10 Steps to Hangover Relief in the Islands

You are officially drunk headed to hangover.  How long is this going to last today?

If alcohol has ever passed your lips then at one point or another you have had a hangover.  It happens to the best of us.  You find yourself drinking rum in Bridgetown, Barbados and the drinks flow too easily.   You are on your Lagoon 500 under full sail, halfway between Nevis and Montserrat and the cold beer hits the spot. You feel good, hell you feel great! For now.

The dreaded hangover is coming.  Most people get them.  There are a special few who avoid it somehow someway, I’m no doctor so don’t ask me how.  A hangover can put a serious hurt on you and ruin at least a day of your time in the little latitudes.  What to do?

Key West 2010

A round for the bikini crew 2010 © Carlton Grooms 2010

I’m not going to preach avoidance or abstinence here.  Far be it for me to say that to you.  Lighting would probably strike me as soon as hit the ‘post’ button on this article.  My e-Mail inbox would flood from all the people calling me out. There are however, a few things you can do to prepare yourself.

  1. Eat.  I go for a good protein, carbohydrate mix.  Maybe even a little fried food for the fat.  Drinking isn’t compatible when dieting so don’t save calories for drinking.  Eat often while drinking as well.
  2. Hydrate.  Drink a lot of water before you start drinking 2:1 is ideal.  Stay hydrated once you start.  If I am in it for the long haul I try to drink a large glass of water every other drink.
  3. Vitamin B-complex.  I take this both before and after drinking. It will help your body chemistry to stay balanced.


You’re watching the sun come up on Mallory Square in Key West.  The same Mallory Square you watched the same sun go down on.  You’ve been in the bars on Duval St. all night.  Time to crash, if you can still walk.  Food.  You have the munchies and you realize you haven’t eaten for eight hours.  If you can stomach it, yes, eat.  Now is also the time to start pounding the water if you have any mental function remaining. Got the water and food into you?  Found your room? Time for bed.

Jimmy being happy. Key West.

Jimmy being happy. Key West. ©2010 Carlton Grooms

Room is spinning.  You paid top dollar to stay downtown Key West and they can’t even give you a room that doesn’t spin.  Assholes.  You put a foot on the floor.  Still spinning.  You put two feet on the floor as you try to lie in bed.  You look really silly, but who cares.  Still spinning.  Uh oh, don’t feel so good anymore.  Room air conditioner is set real cold but the sweats start.  You get a strange tingly sensation that runs up and back down your body and stops dead center on your stomach.  Here comes that pizza you ate 30 minutes ago.  I might have suggested bananas instead of pizza; it tastes the same coming up as it did going down.  Bananas are also plentiful in the islands.

Congratulations, you are officially drunk headed to hangover.  How long is this going to last today?  Why did I have to do this to myself?  I’m never drinking again. (Funniest line I ever heard.)

Lindsey and me. South Beach, FL.

Lindsey and me. South Beach, FL. ©2011 Carlton Grooms

What is the cure for a hangover?  It comes down to what is the way to work your way out of a hangover more than what is the cure.  The true answer rests in how you conducted your drinking session before and during.  If you screwed up that part, this part is going to seriously suck.

The classic hangover consists of headache, nausea, upset stomach, shaking, vomiting, sensitivity to light, elevated body temperature and heart rate amongst many others depending on who you are and how tolerant you are to alcohol.  Surprisingly there is not a lot of science pointing to cures, but a fair amount of knowledge has been published as to what is actually happening to your body to suggest ways to cope.

Dehydration caused by over active kidneys and the diuretic effect of alcohol is causing some of your pain.  As the ethanol levels drop in your blood you can suffer from withdrawal.  The ethanol starts a chain reaction throughout your body, especially the liver that shuts down or screws up many normal chemical processes.  That’s my scientific explanation anyway, as thin as it is.

Rum Fest. South Beach, Miami.

Rum Fest. South Beach, Miami. Team Cocktail (Lindsey) and Rum Shop Ryan. ©2010 Carlton Grooms

How do you handle it?  You want to hear Bankie Banx play at Plane Dune later today on Anguilla.  You can’t be hung over today.  Here are some strategies for you.

  1. Drink plenty of water.  If sports drinks are available even better.  Get some electrolytes back into your system.  Pedialyte is great if you are severely dehydrated and have some available.
  2. Get some sleep in a dark cold room.  Rest is always welcome.  Try to stay down as long as time permits. Hopefully you don’t need to catch a flight home.
  3. Once you are out of bed it is time to eat.  Scrambled eggs are a good choice as they contain cysteine that helps your system rehydrate.  Eggs are also easy on your stomach.  Bananas are great for replacing electrolytes and are easy on your stomach.
  4. Juices, I prefer non-acidic, are great for natural sugar.  You’re in the islands; there will be plenty of fresh juice around.
  5. Hair of the Dog.  Ernest Hemingway, a well-established professional drinker, relied on tomato juice and beer.  Most hearty sailors rely on Bloody Marys, my preference.  If you can use V-8, even better as you get a meal in the glass and the vodka helps counter your ethanol withdrawal.
  6. Oxygen.  If you have access, breathe slow and deep for as long as practical.  I’m a former Naval Aviator, and while I never broke the bottle to throttle time rule I have strapped on a jet with lingering feelings of last night’s rum at the Officer’s Club.  Slapping the mask on my face always took care of it.  If you are a Scuba Diver, this is a readily available source in the islands.
  7. More Vitamin B-Complex.  Your piss will look like Mountain Dew but it will work.
  8. Alka Seltzer Morning Relief.  This is a mix between caffeine, and some light pain relievers.  The caffeine can still be support dehydration so continue to drink plenty.
  9. Shower.  Isn’t the shower an amazing thing?  It chills you out at night and has the opposite effect of waking you up in the morning.  The shower before, during or after a hangover is as much a physiological boost as anything.  Don’t puke in the shower, it won’t go down the drain.

10. Go for a swim.  You are in the islands.  There is plenty of water around.  A little non-strenuous physical activity will make you feel so much better.

It’s going to happen.  Be smart about it and be prepared to deal with the consequences of your fun.  There is nothing wrong with going and for a few drinks with friends, just make sure you stay safe, be friendly to all, don’t drive, give the keys to the rental scooter to the bartender or friend and enjoy.  You are in the islands.

Fantasy Fest 2010

Fantasy Fest 2010 ©2010 Carlton Grooms


Got more hangover cures that you use successfully?  Let me know at coastlines@conchrepublicbikinis.com.  I’ll gather them up and share them with my readers.

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