Retailers would love for you to spend around $75 for a gift basket, but assembling one yourself costs you a quarter as much and allows you to indulge your creativity. Although smoked sausages, spread cheeses and chocolates are popular components, I say rethink tradition. Who really needs more decadent food during holidays?
This season, I'm giving certain friends (all of whom have a good sense of humor as well as a penchant for cocktails) hangover relief baskets. Want to copy this idea? Here's what you'll need (besides a basket).
5. Bottled Water
Because rehydration is the key to feeling better. Go with still -- not sparkling -- as extra carbonation tends to exacerbate hangover bloat, and be wary of artificial flavors that will test an already testy stomach. I recommend electrolyte-enhanced water from Trader Joe's, which will help rebalance your ions after a night of debauchery.
Those in the know (usually older people) have been using Alka-Seltzer for years as a multi-purpose elixir for pain, nausea and cold symptoms. Two tablets dissolved in water will quiet a pounding head and settle the digestive tract. And unlike other, more specific hangover relievers, you can pull this out again during flu season.
Debate all you want over the merits of certain morning-after meals. All you really need is eggs (fried, scrambled, poached, whatever) because they contain significant amounts of cysteine, which breaks down the hangover-causing toxin acetaldehyde.
Simple carbohydrates provide that much-needed energy to drag yourself from the bed to the shower and are less likely to irritate your stomach. Skip overly fried, fibrous or seasoned varieties. Each of my friends is getting a good ol' box of Ritz.
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1. Reed's Nausea Relief Elixir
This should be your final shot during any night of partying. The combination of lemon and TWELVE grams of fresh ginger makes for a piquant yet ultimately soothing concoction that blasts away belly burbles. Maybe you should have used it in the first place as a mixer with that whiskey.