Review: B4 Hangover Preventer

What better time is there to get a sample of B4 than right before Super Bowl weekend?

Billing itself as “what to drink before you drink,” B4 is a vitamin and supplement fueled hangover preventer. B4’s light orange color, mild carbonation, and metallic orange nose signal a citrus base with overtones of fortified vitamin water. The carbonation is nice on the palate, but B4 has a slightly bitter, metallic taste that finishes with the essence of cough syrup and crushed multivitamins, leaving a significant unpleasant aftertaste.

The makers of B4 say that the drink supplies enough electrolytes, amino acids, vitamins, plant extracts, antioxidants, and minerals to protect against alcohol’s effect on your system. If you are out for an all-night binge (and can physically tolerate the high B vitamin levels), B4 could be possibly be very helpful the following morning. I personally did not see any physical benefit, but I think this is designed for a heavier drinker than myself. The best use for B4 might to add the cause to the cure and use B4 as a fortified mixer for sweeter drinks that can balance the flavor out. Also note that it is essentially a vitamin bomb, featuring very high doses of B complexes and other vitamins and supplements well above recommended levels. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you have to be aware of the ingredients just like any other supplement or vitamin you would use, and plan accordingly.

C+ / $4.50 per 8.4 oz. can /

Breakfast Recipes: Hangover Cures for New Year’s Day

I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do on New Year’s Day is get up with a hangover and cook breakfast.  Here are three make-the-night-before breakfast recipes to get you up and functioning on January 1st.

Happy New Year from all of us at Drinkhacker — and don’t forget the Advil!

Mom’s Hair of the Dog Strata
1 lb bacon, chopped and cooked
8 oz breakfast sausage, cooked and sliced thin
1 bunch green onion, sliced fine
1 cup broccoli florets cut small
1/2 pound cubed bread.  1 day-old baguette usually does it.
10 eggs
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/4 cups whole milk
8 oz cheddar cheese
2 oz shredded pepper jack
1 tbsp butter
salt, pepper, Tabasco and nutmeg to taste

Butter a 9×9 high sided baking pan.  Mix all ingredients together except the Asiago.  Put in baking ban, cover and chill overnight refrigerated.

The following morning take strata out of the fridge, sprinkle Asiago on top while oven is preheating. Once oven has reached temperature, bake strata uncovered for about 30-45 minutes, or perhaps a little longer, depending on your oven. Once it is puffy and brown, remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes and eat.

Drink pairings: Mimosa or Beermosa, Lambic Sangria

Breakfast Stromboli
This can be made the night before and then wrapped tightly and refrigerated overnight.  You would just need to do the egg wash in the morning right before baking.

1 large pizza dough 22 oz (I use Michael Lomonaco’s recipe)
12 eggs + 1 egg
1 lb Mozzarella
1 lb Italian Sausage cooked and sliced thin
4 oz prosciutto
1/2 cup Alfredo Sauce
2 tbsp heavy cream or full fat milk
1/4 cup Parmesan or asiago, grated

Mix the heavy cream or milk and the 12 eggs and scramble. Cook until just set but not hard or runny. Set aside to cool. Roll pizza dough to 12” by 18” rectangle with the base on a cookie tray or parchment sheet. Brush the dough lightly with Alfredo sauce, leaving an inch of clean space on all four sides. 

Cover the dough with prosciutto in a single layer. Sprinkle half the mozzarella on top.  Add the cooked eggs, making sure they are cool first.  Add the remaining mozzarella and the sausage. 

Roll the Stromboli and pinch ends and bottom closed.  Egg wash entire Stromboli and sprinkle Parmesan or Asiago on top.

Bake at 475F for about 10-2o minutes depending on oven. Stromboli should be golden brown and the dough should sound hollow when you knock on it.

Drink pairings: Espresso with a splash of anisette, Madras, Any German Pilsner

Short Ribs for Breakfast
Special equipment required: Slow cooker — put on no later than 10 pm
3 lb bone-in short ribs or 2 lb boneless
1 cup seasoned flour
two 12 oz stouts or porters of your choice
1 onion sliced
1 bay leaf
2 pieces celery rough chopped
2 medium carrot peeled and rough chopped
1 dry ancho or cascabel pepper (These are dried and will reconstitute in your crock pot)
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 spring thyme
8 oz brewed coffee
16 oz beef stock
eggs (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1 can pop-open biscuits
8 oz cheddar cheese

Roll the short ribs in flour and sear until brown in a heavy skillet.  Add all the vegetables to the bottom of the crock pot.  Place the short ribs on top of the vegetables.  Add all the spices and herbs.  Add the stout and the beef stock and coffee. Turn on low and cook overnight.

In the morning, bake the biscuits.  While they are baking, remove the short ribs shred the meat, saving the liquid.  Strain the liquid, reserving the liquid and disposing of the vegetables.

When the biscuits are done, dunk them quickly in the cooking broth, fill with cheddar and the shredded short ribs, and enjoy.  Add a fried egg if you want to.

Drink pairings: Bloody Mary, Firebreather (coffee and stout in equal parts, plus 1 oz Fireball)

Review: S-NAC Hangover “Game Changer”

s-nacAnother in a long line of purported hangover curatives, S-NAC is a “pre-game” supplement (taken in the form of two big, orange tablets) with just two ingredients.

Per the company, here’s what they are and what they do:

  1. Sulbutiamine is a highly bioavailable, lipophilic form of thiamine that works as a cognitive enhancer by increasing glutamatergic neurotransmission (among other things). This counteracts the effects of alcohol on depressing the glutamate system. Glutamate is the brain’s principal excitatory neurotransmitter, and is required for memory formation, learning and cognition. This is why it may be difficult to recall events that happen when you’re drunk, and some people may exhibit poor coordination and cognitive skills while inebriated. Sulbutiamine counteracts this effect (to a point).

  2. N-Acetyl L-Cysteine goes to work to protect your liver by increasing the levels of Glutathione. Both NAC and Glutathione bind to Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) that come about as a result of acetaldehyde metabolism (acetaldehyde is what alcohol first gets metabolized to). In addition thiamine from sulbutiamine may complex with acetaldehyde to give rise to acetyl Coenzyme A. The end result is that this formula should protect your liver and brain cells from acetaldehyde and resulting ROS toxicity. You do want to give enough time for the product to get in your system and for your liver to transform the NAC into glutathione before you start ingesting alcohol, however. This is why we stress taking S-NAC before you start drinking (at least a half hour prior).

The primary goal of S-NAC is to remove acetaldehyde from the system, which is supposed to not only give you less of a hangover the next day but also a clearer head while you’re drinking. (The company warns that you may feel more sober than you actually are, so use caution if you’re out and about.)

I tried S-NAC on three occasions and had mixed results. In general, I felt fine overall both while drinking and the next day, but on one occasion I found myself waking with a substantial headache. I hadn’t consumed much at all the night before, so the headache could have been the result of dehydration or some other cause like stress or allergies. Either way, it passed fairly quickly once I drank a glass of water. I would not say my mood or alertness while drinking changed noticeably, but that’s a highly subjective question to try to answer.

Does S-NAC work? Hard to say, but it certainly didn’t hurt — which some hangover remedies can do — and my results were interesting enough to merit giving it another whirl down the line.

B+ / $30 for 10 doses /

Review: Zaca Recovery Chewables

Zaca05I’ve written a lot about how effective Zaca patches can be at preventing hangovers, but the problem with patches is an obvious one: You have to put them on before you go out.

Now Zaca is hitting the market with a chewable that’s designed to help you out if you overdid it and, er, left the house without protection.

About the consistency of a Tums, the tablets contain Japanese raisin, L-alanine l-glutamine, prickly pear, and L-glutathione. I don’t know what most of that means, but it’s a considerably different list of ingredients than the patch contains. I tried them out and they seemed to offer some help on a tough morning, and they were far easier to get down than most sickly-tasting hangover beverages, which often taste so bad you end up wondering whether the cure is worse than the malady. A couple of chewables and a glass of water is a better deal in my book.

That said, fixing the problem is never as good as preventing it in the first place. My advice is to stick with the patch, but toss a couple of these packets in your bedside table… just in case.

B+ / $20 for 16 tablets / [BUY IT HERE]

Review: Magipatch Hangover Recovery Patch


Zaca and Bytox have new competition in the burgeoning hangover preventive market: Magipatch.

Magipatch says it’s a “hangover recovery patch,” but that’s a bit misleading — like Zaca and Bytox, you have to apply the patch before you start drinking for it to work. The day after is simply too late. Leave it on until the following day and you’re supposed to be fine.

Comparing the ingredient list to Zaca reveals lots of similarities. Magipatch includes Thiamin, Vitamins C, E, A, D, Bs 2, 3, 5, 6, and 12, Green Tea Extract, Milk Thistle, Globe Artichoke Extract, and Chromium Picolinate. Lots of commonalities, but lots of other oddities in there too — and the active ingredients are in generally higher concentrations than Zaca. What’s the key component? For my money, milk thistle is where it’s at when it comes to offsetting the damage of alcohol consumption. (I’m not alone here.)

Magipatch comes with a plastic backing vs. Zaca’s cloth backing. It sticks on well — but it does leave a bit of residue on the skin after you take it off.

The results? Not bad at all. I wore Magipatch as instructed for a long night out and had little more than a dry mouth the next morning. My dreams were exceptionally strange that night — though it’s tough to pin that on any specific patch or ingestible — but otherwise I slept fairly soundly. Judging on history, Zaca does seem slightly more effective — provided you can keep it from falling off at night — but your personal mileage may vary.

In my analysis, as unscientific as it may be, preventive patches do seem to work — and they’re far more effective than pills or beverages you drink after the damage is done. While moderation is the best way to avoid a hangover, if you think things could get messy, Zaca or Magipatch are an excellent insurance policy.

A- / $28 for 10 patches /

The End of Hangovers, Alcoholism… and Getting Drunk?

Could a Chinese pill end your hangover… and cure alcoholism? The trick is to keep you from getting drunk in the first place.

Imagine a pill that could instantly sober you up no matter how much you’ve had to drink, or a hangover cure that worked minutes after swallowing it. Hardened drinkers rejoice: researchers are about to begin human trials on an “alcohol antidote” that may soon offer a cure to alcoholism, reports New Scientist.

The drug is a chemical called dihydromyricetin, or DHM, and is derived from a Chinese variety of the oriental raisin tree, which has been used for at least 500 years in China as an effective hangover cure. So far the extract has only been tested on boozing rats, but with promising results.

“DHM will reduce the degree of drunkenness for the amount of alcohol drunk and will definitely reduce the hangover symptoms,” said Jing Liang, lead researcher in the study. “In time, it will reduce [an alcoholic’s] desire for alcohol.”