How to Tell You’ve Had Enough
1. Basics. If you find yourself slurring your words, getting clumsy or talking really loud.
2. Follow the Wisdom of the East. A Zen teacher used to fly down from Minneapolis to visit a group here in MKE. On one trip, he had a drink on the plane and offered this observation: “On the first glass, you drink the champagne. On the second, the champagne drinks you.”
3. When the bartender cuts you off . If that happens, says Tripper Duval, the bar consultant, don’t argue. “Just take the advice and drink the water.”
4. Carrying your own personal breathalyzer takes the guesswork out of knowing when you’ve had too much. (Driving? In Wisconsin, keep your blood alcohol level under 0.08 percent.) BACtrack S80 Pro breathalyzer, $130.
5. Dysfunction. Sometimes, you have had not only too much alcohol for one night, but too much in your life. Alcoholics Anonymous offers the first of 12 steps in this case: When you admit you’re powerless over alcohol, and that your life has become unmanageable.
The best way to prevent the pounding in your head after a night of drinking? Drink less. Researchers have found those who never reach 0.10 percent blood alcohol are far less likely to get a hangover than those who get drunker than that. Tripper Duval, a mixologist who consults with bars and restaurants for Badger Liquor Co., suggests drinking water between alcoholic drinks as a way to keep the blood alcohol down.
But if you do end up hurting the morning after? Duval suggests drinks with electrolytes, such as Gatorade; he personally favors Pedialyte, an electrolyte drink meant for kids (look for it in the baby aisle at Walgreens). Duval also likes a bowl of ramen. “It’s like recovery broth,” he says. Then there’s the old standby: ibuprofin, which is better than aspirin (can upset the stomach) or acetaminophen, which goes straight to the liver.
Sleeping until you feel better may work best of all.
Tripper Duval is a consultant to bars and restaurants, and also president of the local chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild. He coaches bartenders, but here are his tips for us bar patrons.
Getting the bartender’s attention: “Waving money around and shouting doesn’t work like it used to.” Make eye contact with the tenders and then try to be patient. “Remember that you’re not the only person in the bar. Stay calm, be cool.”
Ordering your beverage: Know what you want before the barkeep gets to you. “If you want a martini, know how you like that martini.”
Don’t ask for freebies such as free drinks or more generous pours. If you’re a regular, you’ll get your share of those. “If you want to turn a bar into your neighborhood bar, be kind, be courteous, tip well and make friends.”
Tipping: As in restaurants, 20 percent is good, though with a shot or a beer, a dollar tip is acceptable.
Final advice: “If you want good service, you have to be a good patron. It works both ways.”