It struck me that ‘The Lush’ and just ‘Lush’ have such widely different connotations. While ‘The Lush’ infers someone who has over-imbibed ‘Lush’ makes me think of rich and opulent; whether in your home, a garden or the experiences we have with food or drink. This cocktail was on the menu of the Logan-Brown Restaurant and Bar in Wellington, New Zealand and I think it’s the later. I was asked to sample a bottle of New Zealand’s Broken Shed Vodka and thought it would be fun to make something from the homeland where it is produced and this was perfect. After a long, long week, I wanted something easy to make and cold going down…our heat is back and, well, it was a week truly gone to the dogs.
My week took a decidedly difficult turn early Tuesday afternoon when my daughter Emily called, almost inconsolable and difficult to understand on the phone, and let me know her dog Ginny was so sick that she thought if I wanted to see her again, I should come quick to the hospital. Ginny’s liver was failing and her prognosis was not good. What happened? She got into some Ice Breakers sugar free gum. Some everyday, we all have it around sugar free gum. Take a look at the products on the poster below; Ginny got into a jar of Ice Breakers gum, but any of them could affect your pet and in much smaller quantities than she ingested.
So sick; she looks as worried as we were.
Some brands of products labeled ‘sugar free’ contain a product called Xylitol and it is presumed to be ONE HUNDRED times more devastating for dogs than chocolate. Beyond Ginny’s inability to keep food down, she had begun to become very lethargic and I’m so glad Emily had the wisdom to suspect something serious enough to take her to the vet. At that time no one knew what caused it but it was clear she had ingested a toxin as evidenced by some metrics. A dog Ginny’s size should have a bilirubin level of approximately 120. At her worst on Tuesday it was measured at 22,000; a clear sign of a liver in distress. It has come down as of today to 10,000 so we are optimistic that her liver is starting to function again.
Of equal concern was the inability of her blood to clot. That indicator is measured in seconds; how long a wound takes to start clotting normally. Normal for Ginny would be about 15 seconds and today it was finally close at 19 seconds. At her worst she was measuring 300 seconds; only 5 minutes but that equates to a potentially fatal blood loss were she to be injured so she would not have been considered viable if it had not improved. A plasma transfusion stabilized her ability to clot blood but she had to be able to do that without transfusions and today we celebrated that her body was regaining that ability.
As a community service announcement I want you to look at the graphic above or visit http://www.petful.com/pet-health/xylitol-poisoning-pets-facts/. Take a look at your gum, your toothpaste and your vitamins. Make sure if they have this product that they are far removed from any place your pet can reach them. Even the kitchen table where your pets don’t belong; yes, she did. She either jumped up on the kitchen table and found some gum or it was close enough to the edge for her to knock the container to the ground…and she almost paid for it with her life. Don’t let it happen to your beloved pet; we feel so very lucky to still have our girl.
So glad to be home!
So now that you know what our week has included, you won’t blame me if I needed a cocktail right? If I didn’t research a back story or interview the bar owner? This was not the week…but this cocktail was good enough I wanted to share it with you. Although I used Chambord I can see the combination of vodka and prosecco working with so many variations. Orange liqueur, limoncello, cranberry liqueur…the list could go on and on!
Broken Shed uses spring water from both islands of New Zealand; nothing particularly surprising for a premium vodka, but what was unique is that it’s distilled from whey, a sugar that is the liquid byproduct of cheese-making. I thought it crisp and bracing on it’s own but I especially liked it in a simple cocktail. Of some unique interest and surprise? It has a cork stopper! Some purists find a cork stopper to be preferable to a screwcap on spirits but I admit that was news to me; except for wine I’ve never seen it before.
I was glad I had stored it in the freezer; this cold and simple cocktail hit the spot on this day; one that combined the end of an ordeal with the celebration of Ginny coming home. Now I think I’ll crash; the Labor Day weekend is starting today for me!
I was provided with a bottle of Broken Shed Vodka to sample but all commentary is my own.
UPDATE on Ginny, Sept 2, 2012: She is doing great. Eating with renewed vigor and dying for more activity than she should have. Emily has to keep a close watch on anything that might cause bruising until we can be certain that her blood clotting levels are again normal. We are most grateful for the group Corgi Pals that have decided to do a fundraiser for Ginny’s vet bills; the fight was worth it but it’s quite a burden on a young single woman so they’ve seen a need to help. We can’t thank them enough!