Salvatore Calabrese in a navy suit with a pink tie, standing in front of a classy bar and presenting a cocktail in a martini glass.
Photo: Janos Grapow, courtesy of the interviewee.

Cocktails You Can Get Away with Having for Breakfast

Iconic bartender Salvatore Calabrese's boozy hangover cures include the "Suffering Bastard" and the "Corpse Reviver".
Andrea Strafile
Rome, IT

This article originally appeared on VICE Italy.

Salvatore Calabrese – one of the world’s leading bartenders, and owner of The Donovan Bar in London – is a fan of morning drinks. Also known as "The Maestro", Calabrese started making cocktails at the age of 12 on the shores of his native Amalfi Coast.

Calabrese’s signature drinks include Salvatore’s Legacy – the “oldest drink” in the world, made with rare spirits dating back to 1770 – and the Breakfast Martini, made with marmalade, gin, Cointreau and lemon. Sadly, the cocktail is not technically a substitute for a well-balanced breakfast. But in Calabrese’s manual for beating hangovers, "Hair of The Dog", he’s listed 80 recipes – with names like the Suffering Bastard and the Wake-Up Call – for drinks to accompany your porridge.


Although Calabrese swears by drinking to get through a hangover, the science behind the theory is mixed. Since hangovers are basically mini alcohol-withdrawals, drinking more will temporarily alleviate some symptoms, but they’ll eventually catch up with you.

But enough of the responsible stuff.

"The first recipe in the book is dedicated to my mother,” Calabrese said. “I call it Rosa's Magic Cure." One day, his mum couldn’t get him out of bed, after he’d “discovered the Brandy Alexander” (a creamy, cognac-based cocktail) the night before. "She said nothing and gave me a drink with lemon, egg whites, chilli peppers and a shot of Marsala [an Italian sweet fortified wine]," said Calabrese, who believes it was the acidity of the lemon and the spicy kick from the chilli that woke him up.

Many of the hangover cures included in the book are recipes gleaned from clients. After all, "Every serious drinker has their own cure.” Calabrese recalled a world-famous surgeon and longtime customer asking him to mix up a tonic of garlic, onion, orange, honey and tequila – shaken. Calabrese said his friend "came back to life" after drinking it, thanks apparently to the healing properties of onion and garlic (the tequila may also have helped).

If you’re more tempted by the classics, the Maestro is a big fan of the Bloody Mary. Again, it’s apparently the lemon and chilli that make the drink great for mornings. And if you pretend the vodka isn’t there, “It's also rich in vitamins and minerals”.


Calabrese’s recipe is straightforward: Mix 50ml vodka (or gin), 20ml lemon juice, 125ml of quality tomato juice, season with Worcestershire sauce, tabasco, salt and pepper, and serve in a tall glass. If this is too basic for your refined tastes, you can also try the Bull Shot, a much rarer mix that replaces the tomato juice with… cold beef broth.

Another breakfast classic – and also much easier to find on a menu – is the Mimosa. If you’re hungover from champagne or champagne-based cocktails, Calabrese thinks this will fix it. Mimosas are made with equal parts champagne and orange juice. You can also try a Buck's Fizz, which is two parts champagne and one part juice.

The Bellini is another morning favourite. Invented by Giuseppe Cipriani, founder of the legendary Harry's Bar in Venice, the drink combines prosecco with pureed white peaches.

There are plenty of alternatives made with sparkling wine and juice that are perfect for the AM, like the Puccini with mandarin juice, the Rossini with strawberry pulp and the Tintoretto with pomegranate juice. If you’re a fan of zingy citrus flavours, have a go at the Garibaldi, made with orange juice and bitters like Aperol or Campari. And if you think caffeine will help, Calabrese recommends the caffè corretto, an espresso shot with no more than 5ml of your favourite aromatic liqueur.

Of course, nobody’s going to stop you from having a mojito at 10AM, but Calabrese believes there’s a perfect cocktail for every hour of the day – so next time you’re looking for liquid salvation, maybe give something else a go.