Whatever you do, don’t look at your texts from last night. Just delete them and focus on your recovery. We’re here to help. 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 fiery, red-headed drink that gets its heat from a baking spice.
THE SPECIALIST: Christian Sanders, co-partner and head bartender at Evelyn Drinkery in New York City’s Alphabet City
HIS ELIXIR: Red Head
ITS ORIGINS: Allspice is the fruit of a tree native to Jamaica and the tropical Americas. The spice looks like a peppercorn when dry, which is why European explores to the Caribbean named the plant pimento, the Spanish word for pepper. Pimento dram, a spicy liqueur popular in vintage cocktail recipes, is made from rum, sugar and allspice.
ITS HEALING POWERS: When cold weather hits, Christian Sanders, co-owner of New York’s Evelyn Drinkery, reaches for warm baking spices behind the bar. His fall-themed hangover cocktail, the Red Head, is made from tequila, lemon juice, ginger beer, honey, bitters and allspice.
“Citrus is always good if you feel a little under the weather,” he says. “Ginger is nice and refreshing and it helps cleanse your insides. And Angostura bitters have cloves, anise and cinnamon, which are all good for digestion.” He uses floral Hornitos Plata tequila, which has hints of vanilla and cinnamon. “It makes all of the other flavors in the cocktail shine,” he says.
The Red Head is both a glorified Tequila Collins (tequila, lemon juice, simple syrup and club soda) and a Buck (tequila, lemon juice and ginger beer). “I wanted to create something that is very crowd-pleasing,” Sanders says. “This drink should appeal to almost anyone.” So why is it called a Red Head? Aside from the rouge Angostura bitters garnish on top, Sanders says it has to do with a red head’s nickname: ginger.
WHO NEEDS COFFEE: “I drink tequila all of the time,” Sanders says. “Tequila is a stimulant. Anytime I’m tired or hungover and I need to get through my day I take two or three shots of tequila and I’m back in the game.”
THE METHOD: Combine allspice and honey in a mixing glass. Add tequila and lemon juice. Shake well. Add ginger beer. Strain into a Collins glass. Top with four dashes of Angostura bitters and a mint sprig.
Alyson Sheppard is a writer and hangover specialist at Playboy Digital. Her work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mental Floss, McSweeney’s, National Geographic Adventure, Jezebel, and more. Follow her on Twitter: @amshep