It is late December and we drinkers are tired of being drunk.
Even for those who excel at moderation (I… don’t get you), the weight of holiday parties and work events and the extra glass of wine needed to endure the stress of “looking back” and trying to make emotional sense of the past year takes its toll. It turns us into weary, hungover little holiday soldiers looking at the next two weeks of social events and large-scale family meals with trepidation: How will we do it? How will our haggard bodies, our poor livers, make it through to next year?
The answer is bitters. Bitters and soda.
Barely an alcoholic drink, bitters and soda is the support you need for the weeks ahead. When you have already downed three glasses of wine and fear a fourth but don’t want to slum it with tap water, bitters and soda is there for you, making both abstinence and hydration look a lot sexier.
Call it a cocktail if you like, as bitters themselves lie somewhere around 50% alcohol. But you’re only using a few dashes, sprinkled over a glass of plain seltzer and ice. The effects are negligible; as far as drinking marathons go, it feels much like a walking break.
This charming drink will also come to your rescue when a hangover hits. Bitters are known to ease upset stomachs, relieve heartburn, and support liver function, so you can basically call them medicine, washed down with the extra-large bottle of Pellegrino you’d be buying at the store after a big night anyways. Bubbles contain some sort of hangover-soothing magic. Don’t ask me why because I don’t know.
So if you’re hosting a party, or attending a party, or going to be drinking heavily at any point in the next few weeks, stock up on a few tiny bottles of bitters and a few large bottles of soda. Don’t be afraid to bring this duo in lieu of—or in addition to—the requisite bottle of wine for your hostess. Maybe bring some bendy straws too, because it’s the holidays, and straws feel classy, especially when they bend.
And remember to keep a few bottles of seltzer in your own fridge, both for teetotaling friends and your own dumb hungover self.
This article originally appeared in December of last year—we're running it again because, well, we're feeling it.