Bathtub Gin and My First Hangover


Despite the impression given by running a website about booze, I’m not the hard-drinking type.  I drank little before I came of age, although I did celebrate my 21st birthday week with 3 trips to Oktoberfest in Munich.  However, I recall (or don’t) having a number of indulgent nights in the decade since, and I’ve never had a hangover… until today.

I think it’s genetic.  My maternal grandfather, Bill Ledoux, claimed to have never had a hangover a single day in his life and attributed this blessing to the purity of single malt scotch. He was known as a drinker and master storyteller, so nobody believed his claim.

Last night I went to an event sponsored by a local distillery. The gin was flowing free and freely, so I ordered drinks by the pair and mingled with a glass in each hand. Here’s the problem: despite the pretty label, it drank like the batch was bottled in someone’s back yard. I knew right away that it wasn’t a quality libation, but it was gratis so I kept consuming. I’m a connoisseur, but not a snob.

The stuff was surely wicked beyond just flavor and bite, but I just couldn’t place the cause of my concern, so I kept drinking. It wasn’t the clean drunkenness I appreciate from a gin binge, and I felt less clear-headed than I would expect from comparable consumption, but it wasn’t until 6:30 this morning that I knew for sure that something wasn’t right.

I woke up with a headache, upset stomach and a sensitivity to light that I’ve never experienced after drinking.  Sometimes I wake up with a dry mouth and strong thirst and I call that ‘my hangover’ because that is as bad as it gets. So I got up well before my alarm went off, took a leak and drank two glasses of water before I went back to bed for another half hour. I woke up again at 7:30 feeling altogether better, but those thirty minutes of conscious hangover were not pleasant.

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