We were promised jetpacks, etc., but the latest hype in techland surrounds something more workaday: Morning Recovery, a 3.4-ounce drink that purportedly beats hang­overs.

The formula is the product of 82 Labs, a Los Angeles-based startup founded by former Tesla engineer Sisun Lee. After visiting his native South Korea and witnessing go-getters down supplements that enabled them to wake up reasonably refreshed after a night of heroic drinking, Lee wanted to bring a similar product to the United States. His research led him to Jing Liang, a USC professor who had spent years researching hangover cures. Together they developed a concoction aimed at mitigating the effects of a night of excessive alcohol consumption. 

Silicon Valley types are taking note. Keith Ryu, founder of San Francisco-based hiring platform Fountain, is a believer; he provided bottles at Fountain's last holiday party. "I have a lot of weekend-morning coffee meetings," he says. "Sometimes, you show up and sound like a complete idiot. Not anymore." 

Morning Recovery contains exotic-sounding ingredients like milk thistle, red ginseng, and prickly pear extract, which the company says collectively ease symptoms such as nausea and dry mouth. But the key component is dihydromyricetin, or DHM. Found in the Japanese raisin tree, the flavonoid helps break down toxins released in the body when you drink alcohol--which is why Lee refers to it as the "liver superhero."

Last summer, the then-27-year-old Lee quit Tesla to found 82 Labs and commercialize his drink. The company launched a Facebook advertising campaign, and by April, it had sold more than $4 million worth of the $5 bottles on its website.

Reviews have been mixed--some customers on the product's Facebook page swear it didn't help--but they skew positive: Morning Recovery currently has a 4.1 rating on Amazon, with 71 percent giving it five stars. The peach-flavored drink even counts some Inc. staffers among its devotees; we put it to the test in an episode of Inc. Tested, which you can watch below.

Nate Bosshard, co-founder of San Francisco-based fitness startup Tonal, is another customer who swears by Lee's elixir. "I have a 12-pack in my fridge at all times," he says. "Not that I'm out bingeing every night, but you know how it goes: You go out and get some drinks after work, then you have a beer or a glass of wine with dinner. I'm 38, and as I've gotten older I can literally only have two drinks without getting a hangover." By drinking a bottle of Morning Recovery before bed, though, Bosshard says he wakes up feeling "whip-smart and ready to go."

He adds: "People have been waiting for this for forever. This is like cold fusion."

 

We Try A Tesla Engineer’s Hangover Cure
From the July/August 2018 issue of Inc. Magazine