Review: Code Blue Recovery Drink

Billed as “the world’s first complete recovery drink,” Code Blue launched earlier this year with the goal of pre-de-hangover-izing the youth of America. (As with most modern hangover remedies, the idea is to drink this stuff after drinking alcohol — or during, or even before — and you’ll feel fine the next day.) And I say youth because it’s unlikely a grown man would chug a bottle of this stuff the before bedtime. Read on and you’ll see what I mean.

Let’s start with the blue. The bottle you see is opaque, but it really needn’t be: Code Blue is the color of Windex, tinged darker perhaps with a bit of cobalt blue tempera paint.

Next there’s the taste. It’s fortunately not like Windex at all, but I’m struggling to describe it properly. Lots of sweetener (agave nectar) is the key component, with a vague, fruit-and-chemical aftertaste. Imagine Gatorade watered down then cut with vegetable oil and you’ll have an idea of what Code Blue tastes like. Take the company’s advice and drink it ice cold — preferably in a glass and on ice, as the bottle warms up quickly. When Code Blue rises past fridge temperature it loses its modest charms.

The ingredient list is full of healthy-sounding curiosities: reduced glutathione (a big antioxidant we’re told), prickly pear juice (promotes liver function), and a host of vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes (a proprietary blend). A 12-oz. bottle has no caffeine and just 60 calories. Oh, and I should point out that it’s not carbonated.

The big question, of course, is how well it works. On this point I should give Code Blue props. It isn’t easy to get a whole bottle down, but I found it did indeed help hangover symptoms — at least modestly — when consumed either at the end of the night or the next day. Of course it’s hard to say whether a glass of water and an Advil would have done the job just as well, but considering that Code Blue might actually be healthy to drink, I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.

B- / $3.49 per 12-oz. bottle /


Review: XyliMelts

What’s the worst part of a hangover? The headache? The upset stomach? The hatred toward your fellow man?

For some, it’s the dry mouth: No matter how much water you drink, that cottonmouth comes back in minutes, keeping you awake all night and aware of all the other symptoms.

Enter XyliMelts, a bizarre solution but one that merits attention: XyliMelts inlcude 500mg of xylitol, an “oral lubricant” and natural sweetener which stimulates saliva creation. To use it, you pop a XyliMelt in your mouth, and once you have it situated between the cheek and gum for 30 seconds, an adhesive side sticks to your gums and keeps the spit production going for anywhere between 1 and 6 hours.

You can use it during the day if your mouth is abnormally dry, but Drinkhacker readers will probably be more interested in the nocturnal application: That’s right, because XyliMelt sticks to your gums, you can leave it in overnight (technically you’re supposed to use two for a full night’s sleep, but I did fairly well with just one).

I tried it last night after Whiskeys of the World — when I knew I’d need it — and the results were kind of shocking: It worked. Yes, it’s a little disconcerting to try to sleep with a tablet slowly dissolving in your mouth, but the constant lubrication is more than worth the oddity, which you get used to in 30 minutes or so. The taste is fine, too: Lightly minty and moderately sweet. (There’s also a “plain” version.)

Given the scary warning that “some bacteria may evolve a resistance to xylitol,” this may not be something you’ll want to use every single day… but to ease the pain from the occasional bender, XyliMelts might be an excellent part of your arsenal. At 12 bucks for 80 tablets, it’s a great deal too.

A- / $12 for 80 tablets /


Review: Drinkin’ Mate Hangover Defense

There’s good news and bad news about Drinkin’ Mate, another entry into the growing category of hangover prevention remedies.

First the good: Compared to the field, Drinkin’ Mate is the best-tasting hangover preventer around. It’s an effervescent pill (like an Alka-Seltzer). Just drop it in a few ounces of water, and you get a fizzy, fruity drink that goes down pretty quickly and painlessly. Made primarily from guava leaf extract, it’s a bit tropical and a lot berry-like (the only version seems to be “wild berry flavor”), very sweet (thanks to shots of sorbitol and sucralose). Unlike some of those nasty, syrupy hangover cures, you won’t have to choke this one down before you go out. (The company also says you can take it after drinking to avoid a hangover.)

Now the bad news: For me, Drinkin’ Mate did absolutely nothing to prevent a hangover. The one I’ve been nursing today is the outright worst in recent memory, which makes me wonder how effective guava leaf could possibly be at fighting off the headache from a half-dozen glasses of whiskey and wine. The only other real active ingredient here is sodium bicarbonate, pretty tame stuff that would have no hope against a major alco-binge, at least it didn’t for me.

As always, these remedies are often a shot in the dark, and some work for some drinkers and not at all for others. Your mileage may vary, but while I didn’t get any benefit from Drinkin’ Mate, at least the act of drinking Drinkin’ Mate didn’t make me want to throw up on the spot.

C / $24 for 12 tablets /


Review: Maestro Dobel Diamond Tequila

Even Donald Trump could learn something from the braggadocio on display at Maestro Dobel, which claims (among other superlatives), to be “the first-ever diamond tequila” … “unlike any other aged tequila” … the “result of a proprietary blending and filtration technique.” … “the liquid embodiment of my passion for tequila” … the result of “six generations of my family’s dedication to crafting the finest tequilas available” … and “a renaissance — a new way of thinking about and enjoying tequila.”

That’s a mouthful, and considering the just-released tequila costs $75 a bottle, it better stack up, eh? I put the good Maestro to the test and found it really intriguing and truly unusual in a world where many tequilas, even super-premium ones, can taste a lot alike.

Maestro Dobel is indeed a “new way” of making tequila: For starters, it’s a nearly clear, white spirit, but inside the bottle is aged tequila. At least three different aged tequilas are found in the blend inside the bottle (including reposado, anejo, and extra anejo expressions), but the spirit is then filtered to “gently expel congeners and colors from the tequila.” The how is “proprietary.” It’s kind of like the idea behind Crystal Pepsi: Flavor, yes. Color, no.

The flavor is wholly unexpected, especially if you’re not in on the whole decolorization thing: There’s vanilla, butterscotch, and woody oak where you’d normally get just the heat and vegetal notes of silver tequila. Agave is there, but understated, well mellowed by the aging process. You actually get more agave in the aroma than the taste, especially after the spirit opens up a little in the glass.

But for a blend of such well-aged tequilas, Dobel does clearly lose something along the way during all this filtration, and one can only imagine while sipping this mellow, almost “light” tequila, what the original base spirits must have tasted like. Is the colorless thing a gimmick or a real benefit to the drinker? If I feel like a million bucks tomorrow (those “expelled congeners” are what allegedly give you a hangover), that will be the real test to see whether Dobel is worth its Diamonds.

As a side note, the bottle alone deserves some discussion. It comes in an overly-tall decanter, with agave-like spikes molded into the lower portion of the glass. The base of the bottle is embedded into a built-in, metal coaster, and the label is forged from metal, too. Each bottle is individually numbered (mine is #292), dated, and signed.

Tequila fans: I understand if you can’t afford a full bottle of Maestro Dobel, but whatever you do, you need to track it down at least for a shot. You’ll be talking about it for weeks.

A- / $75 /

Taking “the Fun Out of Booze”

All of the hangover, none of the glory.

An experimental drug that blocks the euphoric feelings associated with drinking may prevent alcoholics from relapsing. The finding, the result of a mouse study at Oregon Health & Science University, could lead to human clinical trials within the next year.

Good news for alcoholics and fraternities who use the stuff to screw with pledges.

Review: Hangover Buster

Hangover remedies are legion (and of questionable utility), but the prepackaged variety has become considerably more popular in recent years. My own pre-sleep regimen of two Tylenol and a big glass of water seems to work pretty well, but is there a more “natural” way to do the job?

Hangover Buster is an Alka-Seltzer like tablet that you dissolve in water and drink after (or while) tying one on but before you call it a night. Drink it before bedtime and you’ll have no headache and no nausea come morning. What’s in the tablet? Lots of vitamins, bicarbonate, and a collection of miscellaneous additions including ginseng, caffeine, and white willow bark extract.

The flavor is lemon-lime but it’s really quite bittersweet. Combined with the effervescence I had trouble choking down a whole glass of this before bedtime. The caffeine also gave me pause. I don’t even drink bourbon and Coke after nine any more for fear it’ll keep me up. Having a shot right before bedtime didn’t seem too wise.

Fortunately, Hangover Buster didn’t keep me up any longer than normal, but it did seem to help in the morning after a longish night working the bottles. I find the taste too harsh, though, and I haven’t returned to the stuff, but perhaps that’s subjective. Would a vitamin pill, a Tums, and a ginger ale work just as well? (And cost less than $2 a dose?) Well, that’s an experiment for another day.

See also: Cheerz IntelliShot

B / $6 for a box of three tablets /

Review: Cheerz IntelliShot Supplement

Hangovers. I don’t like ’em. You don’t like ’em. Hangover remedies are legion, of course, but those with the most promise are the ones that promise you never get the hangover to begin with.

Enter Cheerz,  a little shot-sized vial of green liquid that, when consumed while you drink alcohol, promises to eliminate hangovers and provide “morning after vitality.”

You are supposed to drink a vial with every three to four “standard adult beverages,” so after three glasses of wine last night I sucked one down. First try was unrefrigerated, a mistake. Cheerz is difficult on the palate, to say the least: It’s sickly sweet like lemon-lime syrup at first, then you realize that’s to mask a severe bitterness underneath. The aftertaste is harsh, and drinking this in one big gulp (difficult due to the tiny mouth of the bottle) is the only way to do it, and the colder the better. (You can also use it as a mixer in cocktails; I didn’t try this, but it may work better than the one-slug method.)

Immediately after finishing the dose I felt nauseous. I had to lie down, in fact. The feeling passed after 15 minutes, but it was disconcerting… especially with that aftertaste lingering the whole time.

Come morning, I felt no better or worse than I normally do, but certainly not hungover in the slightest, though to be honest I didn’t drink enough for a real hangover (and rarely do). I can report that while I had trouble sleeping in general thanks to a nagging cough, I’ve been remarkably productive all day today. So maybe there’s something to this after all. Still, the taste and initial nausea might make it tough for me to take again.
What’s in Cheerz that makes it work? Succinic acid, glucose, L-glutamine, malic acid, N-acetyl L-cysteine, L-alanine, and milk thistle seed extract. I don’t know what any of that stuff means, really, but there you have it. You can read all about it on the Cheerz website (see below). Cheerz is also available in pill form.

If anyone else out there tries the stuff (especially after a heavier night of drinking), please let me know or post a comment below! I expect individual mileage may vary pretty wildly.

B- / $24 for six 1.5 oz. bottles /

cheerz intellishot