1. Eat fatty foods before boozing. Your liver can only process roughly one drink per hour. More than that, and the alcohol ends up in your bloodstream and brain, making you dance like
an idiot and causing all the other effects, pleasant and un-, of heavy drinking. With food in your stomach, the alcohol gets sent to your intestines and liver over a longer period of time, giving them a better chance of processing it. Fatty foods stay in the stomach longer than those high in carbohydrates, so the effect will last well into the night.
2. Order a glass of water with each drink (and drink it!). Alcohol has a diuretic effect on the body—that’s why you have to pee so much when you’re drinking, losing about twice as much liquid as you’re actually consuming. In fact, one of the chief causes of hangovers is dehydration. Drinking water not only keeps you hydrated, but it also makes you feel full, forcing you to drink more slowly and giving your liver more time to process the alcohol.
3. Drink a Negroni. Bitter drinks (like a Negroni, which contains Campari; a Manhattan, with vermouth and bitters; or an IPA beer) aren’t as chuggable as sweet ones. The more time you spend sipping, the more chance your liver has to combat the alcohol you’re flooding it with.
4. Stick to drinks you can see through. Red wine and brown spirits (tequila, whiskey, dark rum) have higher levels of congeners—chemical compounds that worsen hangovers—than lighter-colored tipples like white wine, vodka, and gin. Try not to mix too many different kinds of alcohol, either. That will increase the likelihood of coming into contact with more congeners. But that old saying “Beer before liquor, never been sicker; liquor before beer, you’re in the clear”? There’s no science at all behind it. The only thing that matters is how much and how long you drink, not the order you drink it in.
5. Take vitamin B6 and avoid aspirin. B6 lessens hangover symptoms, while aspirin taken before drinking actually puts more alcohol into the bloodstream. Take aspirin the next morning, but not while you’re out.
6. Know thyself. Pay attention to how much you’ve drunk, and when you get close to your limit, switch to water or soda and stay there. Whatever you do, don’t drink more after throwing up. That’s how people get alcohol poisoning.