The words of the day are sunglasses and Advil. We’re right there with 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 wholesome tiki cocktail that’s so substantial you could eat it with a spoon.
THE SPECIALIST: Máté Hartai, beverage director of HG Sply Co. and the soon-to-open Remedy, both in Dallas, Texas
HIS ELIXIR: Don Don
ITS ORIGINS: Tiki culture in the U.S. can be traced back to one man: Don the Beachcomber. The native Texan (born Ernest Gantt) spent the 1920s traveling around the Caribbean and the South Pacific islands, soaking in that Polynesian-Parrothead vibe. He settled in Hollywood in the 1930s and opened a tropical-themed restaurant and bar called Don the Beachcomber. There he served potent rum cocktails like the Zombie and Tahitian Rum Punch and acquired his life-long nickname. After World War II, laid-back tiki bars exploded in popularity and Don the Beachcomber expanded into a successful chain across the country.
ITS HEALING POWERS: Máté Hartai, beverage director of HG Sply Co. in Dallas, Texas, loves tiki culture but doesn’t want to scare anyone away with paper umbrellas. So he came up with a wholesome tropical drink with a bit more nutritional value than a Mai Tai. The Don Don (named after his hero, Don the Beachcomber) contains rum, ginger beer and whole puréed kiwis. “Kiwis have a lot of potassium and more vitamin C than an orange,” Hartai says. “They give you that bounce-back effect.”
The pick-me-up Don Don is studded with chewy kiwi seeds that resemble the tapioca balls in bubble tea. "It has positive calories and more sustenance than just juice,” he says. “It gives you something to digest.” The ginger beer adds a brightness to the drink without adding acidity. And the holistic swill only contains natural sugars, which won’t make you crash later in the day.
BEVERAGE DIRECTORS: THEY’RE NOT JUST LIKE US!: What does Hartai do when he gets a hangover? “I run five miles with my dog,” he says.
THE METHOD: Purée the flesh of two kiwis. Combine kiwi and rum in a cocktail tin. Shake well. Pour into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with ginger beer and garnish with an expressed lemon peel. No paper umbrellas allowed!
Alyson Sheppard is the resident hangover specialist at Playboy.com. Follow her on Twitter: @amshep