Opening Death’s Door

Several days ago, I received a promotional/informational email from Liquor.com. The message contained a list of gins that, according to the sender, represent the best of the beverage. My wife, a gin aficionado who rarely drinks any alcohol, found the list interesting. So, during a trip to a Little Rock liquor store subsequent to viewing the list, we picked up a bottle of one of the gins, Aviation Gin. The bottle, still unopened, awaits sufficient company from other gins on the list.

One of the others for which Aviation awaits is a Wisconsin-distilled gin called Death’s Door. Thanks to a bit of sleuthing, I learned that the gin’s distillery was in the midst of deciding to declare bankruptcy last October, but was seeking a buyer to save it from that ignominious end. I then sent an email to the company, expecting I would not receive a reply. But I did! The subsequent search and dead-ends was long, but the outcome (I hope) will be positive. Because I received some erroneous information, I have been promised I will receive a bottle of the gin, free of charge.

Now, why is Death’s Door of such interest? It’s because it’s made in Wisconsin. And our friends and neighbors are from Wisconsin. And we learned that my recent interest in the Wisconsin celebratory food, Cannibal sandwiches, was indeed a “thing” for them. On New Year’s eve (or was it the actual day?), they enjoyed raw ground beef smeared on pumpernickel or rye bread, topped with chopped onion and salt and pepper. What better way to celebrate my discovery of Wisconsin Cannibal sandwiches than with a shot of Wisconsin gin? Alas, since learning of our neighbors’ appreciation of Cannibal sandwiches, we learned they are not fond of gin. Damn! Oh, well, that does not prevent us from pursuing the celebration without them! Cannibal sandwiches and a Gin and Tonic. Or, instead of a Gin and Tonic, perhaps a Last Word cocktail? What, you ask, is a Last Word cocktail? I’ve never had one, but its ingredients are:

  • 3/4 oz. Gin
  • 3/4 oz. Green Chartreuse
  • 3/4 oz. Maraschino Liqueur
  • 3/4 oz. Fresh Lime Juice

The ingredients are shaken with ice and strained into a coupe glass. Our inadequately equipped bar refrigerator would need only the Green Chartreuse, Maraschino Liqueur, and fresh limes in order for me to make the drink. According to a witty comment accompanying the recipe, “This complex, herbal cocktail will win any argument.” Back to the liquor store! Maybe.

I sincerely hope the promised bottle of Death’s Door actually reaches us. If not, I may have to drive to Fort Smith to find a bottle (the guy who promised to send me a bottle said an unnamed liquor store in that city stocks the product). Driving to Fort Smith might actually be a happy respite from the mundane scenery (or mundenery, to use my latest portmanteau) in these parts. We would be able to visit our good friends who live there and could safely store enormous quantities of gin in their house, knowing the female component of the couple has an aversion to the spirit. 😉

Speaking of portmanteau, as you will admit we were, the word was (according to Google) first used by Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass; the word was a combination of  porter (to carry) and manteau (a cloak). Fascinating, these things one finds during unexpected trips through the rabbit warren known as the internet! I learned, while wandering through the group of burrows that form rabbits’ playgrounds, that the name of the country, Tanzania, is a portmanteau of Tanganyika and Zanzibar.  Now you know. But, then, you may have known before, in which case I have wasted your time and, for that, I sincerely apologize. Let’s move along, shall we?

Food, liquor, and language. That trio seems to form the base of my interests. The first two can, if not properly restrained, can lead to unhappy and unhealthy outcomes. They can, as it were, take one to “death’s door” and beyond. But so can language. Loudly proclaim that Donald Trump a fascist idiot, during a Republican cult gathering, and wait to be shown to that door. But I’ve veered off course again, haven’t I? Well of course I have. But I’ll return to the right route.

Last night, we dined with six other members/friends of the Unitarian Universalist Village Church. We know four of them, but had met the other couple only in passing. Last night gave us an opportunity to learn a bit more about the couple. And it gave me an opportunity to try an intriguing menu item (Penne Arrabiata) from a relatively new (to me) restaurant (Dolce Vita). My meal was good. Worth another trip. Which is good, because we’re returning to the place next Wednesday with our Cannibal sandwich-eating neighbors.

In other news, I am scheduled for a CT scan on Monday morning, followed by an endoscopy next Friday. Perhaps, sometime during the week, my vacationing oncologist will have returned and will share with me my latest lab (blood) tests and the results of the x-ray of my gut. I was rather peeved that she insisted on an immediate x-ray, then left town without telling me what, if anything, it revealed. Another example of her failure to communicate. I should insist that she consume vast quantities of hard-boiled eggs as punishment for her oversight. (If you’ve not seen Cool Hand Luke, you won’t have a clue what a lack of communication and hard boiled eggs have to do with one another.) I hope all these tests and follow-up appointments keep me far, far away from death’s door. I have no interest in opening it at the moment.

 

 

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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