Wedge of Lemon

I am about to veer radically back into the theme that this blog is supposed to adhere to, as opposed to pontificating about society’s ills as I have been lately.  Today’s post will reveal a secret that has been held by bartenders (and perhaps the Knights Templar) since the dark ages: the cure for hiccups.

The fact that people tend to drink in bars, and the fact that over-consumption of alcohol often causes people to hiccup, means that the ability to cure the hiccups is a valuable skill for a bartender.  Here is the cure that NEVER failed in my 5 years of bartending in Montréal:

Take a wedge of lemon, pile as much white sugar as you can onto it, and splash some Angostura bitters on top.  Then tell the patient to place the entire wedge in their mouth, bite off all the flesh of the lemon (and the sugar and bitters) and swallow it at once.

Let me repeat: in perhaps 2 or 3 hundred instances of administering this treatment, it NEVER failed for me.  If someone asks you why it works, tell them that the sugar rush is “shocking” their diaphram back into normal rhythm.  This may well be true, but I have never seen any reliable source confirm this explanation.  I believe it works because all the hocus pocus and strange tastes simply takes the person’s mind off  their hiccups.  Unfortunately, now that I’ve told you this, the “cure” probably won’t work for you.  (It doesn’t work for me, now that I know the “secret.”)

So to make up for that, let me tell you my 100% effective cure for hiccups that works for the same reason (it takes your mind off them), but that requires no theatricals.  Hold your breath.  Really.  Hold it (with your hand over your mouth and nose so you won’t cheat) until your face is turning blue and you are slapping your thigh.  When your mind and body start worrying more about their next fix of oxygen, hiccups will drop off their agenda.