A wicked hangover is a classic storytelling device, the dry-mouthed, dry-heaving sign of a hero gone to seed (or a compromised character at the ass end of another bad decision). But just as literature, film, and television have given us some monumental mornings after—at least enough to stretch a mildly amusing Todd Phillips romp into a full-blown franchise—they have proposed a number of remedies to those head-splitting wake-up calls as well. The ingredients may vary, but one universal truth emerges: No one would pursue these methods if they couldn’t still taste last night’s eighth cocktail.

1. Boiled possum meat (2 cups), ragweed (1 mess load). Stir in alcohol—30 Rock, “Generalissimo”

In the middle of 30 Rock’s third season, TGS With Tracy Jordan is besieged by an influx of fratty interns, all former investment bankers slumming it at NBC in the wake of the global financial crisis. (“That Nancy Pelosi caused,” adds über-conservative Peacock boss Jack Donaghy.) The unqualified, unskilled dude-bros are a nuisance to everyone at the show—but as fans of Honky Grandma Be Trippin’ with an exceedingly high tolerance for alcohol, they pose a genuine threat to Tracy Jordan’s well-being. Fearing maturity and the serious movie roles that come with it (“Do you really want to see me play Arthur Ashe?”), the aging comic parties hearty with the interns, but the consequences are dire, dehydrating, and debilitating. The only person who can help him is also only person at TGS with less responsibility than the interns: Kenneth Ellen Parcell. One phone call to his Uncle Harlan later, Kenneth returns with the ingredients for a Stone Mountain cure-all that’s less “hair of the dog” and more “flesh of the small, nocturnal marsupial.” Ultimately, the task of remedying this days-long hangover falls to Tracy, who can’t reverse the aging process, but can pump some young blood back to where it belongs: Wall Street. Dipping into his own personal fortune, he re-opens Lehman Brothers Holdings, one of the actual causes of the global financial crisis. (Not that Donaghy would acknowledge that.) [Erik Adams]

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2. Green-olive juice, Tabasco sauce, cayenne pepper, chili peppers, onion, mustard seed—Back To The Future Part III

Heavy drinking is a relative term. When Dr. Emmett Brown is laid low by whiskey in Back To The Future Part III, all it takes is a single sip to knock him out cold. Trouble is, there’s a bad man with a gun coming to town to lay Doc and Marty McFly low, and timing is an issue; Marty needs his friend on his feet in a hurry. To sober Doc up, the bartender offers his special take on “wake-up juice,” a noxious and fiery combination of foodstuffs designed to grab anyone’s attention—or make their head explode, whichever comes first. The concoction does the trick, but it takes its sweet time in doing so. Before regaining consciousness, Doc first jumps to his feet, shrieking, and dives into a nearby water trough. It’s a reflex response to the “juice,” so if you’re planning on using this particular cure, you should maybe have the tub full, just in case. [Zack Handlen]

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3. Unstrained tomato juice (1 glass, nearly frozen), oysters (2), with sweetbreads (1 mound), Canadian bacon, and chestnuts, plus biscuits, gravy (1 bucket), and anchovies—Twin Peaks, “On The Wings Of Love”

The advice of Dale Cooper should always be heeded when it comes to food, be it his appreciation for a piece of cherry pie, bacon cooked to near-cremation status, or a cup of coffee “black as midnight on a moonless night.” However, that expertise goes toward drinking as well, as demonstrated in Twin Peaks’ second season. Sheriff Harry S. Truman, grieving the loss of his lover Josie Packard, has wrapped up an epic bender that saw him trash the Bookhouse and nearly wind up dead at the hands of the vengeful Mrs. Jones, and is feeling the aftereffects. Cooper, sensitive to his friend’s plight, offers him a surefire cure of the richest, saltiest breakfast known to man, beginning with a tomato juice and oyster cocktail and ending with biscuits topped with gravy and anchovies. This is apparently where it gets tricky, although exactly how tricky remains a mystery, as the description turns Harry the color of said anchovies and he sprints for the men’s room. “That should do it,” Cooper says with a wide grin, meeting Harry afterward with bicarbonate of soda. Apparently, Cooper’s intuition extends to the truth of the worst hangovers: Sometimes, getting something into your body isn’t nearly as important as getting something out of it. [Les Chappell]

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4. Hot steam (1 part), cold ale (1 part). Chase with plunge in icy water—David Eddings, Castle Of Wizardry

David Eddings’ characters like to drink. And they drink a lot—many of them as often as possible. So it’s not surprising that most of the fictional denizens who populate his five-volume Belgariad series (and its successor, The Mallorean, set in the same universe with many of the same characters) found inventive ways to deal with the aftereffects. While Polgara, the resident sorceress, famously had a hangover remedy that worked like gangbusters (but was so foul tasting that most people chose to suffer in silence), she kept it under tight wraps. Thus it was left to Silk, a.k.a. Prince Kheldar of Drasnia, to appear in chapter 12 and offer readers the more upfront and honest solution. After a night of intense debauchery, spend the morning in the steam baths, soaking up an equal amount of hot steam and cold ale. Once you feel you’ve achieved equilibrium between those two ingredients, the next part is simple: Dive straight into a pool of icy water. When you come out, you’ll be blue and shaking, but the worst of it will be over. Plus, you’ll be more awake than when you started—perhaps even awake enough to begin the next round of debauchery. (And definitely alert enough to realize the otherwise-talented Eddings should’ve chosen a less generic title for his book.) [Alex McCown]

5. Worcestershire sauce, raw egg, and red pepper—P.G. Wodehouse, “Jeeves Takes Charge”

Bertie Wooster, the protagonist of P.G. Wodehouse’s “Jeeves” stories, is a man who’s no stranger to a night on the town. With no job to demand his attention, a membership in the rowdy Drones Club, and a penchant for snatching policeman’s helmets on Boat-Race Night, it’s no wonder that when potential valet Jeeves appears at the front door one day, Bertie is suffering from an acute case of “morning head.” Jeeves, ever observant, makes his way right to the kitchen and whips up a concoction designed to put Wooster right: “It is the Worcestershire sauce that gives it its color. The raw egg makes it nutritious. The red pepper gives it its bite. Gentlemen have told me they have found it it extremely invigorating after a late evening.” The drink is so invigorating, in fact—going from the equivalent of a bomb in his head and a torch down his throat to the source of a feeling that “hope dawned once more”—that Wooster hires Jeeves on the spot. Jeeves would go on to mix many of these restorative tonics for Wooster and company over various novels and short stories, hangovers being the easiest thing to fix in a world rife with social mishaps, ruthless aunts, and unwanted engagements. [Les Chappell]

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6. Dunk in hot water (1 part), dunk in cold water (1 part)—The Princess Bride

“Fezzik nursed his friend back to health,” is how Peter Falk’s gentle voice-over describes The Princess Bride’s hangover cure. But there’s a terrific disconnect between those words and what we see on-screen, as Fezzik grabs the inebriated, barely conscious Inigo Montoya by the hair and dunks his head first into a bucket of scalding water, then into a bucket of freezing water, back and forth, hot and cold, until Inigo finally gasps, “No more!” Was his hangover gone? Who knows. But if there’s one thing that makes you forget a hangover, it’s something else coming along to make you feel even worse. [Mike Vago]

7. Pepsi, Folgers Instant Coffee Crystals, Alka-Seltzer, and Tylenol—Back To The Beach

In 1987, the lords of ’80s-era Hollywood decided it would be a good idea to send ’60s teen icons Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello back to the beach, which they did in a movie fittingly titled Back To The Beach. Since their days on the California shore, the duo has moved to Ohio, where Frankie lives a dull landlocked existence selling used cars to mirthless residents of the Rust Belt. On the way to Hawaii for a much-needed vacation, the family stops in California to visit their daughter, Sandi. Sandi has taken up with Michael, a good-natured surfer who nonetheless is not good enough for Frankie’s little girl, at least as far as the surf champion-turned-Dodge hawker is concerned. Overwhelmed by nostalgia, professional misery, and a beef with a local surf gang, Frankie ties one on. When he wakes up, his daughter’s boyfriend is ready with a hangover cure Keith Richards swears by—a gruesome mixture of Pepsi, Folgers Instant Coffee, Alka-Seltzer, and Tylenol. His loins girded with caffeine and low-grade painkillers, Frankie is finally ready to take on the Humunga Cowabunga From Down Unda. [Drew Toal]

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8. Raw egg (unbroken yolk), Worcestershire sauce (1 teaspoon), salt, pepper, Tabasco sauce (2 dashes)—Cabaret

If there’s one person who knows a good hangover cure, it’s ultimate Cabaret party girl Sally Bowles, who makes one for her ailing roommate Brian. The yolk of a prairie oyster—which can also include brandy if you want a little hair o’ the dog action—is meant to be kept intact so that when the drink is swallowed, it feel likes one is swallowing an oyster. Alas, it doesn’t help Brian all that much. After his gulp he asks Sally, “Peppermint prairie oysters?” Not so much. “Oh, you got the toothpaste glass!” Sally responds. [Molly Eichel]

9. A bunch of cocaine—Flight

Flight does a great job of being true to reality, allowing Denzel Washington’s protagonist Whip Whitaker to disappoint us when he’s discovered passed out in the bathroom the morning of his trial, after the minibar bender to end all minibar benders. (Sorry, Iggy and Charli.) Then a bunch of squares try to cure his hangover with a cup of coffee before shit gets real again and John Goodman shows up with the “merch, motherfucker.” That merch is some solid cocaine, because oysters and what have you are no substitute for a coke-kick. The trick is to do “two small whiffs first; one on each side,” followed by a gulp of water, and a “little cocoa puff,” which is traditionally marijuana laced with cocaine, and then one more hit of coke. Around that time, Whitaker starts feelin’ alright. (Yes, Joe Cocker plays in the background.) But Goodman is sure to leave him with one more gram for later, because apparently he’ll need it to get through the accusations that, although he was able to miraculously crash land a passenger plane and save nearly everyone on board after it suffers an in-flight mechanical failure, he’s an addict who was high on, you guessed it, cocaine (washed down with a little pre-flight screwdriver) during the flight. [Becca James]

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