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"If this dog do you bite, soon as out of your bed, take a hair of the tail the next day.'"
~ Scottish proverb
If celebrating the trifecta of India Pale Ale Day (Aug 3), Beer Day (Aug 4), and Mead Day (Aug 5) this month has resulted in a bit too much of a muchness, you may be tempted to try the age-old remedy of the "hair of the dog", easing the pain of a hangover with a little chaser of the same. Interestingly, the expression "hair of the dog that bit you" derives originally from a treatment for a rabid dog bite, and not for overconsumption! As late as the19th century, it was a popular belief in Scotland that by placing hair from the dog in the bite wound would "prevent evil consequences". The phrase may even date back to the ancient Greeks from the time of Hippocrates, the "Father of Medicine"!By the 16th century, many cultures were employing the "like cures like" remedy to lessen the after-effects of alcohol, variously referring to the practice as "the dog's bite with its cure (Hungarian)", "a counter-beer (German)", or "the hair of the pig (Costa Rica)". 🐕 🥃
The idea of using an alcoholic chaser to lessen the effects of overindulgence does have some scientific support as a short term cure.
There are at least two hypotheses as to how "hair of the dog" works. In the first, hangovers are described as the first stage of alcohol withdrawal, which is then alleviated by further alcohol intake, though signs and symptoms of hangover and alcohol withdrawal are very different.
In the second, hangovers are partly attributed to methanol metabolism. Levels of methanol, have been correlated with severity of hangoverand methanol metabolism to the rate of appearance of hangover symptoms. As both ethanol and methanol are metabolized by alcohol dehydrogenase – and ethanol has a greater binding affinity for this enzyme than methanol – drinking more of the former effectively prevents (or delays) the metabolism of the latter.
Aside fromt he ubiquitous Bloody Mary, there are even specialty cocktails created with this in mind:
Sweet, soothing restoratives such as Morning Glory, Milk of Human Kindness, and Mother’s Little Helper or no-nonsense cocktails named Khan’s Curse, Suffering Bastard, or Guy Fawkes’ Explosion.
This tartan was inspired by the Scottish craft beer community, the beer and all of those in the community who share the same passion.
For more on the phrase's origins, click the dog-shaped whisky decanter!