Hiccups: At best, they're annoying and embarrassing; at worst, they could be a sign of a serious health condition.
The next time you're facing a pesky bout of involuntary respiratory spasms, grab a bottle of bitters from the liquor cabinet and head to the kitchen for a lemon. Colloquially known as the bartender's hiccup cure, the remedy works like this: Douse a lemon slice or wedge with several drops of Angostura bitters and either eat it or chew on it for a minute or so. If you can't stomach the bitter taste you can add a sprinkle of sugar. That's it — no more hiccups.
Apparently the cure's been around for a while, but never really took off, perhaps because of conflicting advice and numerous alternatives (e.g., plugging your ears while drinking water, holding your breath). According to the New York Times, Dr. Jay Howard Herman of Boston conducted an informal study on the method and wrote about his findings in a letter to The New England Journal of Medicine in 1981.
Researchers aren't sure what the method's active ingredient is, but it's reported to have an 88 percent success rate. Some bartenders are even willing to stake their reputations on the promise that it works every time.