Review: Thanks to Morning Recovery, Hangover Hope Is on the Horizon

We won't be surprised if the little ginseng shot becomes a household name

A bottle of Morning Recovery from More Labs against a sunrise background. Is it a hangover cure? We tested it.
Below: our verdict on whether Morning Recovery is the hangover cure that was promised.
More Labs

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I had a little too much fun last fall at a family wedding. On the Sunday car ride home, I remember recounting the full roster of alcoholic beverages I’d imbibed the night before — champagne, vodka, tequila, red wine, white wine, a lot more vodka, Coors Lights…in that order. I went full Captain Jack Sparrow (well, minus the rum).

At some point, I realized that all that recounting — and the fact that we were hurtling down the Mass Pike — should have made me sick by now. But against all odds, I felt fine. Tired from the bad sleep and achey from the bad dancing, sure, but fine.

I owed my good health to precisely one other drink I’d thrown back the night before: Morning Recovery, from Los Angeles-based More Labs.

What Is Morning Recovery?

Morning Recovery is a shot-sized (3.4 ounce) potion meant to be slugged before you start getting after it. (Hence the tagline: The drink before you drink.) It’s the bestseller from More Labs, which specializes in a variety of performance drinks.

For instance, Morning Labs’ Liquid Focus contains “synergistic caffeine and l-theanine,” while the brand’s Dream Well contains “jujube extract and melatonin.” They’re all back-pocket-portable, one-swig drams that promise you a better workday or sleep. It’s a compelling pitch, and reminds me of the still-booming health gummies sector (it seems people would rather have an easy chew than scoop and mix messy powders into intense shaker bottles).

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Morning Recovery, meanwhile, contains a range of not-so-recognizable ingredients. (For Western consumers, at least!) Here’s the full ingredient list for the “sugar-free lemon” iteration of the product, which is the one I ordered in bulk: Prickly Pear Extract, Milk Thistle, Hovenia Dulcis Extract, Korean Pear Extract, Green Tea Extract, Red Ginseng Extract, B&C Vitamins and Electrolytes.

You’ll notice a few traditional buzzwords in there (e.g., vitamins and electrolytes). But the other stuff is a wellness romp around the globe: the milk thistle from a Mediterranean herb, the red ginseng from a Chinese root, the Hovenia dulcis extract (also known as DHM) from a Japanese raisin tree and the Korean pear extract hails from…Korean pears.

So, Is It a Hangover Cure?

That’s a lot of natural, well-sourced ingredients, and a far cry from conventional “cures” like an orange Gatorade from the bodega, or Anthony Bourdain’s infamous go-to: “Aspirin, cold Coca-Cola, joint, some spicy Szechuan food — works every time.”

If you read More Labs’ academic literature — like many wellness brands these days, they’ve commissioned clinical studies to exhibit that their products do something — Morning Recovery is touted as a bonafide cure. According to the company, it will make a huge difference for your morning after; their research exhibits that people who take it before a crazy night out feel up to 80% better about their symptoms than those who don’t.

A couple things to keep in mind, though: A) More Labs’ statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and B) hangovers have a lot of symptoms. While we tend to discuss hangovers in black and white terms (e.g., “I had a hangover this morning, and now I don’t”), the condition is really an umbrella for a laundry list of smaller maladies: stomach pain, headache, dizziness, thirst, nausea, apathy, task paralysis.

What a drink like Morning Recovery can do is eliminate some of these symptoms, and thus limit the overall severity of the hangover. These ingredients were carefully selected for their liver-supporting qualities. (That’s to say, something like Korean pear extract has been shown to help lower levels of blood alcohol content.)

The only way to know whether Morning Recovery works for you is to try it out. My anecdotal testimonial? It protects me from a headache. That’s the thrust of what I was reacting to on that car ride home from the wedding weekend. My brain didn’t seem to be melting out of my ears. At the same time, though, I can’t say my stomach felt incredible.

I recommend giving Morning Recovery a go. Buy six to start off — that’s the price of two cocktails. And it might dull the real cost of those cocktails in the end. Oh, and as for the taste, it kind of reminds me of Brisk iced tea. Not bad at all.

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