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Did ringing in the new year cause a terrible ringing in your head? How did you recover from the light sensitivity that had you to wearing your darkest pair of shades indoors and the overall grogginess that is a hangover? Some are turning to hangover recovery drinks as quick fixes to stop their suffering after a night of fun with friends.

Why do we get hangovers?

After an evening of drinking, you might expect to wake up with some physiological effects. Whether you consume beer, wine, vodka, bourbon, or anything else containing ethanol (aka alcohol), you could feel the effects of a hangover. Of course, you will only suffer the consequences if you drink too much.

How much is “too much”? Great question! Unfortunately, we cannot answer that for you because only you know how much alcohol you can safely consume. Your tolerance for alcohol and your ability to metabolize it depends on genetic factors (your gender, weight, BMI, metabolism, etc.) and environmental factors (rate at which you are consuming alcohol, if you have food in your system, if you are drinking water in between alcoholic drinks, etc.).

Alcohol is a diuretic. This means it requires lots of water to be digested and excreted. To meet this need, water that is normally returned to your blood stream and other internal systems stays in the digestive system and helps to carry the alcohol out of your body when you finally make it to the restroom…generally after waiting in painfully long line if you’re at a bar.

Losing excess amounts of water at a rate faster than you are replacing it leads to dehydration. This dehydration causes what we refer to as a hangover. Headaches. Dizziness. Nausea. Sensitivity to light. Grogginess. An unwillingness to move. A deep regret of every text sent out after last call.

People want to be able to drink as much as they want without fear of experiencing a hangover the next day. This wanting has stirred the creativity of some. Those inspired bring their hangover recovery drink ideas to Flavorman throughout the year.

How do hangover recovery drinks work?

Hangovers are dehydration caused by the overconsumption of alcohol, so naturally hangover recovery drinks work to help rehydrate your body. They contain electrolytes, amino acids, antioxidants from herbal ingredients, B vitamins and caffeine.

Most of these ingredients work to rehydrate your body and replenish important nutrients lost as the alcohol is removed from your body. Caffeine, also a diuretic, is the exception. The caffeine included in recovery drinks is meant to boost your energy levels, so you can fight your fatigue and do something productive with your day. Like piece together the night before from the pile of receipts you found in your pockets. (“What is bulgogi and why did I order 3 plates of it?”)

Each idea brought to us at Flavorman has a different spin for a new carbonated drink, vitamin water, shooter, powder mix or any other kind of drink they think would work the best to cure the symptoms of a hangover.

The main challenge in creating ready-to-drink recovery drinks is creating an appetizing flavor. Those electrolytes, amino acids and other things that help your body recover are normally found in solid form, in much smaller quantities, in very different combinations. So, when they mingle in liquid with high amounts of ingredients they normally do not flirt with, they react by rejecting each other and threatening the flavor potential of your ready-to-drink hangover quick fix. Because there is nothing worse cure to a hangover than a gag reflex-inducing flavor.

This challenge behind creating a healthy, balanced and appetizing hangover recovery drink is why you do not see as many as you might hope to on the shelves of your local grocery store. But don’t fret, the experts at Flavorman are one of the reasons you’re seeing more and more. Our Beverage Architects have the training and scientific knowhow to make that drink function how you’d like it to while keeping it as tasty as you dreamt it would be.

But, should you find yourself with out a recovery drink there is something you can always drink that will help you recover from a night of celebration. Water.

Written on January 6, 2017.