If taking care of hangovers were an Olympic event, Mexico would certainly be a world champion. Disposing of the nasty effects after a wild night is a culinary ritual that is both celebrated and enjoyed — thanks to a handful of recipes that are not only varied and memorable but also miraculous.
The feeling of getting rid of a hangover through sips and bites of deliciousness is unique. These are some of the most effective remedies for a hangover known to man. I have included some of my personal recipes and tips about the best places to try these dishes all around Mexico. Remember that we Mexicans don’t suffer from hangovers, we cure them!
First a couple drinks
Praised be the day when beer and Clamato met each other. This drink comes from the usual chelada (beer, lime, and salt), that evolved into the michelada (chelada and a mix of salsas), and finally into the all-powerful beermato (michelada and Clamato). The name is common in the northeast of Mexico but can be found with other names elsewhere.
Tomato juice plays a crucial role in your re- hydration. But the key is mixing it with the same poison inside you (beer in this case), and adding a little spice with Valentina, Worcestershire, Maggi, a pinch of pepper, celery salt, and lime juice.
I don’t have the least idea of the origin of this elixir, but it’s praised by all Mexicans. The cool thing about the beermato is that you can make a whole meal out of it. There are certain things that complement this mix with flying colors: shrimps, oysters, celery, cucumber, and also jicama with Tajín chili. Some of us even add vodka to the cocktail, but this is a matter of personal taste and of the intensity of your hangover.
The display is also important. It’s better served in a big round heavy glass cup (the famous copa chabela), properly frosted with salt or ground dried chili, and a lot of ice. Don’t settle for less. Two servings of the mix should be enough to bring you back to the land of the living.
I prepared myself the beermato in the pic. It’s 100% home-made and it was glorious.
All the same as the beerato, just exchange beer with vodka.
And let’s dive into the food!
Vuelve a la vida (back to life)
A true classic you can always trust. Everything you can say about the healing powers of the vuelve a la vida falls short. Shrimp, oysters, octopus, squid, and even crayfish come together in this fantastic and enjoyable seafood cocktail. It’s served with chopped onion, coriander, avocado, and comes in a special tomato or Clamato salsa —depending on the region. I add some habanero salsa and olive oil as a personal touch.
Serve it in a big copa chabela…
…or in a good old molcajete. If you’re around Monterrey, head immediately to the Main Entrance in San Agustin and look for a free table in Los Arbolitos de Cajeme. This is where I revived thanks to the winning combo in this picture.
An essential part of this list, I love ceviche so much that I have perfected a recipe I’m willing to share with all of you.
You have to get some open sea bass, the king of the Mexican Gulf, a perfect choice due to its quality, texture, and flavor. You must chop it into medium sized cubes, don’t mince it or grind it. A good size is mandatory to enjoy it fully, otherwise, it just won’t work. Besides the fish, you must add tomato, onion, coriander, serrano chile, cucumber (totally optional, this completely changes the dish), lime juice, olive oil, a touch of white vinegar, salt, and pepper. You can also add red onion, previously dressed in water and vinegar.
Mix all the ingredients in a big bowl, put it in the fridge for at least two hours. Serve it with tostadas and top it with avocado slices. The whole thing must look like the following photo.
This is my personal take on ceviche. Same recipe as before, but with a special ingredient: California butter clam. This type of clam is delicious and endemic of North America’s West Coast. In Mexico, it’s commonly found in the coasts of Baja.
Mahi Mahi ceviche
Whenever you visit Oaxaca, head to Casa Oaxaca and try this beautiful dish perfected by chef Alejandro Ruiz. It’s specially designed to wrap up a crazy night. This is prepared with chile de agua (water chile) stuffed with Mahi Mahi (Dorado is the common name around Mexico) ceviche and mango. It’s served with a bittersweet passion fruit salsa with a hint of cinnamon and sweet potato chips. An experience you’ll never forget.
Sea snail ceviche
If you’re hungover near Mexico City, you must immediately head towards la Roma Sur and grab a sit in Los Sinaloenses. It’s simply amazing!
If tuna is your thing, your best option is La Nacional in Monterrey. They prepare this ceviche with mango, avocado, and habanero chile.
In Tamaulipas, crab is a culinary icon. If you’re near Ciudad Victoria, you’ll find a tostada like the one in the pic in La Playa.
Let’s finish on a high note with the ceviche. This refreshing, classy, and simple ceviche is served with squid ink, apple slush, cucumber slices, avocado, and a little chili. You can find this dish by chef Guillermo González Beristain in Pangea, located in San Pedro Garza García, Nuevo León.
This recipe comes from the coasts of Sinaloa. Aguachile is basically shrimp in a serrano chile salsa, with lime and coriander, cucumber slices, and red onion. You can spread some dry chili flakes for some extra power. Eat this by itself or serve it with tostadas.
The pinnacle of Mexican comfort foods. Every Mexican with a good hangover experience can tell you about their prowess.
This is one of the most effective broths around. Birria is prepared with tender veal meat, normally including ribs, calves, and fried offal. The best birria I’ve ever had is the one in the picture. I found this at the Alcalde Market in Guadalajara, Jalisco. Get to the market, go to the second floor, and look for Birrieria David. You’ll be personally served by Don David, who has been preparing birria for 58 years.
Menudo, mondongo, or pancita (belly), these are all used to name this magnificent broth. If you want to go for the full experience, ask for extra pata (beef paw). The one you see in the pic is from Real de Catorce, San Luis Potosí. You can find it with Doña Teresita, just in front of the plaza. It resulted as magical as the town itself.
You don’t want to miss this one. It’s a super nutritious dish that’s also festive and delicious. It has a pre-Hispanic origin and it’s a real icon of Mexican cultural identity. I strongly recommend the pozole from Platos de Cuchara, located in Mercado Roma in Mexico City.
The same place offers seafood pozole. A completely different, but mandatory, delicacy.
This is a typical dish from northeast Mexico. The cabrito (kid) is completely fried in lard —including both viscera and blood. It’s dressed in a special salsa made from roasted tomatoes, garlic, onion, ancho chiles, bay leaves, marjoram, oregano, and cumin. This incredible dish asks for freshly made tortillas and a good spicy salsa made of piquin chiles. A pleasure for both body and soul. The one in the pic is from El Gran Pastor in Monterrey.
My friends from Tehuantepec told me there’s nothing better for a hangover than this exotic dish. I verified it. You can find this on the Juchitán market in Oaxaca.
These broths go hand in hand with hangovers, as simple as that. You can make your own custom broth with the things you like the most. These are the ones I prefer.
The one in the pic is completely home-made. I added some chipotle and —being proudly norteño— a little bit of shredded beef. It was really good, and a very good remedy too.
I found this formidable dish in La Bocatoma, a traditional seafood restaurant in El Cielo Biosphere Reserve in Tamaulipas. The prawns are as fresh as they come. They’re caught in a nearby river and brought directly to your table.
This is a dish from the state of Veracruz. The crab meat is cooked in a salsa with tomatoes and ancho chiles, and it can be as brothy as your heart desires. A specialty meant to fight the effects of a night of sleeplessness. Try it in Los Curricanes, in Tampico, Tamaulipas.
If this soup doesn’t bring you back to life, nothing will. It’s a mix of seafood and fish served in a hot clay pot. The broth is prepared with tomatoes, various types of chiles, and Chihuahua cheese (a mild, semi-soft cheese, perfect for melting). You can find it in La Playa, in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas.
This is the best and most famous dish for hangover extermination.
The best chilaquiles I’ve tried are these from Chef Gerardo Vázquez Lugo. The salsa is made with pasilla chiles and green tomatoes. You can add chicken or salted beef at your pleasure. Find them in Fonda Mayora in la Condesa, Mexico City.
If you’re the adventurous type and a chilaquiles lover, you must try the famous chilaquiles tortas. Green or red, with a spread of refried beans, sour cream, and avocado, all in the middle of a soft piece of bread. If you’re risking it all to cure that hangover, ask for a generous spoonful of cochinita pibil (a pulled pork recipe from southeast Mexico). You can find this in La Esquina del Chilaquil, a street stand in la Condesa, Mexico City. The flavor and the level of spiciness are unmatchable.
Mixed chilaquiles (red and green)
The second best of my life. Green and red chilaquiles with chicharron (pork rind). The image says it all. You can find these in Palreal, in Guadalajara, Jalisco.
Huevo Verde (green egg)
Few things are as effective for a hangover as a gordita or taco with huevo verde. A typical dish from Tamaulipas, these eggs are scrambled and mixed with ground serrano chiles or green piquin chiles. This is a breakfast for the hungover champion inside you.
But if you’re looking for something on the gourmet side, this is my personal recipe. Mix some eggs, milk, and salt and let it rest in a bowl. Put some onion and your favorite green chiles in a pan, and sauté; take out of the fire, add some water, and blend it until you have small chunks. Put some butter in a pan, add the salsa and the eggs. Mix everything slowly without steering it too much. Serve it accompanied by a brioche.
This image speaks for itself.
Eggs in chorizo salsa
This one’s prepared with a piece of chorizo with good flavor and spiciness. I like to cook it with tomato salsa, with onion rings and piquin chiles. Cover a couple fried eggs with this salsa and you’re ready to go.
The best morning tacos in Mexico are definitely barbacoa tacos. Barbacoa refers more to the cooking process rather than the kind of meat used. It’s traditionally prepared in a hole in the ground, where firewood slowly cooks the meat, which is wrapped in maguey leaves. The result is a tender meat that practically melts in your mouth. Green salsa with onion, coriander, and chopped radish normally accompanies this delicacy. For the best barbacoa in Mexico City try El Hidalguense in la Roma Sur.
If you’re having one of those Sunday hangovers that don’t let you leave your house, you can prepare some barbacoa by yourself. In this case, I cook the meat with tomatoes, onions, freshly ground piquin chiles and some coriander. That’s all you need.
Octopus and marrow tacos
This incredible and surprising combo is enough to disarm any sickness, especially due to the habanero and lime. This taco is a creation of chef Antonio De Livier, and you can try it in La Panga del Impostor, in Guadalajara. If you decide to give it a go, here’s my second recommendation from that same place: clam birria. You’ll remember me when you try it.
This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the succulent chamorro (pork leg). The best option to try this is in the traditional cantina El Sella, in la Doctores in Mexico City. This is happiness on a plate.
Take it easy and be sure to always enjoy your hangovers. ¡Salud!