Corazón Reposado Tequila

Mangia Italiano, 3145 South Grand Boulevard, 314-664-8585.

Mangia Italiano

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The worst hangovers are the ones that creep up on you. Despite being a knucklehead last night, you wake up and everything's peachy — as in, the inside of your mouth feels like the outside of a peach, but no rumblings of anything worse. Phew. Drink water to apologize to your innards. There's a pea of a headache, but nothing to worry about. Squish it with some ibuprofen and more water.

Eat a bowl of Crunchberries, because apparently you're not going to pay for last night's tequila. Hell, go ahead and go to the Y to swim. You've got frickin' energy, and you're on a mission. Yes, we had tequila last night, but tequila's just a liquid, and we're a solid, with a bona fide body and (arguably) brain, with a whole system in place to filter out blue-agave toxins. No problemo.

But any marathoner will tell you that the first two miles of a race ain't that bad. It feels like the next 24 will float by — despite the fact that you've done this many times and know that at some point you're going to hit a brick wall. Delusion is a powerful force: You've got the legs, you've got energy, you're still riding the high of a new day. Nothing's going to stop us now.

That Corazón tequila that Mangia co-owner Paul Smith recommended sure was good. It was the reposado, which means "rested" in Spanish and indicates that it has aged in oak barrels for at least two months. Corazón's made at San Nicolas distillery in the highlands region of Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico; Arandas generates the largest and sweetest of all agave plants. And you can tell, boy howdy, because Corazón is a smooth, complex specimen. It hits with a sweet hint of meringue before nailing the palate with the taste of perfectly deep-fried chips and exiting with a subtle burn. Whatever you do, don't sully it with salt and lime.

Go on, have another. What's the worry?

The next afternoon, that's what. As the day progresses, a yellow fog has rolled in, which turns sour, like there's sarin gas in it. It coats your tummy while the pea of a headache grows barbs and moves around inside your head, from behind the ear to the eye socket to the crown. It's pounding, and it's making its way down your esophagus.

The body feels like a piece of leftover pizza left in the oven too long. The muscles, your hair, your toenails — they're all asking you why the hell you went ahead and had a second tequila that late in the game? Why, dumbass?

Because Mangia Italiano has doubled its space, and you felt like tossing an extra few bucks into the till to celebrate the good fortune. "On weekends we've got lines out both doors," bragged Smith. Cheers to that. It couldn't happen to a nicer place, the belle of the South Grand ball. Yes, Mangia has also contributed to many hangovers, including this bastard, which by dinner has nearly popped out of your eye sockets and collapsed your knees. Here's to Mangia? Let us go puke, and then maybe we'll raise another glass. Maybe.

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