Full disclosure: I have a pretty darn sensitive stomach, and am usually good at living the ‘everything in moderation’ motto. But during the holidays, you’ll find me reaching for second (and third, and fourth) helpings of everything. The next day, my body tends to go straight into WHAT-HAVE-I-DONE mode. So I, Colleen, have been experimenting with different restorative recipes and hangover cures for years. Homemade honey-ginger syrup has long been the heavy hitter in my stomach-soothing lineup, and you’ll find some in this recipe. But recently I’ve found relief in another (admittedly trendier) ingredient: activated charcoal. Friends, meet the Black Friday Detox Cocktail!
Before we get to the recipe, let’s do a little myth busting here. Activated charcoal is typically made from coconut, peat, or wood that’s been exposed to certain gases at very high temperatures, creating microscopic pores. These pores then work like tiny traps — compounds and particles are bound to the surface of the charcoal and then safely carried out of your body (it’s traditionally used in emergency rooms to treat poisoning or drug overdoses)…
Activated charcoal isn’t a cure-all by any stretch, and there are some seriously shady claims floating around out there about its endless benefits. When it comes to over-imbibing, research shows that it doesn’t have an effect on the alcohol itself, but it may have an effect on the additives and chemicals that we ingest as byproducts of the alcohol. Worse-than-usual hangovers and really bad headaches likely come from our intolerance to some of these byproducts, so getting rid of them might take the edge off (but not completely cure — it isn’t magic) your worst hangover symptoms.
You’re still gonna need extra hydration and some caffeine. But since activated charcoal is completely tasteless and gives your drink a super cool jet black hue, why not give it a shot, right?
Remedial powers aside, this drink just tastes so-darn-good: a bright, refreshing answer to heavy holiday fare. Beet juice (another stomach settler), ginger and lime are exactly what I want to be sipping on after a long night of sweet, rich eggnog. In fact, the charcoal works best when taken in tandem with the bad stuff, so I’ll often make this my last drink of the night instead of my first drink of the morning. Make it with our without alcohol — Black Friday IS a Friday, after all!
Kind-of-funny tip: activated charcoal can also be used as a gas reliever. If you can’t find bags of activated charcoal powder near the vitamins and supplements in your food store, you can usually find capsules in the pharmacy over with the Beano! Just cut them open to get at the powder.
I love a monochromatic look once in a while, so I made activated charcoal ice cubes for these (the powder from one 260 mg capsule colored a 4 cube tray). Don’t they look a bit like pretty, squared-off coals?