Word of Mouth

Drinkwel: the hangover cure that works

At the risk of riling up those readers who like to tell me I drink too much, I plan on ringing in 2011 the same way I welcomed 2009 and 2010: with plenty of bubbly followed by a cocktail or five. And I'm sure there are at least a few people who are with me.

My typical M.O. is to then spend New Year's Day lying in a dark room until I finally drag myself out of bed to track down a burrito or a Bloody Mary, only to return to the couch and nap the afternoon away. I don't get totally wasted that often, but when I do, I pay dearly, with hangovers that last about 24 hours.

Not this year. Because a few months ago, I received a hangover cure that, as far as I can tell, actually works.

I was shipped a sample of Drinkwel, a little capsule developed by some biomedical science Ph.D. in California. The pills are chock-full of vitamins and minerals that supposedly combat the effects of drinking by replacing all the nutrients your body loses during consumption.

I didn't spend too much time reading the ingredients, and I was pretty sure the thing was a farce, like vitamin E making your hair silkier or vitamin B boosting your metabolism. Maybe that stuff's actually true, but I've never noticed a difference.

But this was science, obviously, so I set up an experiment to see how well it worked.

On the first night, I drank to excess, giving special credence to whiskey and red wine, since those things make me particularly miserable. Predictably, I spent the next day riding the hangover train of misery.

A week later, I was poised to start all over. Drinkwel instructs you to take three tablets with food and a full glass of water before imbibing. You take three more tablets with a full glass of water before you go to bed. Not drinking on an empty stomach (not that I ever have an empty stomach) and hydration already put me one step ahead of the game, but I decided to really give the stuff a good run for its money.

How? Three words: Mike's Hard Lemonade, a lethal combination of sugar and terrible liquor that punches me in the temples every time I suck one down. And I drank a six-pack on top of a fair few of my usual whiskey-ginger order at a local dive bar.

I stumbled home sometime around 2 a.m. and faithfully choked down the second round of tablets, feeling vaguely triumphant that I was about to prove this supplement didn't work.

Except that I woke up the next morning, head clear, stomach strong as steel, ready to embrace the day. I could do some work! I could go for a run! I could even build a financial model for no reason at all! All of the bad decisions and none of the terrible aftereffects! I was feeling great.

I realize that the whole water-and-food thing may have had more of an effect than the capsule itself, but, hey, this was science. And I will never drink heavily without the supplement again. Plus, I like the warning that comes with it:

Remember, this product does not prevent intoxication, alcohol poisoning, alcohol abuse, or utter stupidity.

Feeling like you might need the stuff for your Friday-night plans? Order Drinkwel on the product's website.

Happy New Year. It's going to be a great 2011.

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk