It’s too bright, far too bright and for some reason the birds tweeting outside sound like unregulated drum n bass played at maximum volume. You might be able to contend with these two issues, but you have only just realised your mouth has the texture of sandpaper and feels dryer than the Sahara desert. It also still happens to be far too bright. My friends, you are in the grips of the “Der Kater” or “the cat”, more precisely a tomcat or even more precisely, you are the proud owner of German hangover.
There are some out there, mostly Germans, who will attempt to convince you that due to the Reinheitsgebot (beer purity law) acquiring a hangover on German beer is near to impossible. This is somewhat true, but if you persevere you can prove those naysayers wrong. I have, a number of times. Plus with the German proclivity for drinking schnapps, sometimes it’s guaranteed. Thankfully, hangovers in Germany can be less destructive than a night on a budget British lager or turbo shandy (Fosters and Smirnoff Ice), they still may require some minor medical attention.
For those of you who would prefer to avoid reaching for the ibuprofen, the Germans have discovered some fairly straight forward ways to solve a night on the sauce:
Renowned for their practical nature, German’s have solved the problem of hangovers by simply not drinking. Not only does this avoid “The Cat” but it gives you plenty more time to complete your tax returns and give the house a quick hoover. My wife for one is a supporter of this sensible stance. However, she was recently diagnosed with a severe case of pragmatism and as such is not in her right mind. Don’t worry though, the doctor has prescribed eating Haribo, downing a bottle of Mezzo Mix and then playing Laser Quest into the early hours. I look forward to her speedy recovery.
Drink lots of water
It’s obvious. A long session will result in dehydration, so drinking water is surely the only cure. Yet, as anyone living in Germany knows, drinking water from the tap is for peasants and horses. It might even be poisonous. The only correct way to imbibe H2O is from a litre plastic bottle, preferably sparkling. You might imagine that this makes Germans slightly pretentious, but that would be a misunderstanding. We drink from plastic bottles in order to enjoy one of the great German hobbies, recycling.
Go for a walk
Fresh air?sunshine? Human interaction? No, I don’t know how any of that could possibly help.
This is where things get scientific. Although hangovers are not fully understood, it is appreciated that dehydration is one of many factors. What the body needs is electrolytes, but before you reach for the Lucozade, think German. The Tutons have a traditional Katerfrühstück or hangover breakfast, part of which is the Rollmop. Originating in the north of Germany the Katerfrühstück consist of pickled herring fillets, wrapped around a variety of fillings, but usually a gherkin and secured with wooden sticks. High in potassium and sodium, these babies will definitely help you on your way. The downside? You’re eating fish for breakfast. Then again, cats love fish.
If the north of Germany has rollmops, then the south has the Weißwurstfrühstück. My first encounter with this genius idea was following a Corpus Christi parade my wife reported on a few years ago. After following the parade and then interviewing the local priest, we were invited to join the congregation for this traditional Bavarian breakfast. Although we declined, I couldn’t help thinking that it was a serious step up from the tepid cup of tea and slightly stale biscuit that is the usual fare of church halls around the UK. Weißwurstfrühstück is a twist on the other German hangover cure, the Konterbier (counter beer) or hair of the dog. Instead of just having another drink to get rid of the hangover, in this case Weißbier, Bavarians add Weißwurst a traditional sausage to the mix. Granted, peeling the skin from the sausage is a little tricky and could be an issue during the worst of hangovers, it’s worth persevering. Although, I do have one important tip: stick with the sweet mustard on this one, I once ate mine with sriracha. It didn’t go well.