It's January 2, and after two full nights of New Year's revelry, I feel like a hollow shell of a human being. For me, nothing revives a hangover-ravaged body like an ice cold bottle of root beer. From the first sip, I can feel the calming, soothing energy flow from my tummy into my tired arms and legs. My head begins to clear.

I know that sounds like a commercial for root beer, and the fast-acting relief may simply be a result of the combination of high fructose corn syrup, bubbles and some caffeine. But for me it may be something deeper. When I was kid, root beer was unquestionably my favorite thing on the planet. It was the first substance about which I could ever consider myself a connoisseur. So perhaps the healing power of root beer is because of its comforting, hug-like associations with my childhood, before I even knew what "hangover" meant.

There are lots of great root beers out there, but two of my favorites are IBC ( and Stewart's (