Worst hangover ever? The series finale of Dawson’s Creek induced it. The excitement in the air that night was palpable: me, my friend K, and four 40 oz. bottles of Steel Reserve (for those not in the know, shit malt liquor at 8% ABV). We laughed when Pacey triumphed over that simpering nancyboy Dawson; we cried, and laughed again, when Jen died of cancer, and we got fairly drunk. Being that I had to work the next day, we called it an early night after two bottles apiece, and I went to bed with a moderate buzz. At that point in my life, this was considered taking it easy, so I had a glass of water and went to bed without a second thought. Oops.
About 5 hours later, I woke up because it felt like someone was grudge-fucking my skull with a nailgun, and my stomach was boiling. My mouth tasted like I had been gargling dirty pennies and I had barely opened my eyes when I vomited: hard. So hard, in fact, that over the course of the next three hours, I threw out my back. And it wasn’t over—without going into any more unnecessarily graphic detail, the next 36 hours was an orgy of screaming, thrashing about, and recycling fluids so forcefully that I burst a blood vessel in my eye. Needless to say, I never drank Steel Reserve again.
I suspect that, to varying degrees, everyone has experienced The Worst Hangover Ever, but thankfully, most garden-variety hangovers aren’t crippling Lovecraftian encounters with a cosmically unknowable pain—they’re just really, really uncomfortable, and where there are hangovers, there are supposed remedies. They range from the illusory (more alcohol), to the somewhat effective (black coffee and aspirin) to the asinine (burying a person in wet sand up to their neck—that’s an Irish favorite). Seeing the obvious demand in the market, several ‘all-in-one’ solutions have come and gone in recent years, and most were designed to relieve symptoms after the fact (in my experience, the only commercially available product that ever really worked was Alka-Seltzer Morning Relief, a potent combination of aspirin and caffeine that I haven’t seen anywhere in about 5 years). Taking a different tack, the good folks at Herbasway have designed a product called Last Round, a liquid elixir made from herbal extracts like kudzu root and licorice and roughly the volume of a shot, that you’re supposed to ingest before you go to sleep. Thinking that an effective hangover panacea would be too good to be true, we decided to put it to the test.
First, we thought of the worst possible combination of alcoholic beverages that would be sure to give us a legendary hangover, or at least induce hours of painful headaches: we consumed a bottle of wine, several beers (both craft and shitty adjunct lager), three cocktails, and because I’m a perfectionist, one shot of grain alcohol to top it off. We drank no water at all, had a very light dinner beforehand, and took no pain relievers or aspirin at any time. Then, after we were good and sauced, we each took a bottle of Last Round before bed. At that point, I was a little scared: from my experience, these circumstances never lead to anything good, but being a man of science, I forged ahead bravely…and then promptly passed out.
Not only did we not have a hangover, or any discernible physical discomfort at all really, we actually felt better than we did before we went to bed. Further, we both felt rested and alert, almost like we had nothing to drink the night before at all. Alarmed, I decided to test it again the next night, and repeated the same experience—only this time, it was cheap wine, cheap beer, and vodka. The next day? The same result. No headache, no fatigue, no nausea. Pretty amazing.
It appears that Last Round is the real deal—an affordable product with a minimal amount of artificial ingredients that helps your body process the alcohol, rather than just treating the symptoms of overindulgence. Of course, it must be said that nothing beats the best hangover cure ever, which is moderation; however, for those special nights where only malt liquor will do, Last Round is a great bet.