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I went to Coachella and tried an anti-hangover drink. Here’s what happened

April 20, 2015, 7:15 PM UTC
Resqwater at Coachella 2015
Resqwater at Coachella 2015
Courtesy: Resqwater

The premise seemed simple enough: Drink a bottle of Resqwater after every couple of cocktails and, voilà, I wouldn’t be hungover the next morning. The maker of the anti-hangover beverage even came up with a Dr. Seussian slogan that even the most drunk among us can remember: “One with every few drinks and another before bed to ease the day ahead.”

But here’s the thing: when you’re at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which is where I was last weekend, when I downed my first Resqwater in the same way that Alice popped the pill that led her to Wonderland, it’s easy to forget things like schedules and drink counts and the time. (“Where’s my watch?” I wondered Saturday morning, lifting up couch cushions and peering at their undersides with bleary eyes.)

Resqwater didn’t fail me; I had failed it. Hell, Troy Michels, the 36-year-old CEO of the company, was cruising up and down a half-pipe outside the estate that Resqwater rented out for the weekend, and he’d had seven drinks not more than 12 hours before: Two shots of Deleon Tequila, two shots of 50 Bleu Vodka, three Red Bull vodkas, and two Resqwaters.

It was kind of like the night he had four years ago, when a friend convinced him to try a concoction being made by a chemist in Arizona. “We had nine drinks,” Michels says. “I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to feel good the next day—and I had the equivalent of three of these,” he adds, tapping the slim cobalt blue bottle that is Resqwater’s proprietary packaging. (Besides setting Resqwater apart from other drinks on store shelves, it protects from UV lighting.)

“I woke up at 6:30 a.m., like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,” he says. “I felt, to be totally real, like maybe I didn’t have a healthy dinner. I did not feel hungover.”

The science behind Resqwater is relatively simple. In addition to electrolytes and B vitamins, the drink contains N-Acetyl-Cysteine, which binds to acetaldehyde, a chemical the body produces when it breaks down alcohol. Acetaldehyde causes headaches, fatigue, nausea, and in some individuals, an untenable craving for bacon egg and cheese sandwiches.

“Our ingredients are like a bouncer: They go in, grab acetaldehyde, and help you urinate it out,” Michels says. “They kick it out of the club.”

The idea of a bouncer in my liver was amusing enough to keep me coming back to Resqwater all day Saturday, and Sunday morning, despite drinking an undeterminable amount of Mexican mules (tequila subbed for vodka), I woke up feeling not unlike myself and with my watch. If the multi-billion dollar anti-hangover industry needs a lifestyle brand to lead it, Resqwater could be it.

“We’re an anti hangover drink: Resqwater, anti-hangover drink,” Michels says. “But one day we won’t need to say that because everybody will understand what it is. Just like Red Bull, you don’t need to say, ‘energy drink.’”

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