5 Salt Lake City bartenders share their go-to hangover cures

Favorite eateries and their restorative dishes and drinks get shoutouts — along with caffeine and ibuprofen.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Even Stevens' Graduate Burrito, Dec. 22, 2021, with choice of bacon, ham, sausage or avocado, served with two eggs scrambled or medium cheddar, tots, house sauce, sriracha, tomatoes, onions and spinach with a side of salsa morita, $9.75.

‘Tis the season for indulging in the holiday spirit — or spirits. Celebrating with a specialty drink in hand can be both fun and delicious — though if you overdo it, the next day’s hangover is anything but.

If you find yourself waking up with a headache that just won’t quit and that persistent feeling of nausea, you’ll want the quickest fix you can find. The Salt Lake Tribune took to Salt Lake City bars to find out from experts just how to kick the hangover blues and get on the path to feeling good again. With New Year’s upon us, you might want to take note.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) The breakfast burrito at Rancheritos, Dec. 27, 2021.

The expert: Christopher Stephenson, bar manager at Lake Effect

Crafting a perfect cocktail: “I love anything technical: egg-white sours, flips or fizzes. Although time-consuming and slightly difficult to master, you can’t beat a well-crafted one. I also take a lot of pride in garnishing. A properly garnished drink can make a lot of difference. It gives you a different level of enjoyment, not only with taste or smell, but now it’s visual as well.”

The hangover cure: “Anything with a greasy potato. Drive-thru breakfast burritos at Rancheritos are probably my go-to (always ask for extra verde salsa). I also love Mexican Coca-Cola when hungover — [there’s] something about the real cane sugar that brings me back from the dead a bit.”

Why it works: “Do I know the science behind it? Not at all. I can however say it works for me almost every time. So, no guarantees.”

A bit more about treating hangovers: “I am always trying to prevent them. Eat a decent meal before going out for drinks or celebrating. Drink a lot of water throughout the day before diving into those shots. Alternate a small glass of water in between those cocktails. It’s always easier to put yourself back in one piece the next day when there is some defense involved.”

Lake Effect is at 155 W. 200 South in Salt Lake City.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) District Coffee's Pork Breakfast Burrito stuffed with pork chile verde, black beans, onion, jalapeno, cilantro and cheddar cheese for $7.75, Dec. 22, 2021

The expert: Natalie Hamilton, lead bartender and menu designer at Under Current Bar

The hangover cure: “I have options. Coffee, of course, is imperative and often the first step for me. A new and great spot is District Coffee. I go for their excellent selection in coffee, easy-going vibes and their weekend pork breakfast burrito, which knows no rival on the burrito category in town.

“For a good cleanse, I go to SLC Eatery. Their omelet with burrata and fresh vegetables makes you feel like you never even made mistakes the night before. They feature multiple mimosa flavors, and the pineapple catches my desire every time. Their bloody marys are just as good, and the daily selections they feature are the perfect way to snack fast while you wait for your order.

“Lastly, I love going to Purgatory. The cure is an udon noodle bowl. If you wanted your favorite salty and delicious dinner for breakfast, this is the place. And their spicy udon broth will fix everything you wished you could leave from the night before. Consider it forgotten — along with your headache.”

Speaking of hangovers: “I’m a huge fan of ibuprofen and sunglasses. Make sure to get some Pedialyte for the days you can’t spoil yourself and, most importantly, if 5 p.m. hits and you’re still hungover, Under Current Bar opens at 5 for that emergency hair of the dog if the situation is that dire.”

Under Current Bar is at 270 S. 300 East in Salt Lake City.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Pho at Oh Mai Sandwich Kitchen in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021.

The expert: Jason Stevens, lead bartender at Water Witch

Tending at Water Witch: “Water Witch is sort of an odd bar and tends to be something different to everyone. First and foremost, we primarily focus on being a neighborhood bar. We have a lot of loyal regulars. We try to provide good drinks, service and knowledge without the pretense (I hear the phrase ‘cocktail dive’ being tossed around). You can get a well-made cocktail, a cheap shot and beer, a glass of wine, aperitif or sherry and/or hard-to-find spirit to sip on. Sometimes it feels like a punk rock/metal bar, sometimes it feels casual and low-key, sometimes it’s a dance party. We have some of the best bartenders anywhere, but I can safely say no one takes themselves too seriously.”

Favorite drinks to make: “I think simple is better — and often the measure of a good bartender. A well-made daiquiri is always a solid move and Negroni variations are always fun.”

The hangover cure: “Hangovers tend to be pretty brutal for me these days. Spicy ramen or pho is always good: the creamy vegan ramen at JinYa is excellent and All Chay or Oh Mai for pho. Drink lots of water, a kombucha or two, a Vitamin Water Revive, some ibuprofen and get plenty of sleep.”

Why it works: “Anything that temporarily lessens the suffering is a worthy endeavor.”

One more thing: “The best hangover cure is to avoid getting one. If that doesn’t work, then eat something, stay hydrated, pace yourself, know your limits, don’t take shots and get some sleep.”

Water Witch is at 163 W. 900 South in Salt Lake City.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Even Stevens' Graduate Burrito, Dec. 22, 2021, with choice of bacon, ham, sausage or avocado, served with two eggs scrambled or medium cheddar, tots, house sauce, sriracha, tomatoes, onions and spinach with a side of salsa morita, $9.75.

The expert: Katie Maloney, owner of Aces High Saloon

About Aces High: “Aces is a community bar on State Street where everyone is welcome. We built this bar for the underground music lovers in this town and around the world. Punk rockers, heshers, rock ‘n’ rollers, bikers and lovers of all things heavy and western is what you’ll find here with a delicious menu of traditional and vegan-friendly sandwiches, tacos and homemade soups.”

The hangover cure: “When I wake up and it’s time to treat my hangover, I call Even Stevens for takeout. I get the Graduate Breakfast Burrito with avocado and over-medium eggs. The tater tots with the cheese and eggs and avocado topped with their chunky rojo salsa is so amazing. My favorite part about the Sugar House Even Stevens is it’s right next door to Vive Juicery. I get the carbs in to soak up the booze then usually get beet juice to help my body heal from the great party I had.”

Don’t forget the caffeine: “After you’ve eaten, reloaded your body on vitamins and consumed plenty of water, the last thing to cure a hangover is a double espresso. The caffeine puts your head back on straight.”

Aces High Saloon is at 1588 S. State St. in Salt Lake City.

The expert: Jacob Sanders, bartender (and occasional plumber, janitor and therapist) at Post Office Place

The art of stirring: “I prefer making stirred drinks. Something about stirring a drink has always felt very ‘bartenderly’ to me, which I think has to do with the fact that when I was first being taught how to bartend, the importance of stirring versus shaking a drink was first made known to me. I think I feel important when I do it. I also love peeling and expressing citrus and making it fit just right on the edge of a glass, which many stirred drinks call for. All your Manhattan and martini variations are just my speed.”

Going postal: “Post Office Place is a chic-but-cozy bar and restaurant that is focused on cocktails and Japanese whisky, with a phenomenal tapas-style food menu inspired by cuisine from around the world. One thing you can always expect at Post Office Place [is] a bartender or server (all of the bartenders also take serving shifts) who really knows their spirits. This knowledge is afforded by the owners of Post Office Place, Tamara and Takashi Gibo, who let general manager Rich Romney and bar manager Crystal Daniels put on classes for different types of alcohol every couple [of] months. I think our cocktail list, which is curated by both staff and Crystal — and changed seasonally — offers some of the most ingenuitive and experimental cocktails in the city.”

The hangover cure: “I always like to joke that a hangover, like after a bad breakup, just takes time. Be open to forgiving yourself for any silly things you may have said or done the night before. A breakfast burrito from Hector’s with a Sprite on the side and a two-hour prescription of your favorite funny, comfortable TV show (did someone say “Parks and Recreation”?) works wonders. If, like many of us, you made drunken plans with people the night before for the morning and brunch is in order, make sure anywhere you’re going has a liquor license and squeezes their own fresh juice so you can get a grapefruit mimosa and laugh with friends about the night before. My favorite joint currently is SLC Eatery.”

Post Office Place is at 16 W. Market St. in Salt Lake City.