloody marys have become famous as the go-to hair of the dog drink is unclear. Perhaps it’s more palatable and you’re able to taste the alcohol less because of all the spices used to make it.
I don’t know about you but I would rather a bloody mary than a martini when hungover!
Anything else to consider?
Hangovers are a good sign from your body that you’ve been drinking too much alcohol for your liver to handle. Trying to “cure” your hangover by drinking bloody marys in the morning is not the best approach.
Especially as the hangover that comes after the effects of your bloody mary have worn off could be a lot worse.
The best way to “cure” a hangover is by preventing them from happening in the first place. Drinking less, at a slower pace, and making sure to keep well hydrated throughout your night is all that you need to do.
Drinking a bloody mary to cure hangovers – The final verdict
That brings us to the end of our look into bloody marys as a hangover cure.
Unfortunately, drinking bloody marys when hungover will only delay your hangover. The reason why it makes you feel temporarily better is that it’s making you drunk again!
Therefore, you’re still going to get a hangover after and it may be much worse than if you hadn’t had a bloody mary.
In general, drinking any alcohol when hungover is not advisable and will only do you more harm.