The ingredient that takes the 'ouch' out of hangovers

Before we start this article, let’s state the obvious: The best way to avoid a hangover is to drink less.

That rider should appear in every article written about hangover cures, which this is.

Most drinkers resort to some sort of morning after (or afternoon after) hangover cure ploy, even if they know it is but a pathetic placebo.

We all know that for every up there is a down, and in the case of excessive consumption of alcohol that might include depression, dehydration, nausea and a compete vacuuming of motivation. But, perhaps like booze itself, hangover cures are often irresistible and never in short supply. 

Here’s the latest. OPPIL bar in Sydney is boasting that its wines and spirits can reduce hangover symptoms by more than 300 per cent.

Yes, 300 per cent!

And this info is not sourced from a QAnon post on dark web social media, or a site for Al-Anon members who’ve fallen off the wagon. This breakthrough is being reported by the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food site.

“Colin Dahl is the founder and chief product scientist behind OPPIL, a drinks brand formed in 2019 with the goal of reinventing alcoholic beverages by infusing them with grapes high in antioxidants,” says the article.

Mr Dahl noted a French study that found a correlation between drinking red wine with high levels of natural antioxidants and better heart health and life expectancy. And he acted on it.

“I started looking at the chemical make-up of Australian red wines compared to French and found many of our domestic wines were not as high in antioxidants, perhaps due to fining and filtering processes. 

“This led my team and I to start looking at ways we could infuse Australian wine with more of the natural antioxidants found in red grapes.”

The result was last year’s first vintage of Hunter Shiraz boosted with extra grape antioxidants.

Good Food’s Callan Boys rated it “spicy, bright and grippy”. And, most importantly for those of us sucked in yet again by the term “hangover cure”, Mr Boys confirmed “hangover symptoms were minimal after consuming most of a bottle”.

America’s site recently surveyed more than 3000 drinkers and found that, on average, they would pay $78 for a hangover cure. (Columnist Mark Hoffman, reporting on this, says his cure is to drink a glass of water after every alcoholic drink. (The side-effect, of course, is too-frequent journeys to the loo.)

Mr Dahl claims he didn’t intend to bring hope of hangover relief to Australian drinkers.

“The team was tasting the wine during production, and we noticed our hangover symptoms were minimal or non-existent,” he says. 

“So, we did a blind study and found that people reported hangover symptoms three times less intense when drinking our shiraz compared to standard red wine with the same amount of alcohol.”

Hangovers are surmised to occur because, as the ethanol in alcohol breaks down in the body after too many drinks, toxic by-products form.

“Colin believes the high amount of antioxidants in his wine helps to balance these undesirable by-products, thus reducing the presentation of hangover symptoms,” reports the SMH.

If you love a drink but can’t handle the consequences, there are various approaches. You can deep dive into the effect of fermented sea tangle; try beers with added electrolytes and cannabinoid-infused spirits; go retro by embracing ye olde favourites such as South Korean sprout soup and the soft drink Sprite, or shell out for a dissolvable pill that mixes high-dose aspirin and caffeine.

Intrepid hangover investigator and Nine journalist David Allegretti tried Korean pear juice (before drinking), a hangover cocktail recommended by a Michelin-starred chef, hangover prevention pills and a $249 IV drip recovery treatment.

He found all but the drip useless.

So, can OPPIL help?

Not surprisingly, Mr Dahl is concealing the secret method involved in his antioxidant infusions. He’s extending the range of drinks to spirits and cocktails infused with red grapes, has his eye on beers and might collaborate with bigger liquor industry players.

But you can’t buy any of his ‘300-below’ miracle juice from anywhere but his bar.

And, good for him, he’s not over-hyping his potentially lucrative products.

“We’re not saying grape-infused alcohol is healthy for you, because it can still cause acute ethanol toxicity,” says Mr Dahl. “We only want to provide people with an alcoholic drink choice that’s potentially better for them.”

What do you do after over-imbibing? Or have you learnt your lesson and always drink in moderation?

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Written by Will Brodie


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