You woke up in the back yard again, didn’t you? As a public service to the hungover, every week we track down the best bartenders in America and ask them to share their favorite hair-of-the-dog remedies. This week we’ve got a gin cocktail that’s so earthy you can actually taste the dirt in it.
THE SPECIALIST: Eric Brooks, head bartender of CBD Provisions in Dallas, Texas
HIS ELIXIR: SALERMEN
ITS ORIGINS: Salers Aperitif is a popular French liqueur that only become available in the U.S. within the past few years. That may be because Americans aren’t exactly clamoring to drink it: The aperitif is made from the roots of a flowering plant and it really does taste like it, giving off hints of weeds, sticks, and, well, dirt. A few centuries ago, peasants in France’s volcanic, alpine region first made a tonic from the wild Gentiane lutea plant and drank it to aid in their digestion. In 1885 Salers Distillery began producing the liqueur commercially. The company distills the roots with other herbs and alcohol and then ages the product for two years in oak barrels, infusing the liqueur with its distinctly rustic flavor.
ITS HEALING POWERS: Eric Brooks, head bartender of CBD Provisions in Dallas, Texas, likes introducing people to Salers, but warns that it’s an acquired taste. “If you don’t know what you’re getting into, you’re going to hate it,” he says. “Salers has intense notes of green grass and wood. The finish is quite bitter and has a drying effect.” Brooks dulls Salers’ vegetal tang by combining it with botanical gin, crisp lemon juice, and sparkling wine. He calls the bubbly, hangover-approved concoction Salermen. “A refreshing drink in the morning cuts the bad taste out of your mouth from the night before,” he says. “Hangover drinks should be enjoyable enough to take your mind off of why you’re having to drink it in the first place.”
WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE LOW-PROOF DRINKS IN THE MORNING: “The point of a hair of the dog is to bite back at the one that bit you last night,” Brooks says. “But you have to ease back into it or else you’ll get caught in a vicious drunk-hungover cycle.“
THE METHOD: Make the honey syrup: Combine one part water with two parts wild Texas honey in a pot. Warm over medium heat, stirring, until the honey dissolves. Remove from heat. Cool. Make the drink: Muddle orange slice in cocktail tin. Add gin, Salers, honey syrup, lemon juice, and ice. Shake. Strain into a coupe. Top with Blanc de Blancs, a lemon slice, and a sprig of mint.
Alyson Sheppard is the resident hangover specialist at Playboy.com. Follow her on Twitter: @amshep