Coffee alone will not revive you from this morning’s stupor. 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 crisp beer cocktail to jolt you back to life.
THE SPECIALIST: Flinn Pomeroy, bartender at Sweetwater Social in New York City’s Greenwich Village
HER ELIXIR: Snakebite
ITS ORIGINS: Apples were one of the first cash crops grown in the American colonies. And where there were apples, there was fermented apple juice, or hard apple cider. In the 1600s settlers could not trust drinking water because it often contained brutal parasites and diseases, so they relied on sterile alcoholic drinks like cider, brandy and beer for hydration. Since hard cider is so tasty and naturally low in alcohol (apples do not contain much sugar, the food that yeast converts to alcohol), most people—including children!—drank at least a pint a day, even for breakfast.
ITS HEALING POWERS: Flinn Pomeroy, a bartender at Sweetwater Social in New York City, drinks her fortifying cider mixed with beer. “I get over hangovers like most bartenders get over hangovers: I drink more of what I was drinking the night before,” she says. Known as a Snakebite, the half cider, half India Pale Ale combo is similar to a Black and Tan beer cocktail, which is a made with half dark and half pale beer. “Snakebites are common in Irish pub culture, which I’ve been around my whole life,” she says.
Snakebites are simple to make, but you have to do it right: First pour the cider into the glass and then float the IPA on top. That way you drink the hearty beer first and finish with the refreshing cider. “I chug it,” she says. “You gotta get that kickstart.”
Pomeroy pairs the drink with a shot of smokey mezcal, served in a customary tiny clay pot known as a copita (left). “In New York City we drink a lot of mezcal,” she says. If she or her fellow bartenders show up to work hungover, the first thing they do is take a shot of the comforting spirit. “Mezcal kind of just feels like home. We drink it with each other; we drink it with customers. We know what it’s going to taste like and what the end result is going to be. It’s sort of a ritualistic thing.”
ONE LAST VERY IMPORTANT STEP: “Before shooting mezcal, you have to look each other in the eyes and say the traditional mezcal cheers: Stigibeu,” Pomeroy says. The ancient Zapotec toast salutes “the collective life force” of you, your friends and the earth.
THE METHOD: Pour cider into pint glass and top with IPA. Drink the shot of mezcal out of a copita cup. Chug the cider-IPA drink.
Alyson Sheppard is the resident hangover specialist at Playboy.com. Follow her on Twitter: @amshep