I'll bet the following scenario sounds eerily familiar: An arrhythmic stumble to the bathroom is commandeered by a wobbling head swishing, swirling and thundering with pain. Spreading from that damaged cranium - like the blood-red blossoming of spilled wine staining a white carpet - is a foggy consciousness that is equal parts detective, penitent and amnesiac.

I'll bet the following scenario sounds eerily familiar: An arrhythmic stumble to the bathroom is commandeered by a wobbling head swishing, swirling and thundering with pain. Spreading from that damaged cranium - like the blood-red blossoming of spilled wine staining a white carpet - is a foggy consciousness that is equal parts detective, penitent and amnesiac.

When the bathroom is finally attained (and the rocky trip seems to have taken all morning - or is it already afternoon?), the light switch is fumbled with and, eventually, successfully flipped. You then begin to stare into the bloodshot eyes of the insane culprit responsible for your hellish condition.

Glaring back at you in the smudgy medicine cabinet mirror, you see the grim visage of the evildoer who did you wrong and, with a sneer, you feel your crusty mouth begin to form these words: "Thanks for all the Christmas cheer, a--hole!" Ahhh, yes, the telltale season's greeting of the alco-holidays known as the hangover.

Come on, you know it's inevitable. But what are you going to do with your loathsome self now? Take aspirin, drink water and eat some comforting (greasy) food? Go back to bed? Take a shower? Cry? Yeah, all those things might help. But to really cement the cure, I recommend you add a couple of Bloody Marys into the healing mix.

Yeah, I know, knocking back yet more alcohol - especially now - sounds counterintuitive. But really, do you want to continue feeling horribly hung over or would you rather move your mood into the slightly buzzed territory? I know which I'd choose.

To this end, I sampled a few Bloody Mary recipes developed by guys famous for knowing a lot about a lot of drinks - and, it follows, a lot about hangovers, too. Here's some notes, good luck!

Kingsley Amis was undoubtedly one of the most erudite heavy drinkers in literary history. His recipe includes tomato juice, lemon juice and the "secret ingredient," ketchup (Amis said, "I'm not all clear on what it does, but it does something considerable"). Meant to be served in a wine glass, it came out rich, full-bodied and not at all spicy.

Kingsley Amis' recipe

1/2 bottle of vodka

2 pints tomato juice

3 tablespoons tomato ketchup

4 tablespoons lemon juice

4 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon (at least) Worcestershire sauce

1 level teaspoon celery salt

Ice cubes

You will want to make up a lot of this before the party starts, or before the last breakfasters have finished. Put into some smallish container the vodka, ketchup, sauce and celery salt. Stir furiously until the ketchup is fully emulsified and the lumps in the celery salt broken up. (The ketchup is the secret of the whole thing; I am not at all clear on what it does, but it does something considerable.)

Mix the tomato juice and (strained) fruit juices into your usual jug, stir in the vodka-ketchup-sauce-salt mixture, add ice, stir again and serve in wine glasses or the equivalent. As with a dry martini, the bottom half of a too-large drink is warm when you get to it.

Mario Batali is a man whose appetite for excess is equaled only by his great taste. Batali's recipe was the most cheffy, the hardest to make, and it had to sit an hour before being served. But the result was outstanding! This light and bright Bloody Mary garnished with fresh horseradish was the least tomatoey (it's made with V8-like veggie juice) and would surely wake up anyone's miserable-in-the-morning mouth.

Mario Batali's recipe

24 ounces vegetable cocktail, like V8

1 teaspoon celery seed

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

1 lime, juiced, plus 1 lime, cut into wedges

1 lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish, plus 1 tablespoon

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Hot pepper sauce

8 ounces vodka

4 celery stalks, with leaves

4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

In a large pitcher, combine the vegetable cocktail, celery seed, pepper,

citrus juices, 2 tablespoons grated horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and

hot pepper sauce and stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Fill 4 glasses with ice. Add 2 ounces vodka to each and fill three-quarters

full with the vegetable cocktail mix. Sprinkle with the remaining

horseradish, place 1 celery stalk in each glass, and squeeze a lime wedge

over each glass before dropping the wedge into the glass. Float a teaspoon

of balsamic vinegar on the top of each drink and serve.

David Wondrich gave up his college teaching gig to become America's favorite professor of cocktails. Served in a Collins glass, his Bloody Mary was very straightforward and would be perfect for people who like a bite of black pepper and horseradish but not a lot of bells and whistles.

David Wondrich's recipe

2 ounces vodka

4 ounces tomato juice

1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

1 splash Worcestershire sauce

3 to 4 dashes Tabasco

1 teaspoon horseradish

Squeeze the liquid out of the horseradish, then shake ingredients well with cracked ice in a chilled cocktail shaker. Strain into a Collins glass with 2 or 3 ice cubes in it; add a pinch of salt and a grind or two of fresh pepper, to taste. Garnish, if necessary, with a stalk of celery.