The day after overdoing it alcohol-wise, a common reflex is to take aspirin and drink extra water to battle the effects of becoming dehydrated. Several hangover soups are reputed to go beyond mere rehydration and blood thinning, though. These soups resupply some of the vital nutrients and electrolytes you lost during your binge, while often delivering a distracting kick to your digestive system through the use of chiles or other heat intensifiers. Depending on where you live and which culture most influences your life, you may already have faith in a few of these hearty hangover cures. Menudo, patsa, haejangguk, and zurek are all different variations on hangover soups.
In the western hemisphere, tripe — the stomach lining of a cow — figures prominently in several countries' hangover soups. Mexico has menudo, which combines the tripe with two types of chiles, chile sauce, lemon juice, oregano and onions. In Puerto Rico, this soup is called mondongo and it frequently includes chopped vegetables with starchy qualities like potatoes, beats or carrots. These vegetables are credited with soaking up excess alcohol that still may be polluting your system. El Salvadorians called their tripe hangover soup sopa de patas, and the vegetables it uses are cabbage, plantains, squash, corn and yucca, a dense type of potato.
Cows aren't the only supplier of tripe, though. Across the Atlantic Ocean, sheep tripe is use in a few traditional hangover cures. Greece has patsa, that combines the lining with an acidic element from lemon juice or vinegar. Iskembe corbasi is a cream-based Turkish soup with sheep tripe that's recommended for consumption the night before a hangover even takes hold.
Spice — mild or fierce — figures prominently in many hangover soups. This provides a distraction for your system but also speeds the digestive process. Koreans slurp the fiery haejangguk, which is a stock made of cow bones and blood, cabbage and sprouts that throws black pepper, chili powder and other heat intensifiers into the mix.
Adding animal parts or excessive spice aren't the only options for hangover soups, however. A milder alternative is onion soup, sold in France. Other cooks swear by a simple mix of pumpkin and chicken or vegetable stock. Russians are familiar with zurek, a soup with a rye base that's often referred to as white borscht soup and which is customarily served to wedding guests so that fond memories won't be replaced with sour headaches the next morning. Miso soup from Japan, a simple stock with noodles and onions, also is hailed as a calming hangover soup that will gently restore some nutrients lost to battling all that alcohol.