TDG #018: The Guatemalan Hangover Cure
One of the best damn hangover cures around.
I'm Skylar, and this is The Daily Grog newsletter. It's been a while since I've talked booze, so I figured there might not be a better time than coming off the weekend of Cinco de Mayo. How was that hangover, by the way? At my ripe old age of 31, the hangovers tend to last at least two days now - dark times.
Anyway, I love hearing about the different hangover cures out there. They tend to toe the line between spirituality, science, and anecdotal evidence. And someone's hangover cure tends to say a lot about them. Advil and coffee? Pragmatic nihilist. Prayer and chugging water? Hopeful optimist. The hair of the dog? Budding alcoholic. Liquid I.V. on hand? Not your first rodeo. Nothing? Below the age of 25.
Personally, I need something spicy and brothy - a bowl of saucy pork noodles is the usual cure, but a bowl of kimchi stew is a close second. Whatever it is, it needs to be damn spicy.
The more I've traveled, the more I've realized many places, especially the hard-drinking ones, have life-restoring secrets of their own. This past week, I discovered the Guatemalan version.
Picocitas and Ceviche
To wrap up our time in Guatemala, Steph and I met up with her cousin and cousin-in-law (who was born and raised in Guatemala). It was a great few days off the tourist path and spending time with legitimate locals to see a side of Guatemala we wouldn't have otherwise.
On one of our last nights in Antigua, they invited some friends over, and we all spent the time catching and visiting their old haunts throughout the city. And though I can't necessarily tell you the esoteric topics of conversation that happened at 3 am, I can tell you one thing - Guatemalans can drink.
So the following day was a bit, er, sluggish. Fortunately, Steph's cousin Mario, the Guatemalan native, was around to guide us toward the light. He took us to Hugo's, known and beloved by many Guatemalans for their perfect hangover cure: ceviche and picocitas. Admittedly I was a little suspect ingesting semi-raw fish while my stomach was still barely holding on for dear life, but this picocita thing intrigued me.
A cousin of the Bloody Mary and Michelada, the picocita is a simple concoction: beer, lime juice, salt, onion, jalepeño, and Worcester sauce. I'm not usually the biggest fan of savory drinks like these, but hell, I'll try anything during desperate times.
But the picocita was good! Surprisingly so, in fact. The spice from the jalepeño wakes up the metabolism, the salt and lime juice replace lost electrolytes, while the onion and Worcester sauce are just...fun. The whole combination produces that mildly euphoric, borderline hallucinogenic effect needed from any good hangover cure. At least according to my very scientific analysis.
Over a few picocitas, Mario tells us he's been coming here for years, and, back in the day, Hugo started by just selling ceviche and picocitas off the back of an old pickup truck. After a few years and many hangovers cured, Hugo opened up a brick-and-mortar store and became an institution. The servers even recognized Mario and his friend when we rolled in...I'll leave that open for interpretation.
The best part about the picocita is that they aren't too hard to make at home during your time of need.
Guatemalan (or Mexican) lager, Gallo, preferably in a can
The quantity of each ingredient can be easily tailored to your preferences.
Finely chop the small onion and jalepeño and add to a bowl. Mix in a little white vinegar and Worcester sauce, and let sit for about 30 minutes (or longer).
Open the beer, take a few sips (or pour some into a separate cup and set aside).
Add a teaspoon of salt to the beer. The beer might foam a bit, so slowly add the salt over the sink. Sprinkle a little salt on top of the can too.
Cut the lime in half and juice into the beer.
Add a few drops of the Worcester sauce.
Add a few spoonfuls of the onion/jalapeño mixture to the beer.
That's it for this week. What do you think? Would you try a picocita? What's your hangover cure of choice?