The staffers and their work-release crew of not-yet-paroled freelancers have been around the block, done some things, and seen what can’t be unseen, but never in anyone’s memory have they tasted Harley-Davidson flavored liquor. Is this another attempt by the Motor Company to trademark the un-markable? Rather than a distinctive syncopated sound, was the factory trying to brand an exclusive taste? The taste of old motor parts soaked in gin?

There have been office incidents, of course – a splash of motor oil gone awry, a dribble of fork lube miraculously finding Editor Duke’s breakfast beer – you know, the usual accidental cocktails. Leave it, however, to German builder Uwe Ehinger, who with driven purpose and sober intent, built bottles of gin around unearthed Harley parts, American Picker style, by digging through barns and bunkers and such. There’s a reason why they call him “The Archaeologist,” or that’s what he calls himself, we’re not sure, but after a few shots of liquid motor manna at about $42 per shot, we didn’t care.

We had to look once and taste twice to believe it. Okay, full disclosure — starting at $1,058 for a 750ml bottle, we didn’t actually purchase and pour, swirl and sniff the subtle steel notes of a 1939 Flathead camshaft, but after some unscientific experimentation with spare parts, we got the idea. Harley banks on nostalgia, and what better way to experience years of Milwaukee tradition than drinking up some history.

Ehinger has created three varieties of his premium-priced gin based on bits and pieces of a 1939 Flathead, 1947 Knucklehead and 1962 Panhead, all vintage years for sure. Each bottle comes with the part’s backstory and from what far corner of the world it was exhumed. The period-look packaging of waxed paper and cardboard was printed on a 1931 Heidelberg Tiegel printing press, according to a spokesman for Hamburg-based Ehinger Kraftrad, which builds customs based on vintage Harleys.

Using old and gritty Harley parts to make liquor is nothing new. My grandfather was a bootlegger in the 1930s and used to refer to the process as “cooking up some oil pan stew,” which was family code for making moonshine. Grandpa was an avid motorcyclist in the first half of the last century, riding Indians, Harleys, Excelsiors and pretty much anything else he could drag from the junkyard and restore to life. Story goes, some engine parts didn’t make it back into the engine but instead were used to “add character” to the batch. Seems he believed the porous parts held a hint of burnt oil, which he swore with a mischievous smile gave his shine a “distinctive smoky flavor.”

So if your beer is tasting a little bland, just stir in a greasy bolt or two, garnish with a bit of chrome and enjoy. In the entrepreneurial spirit of free thinkers like Grandpa and Uwe the Archeologist, perhaps it is time to fire up the family business, serving those citizens who want a bold taste of the biker life. Just have to dig through some old piles of parts to find Grandpa’s old oil pan.

  • Well, it can’t taste worse than regular gin…(nice story, Josh)

  • TheMarvelous1310

    Great! I always worry about how I’m not getting heavy metal poisoning when I’m guzzling shots.

  • Jason M.

    I wish I could say I’m surprised to read this is a thing, but you know, Harley…

  • Old MOron

    Just the fact that this stuff exists is bad enough for Harley riders. I can’t bring myself to kick them while they’re down.

  • Starmag

    I’m Hardly Able to bottle my enthusiasm for this attempt to gin up some business.

  • Jon Jones

    A new level of retardedness has been reached.

  • Stanislaw Zolczynski

    Well, the only problem is to get the part in the bottle, hard to do if you`re not glassblower. For all others I would suggest sneaking a bike chain in calling stuff Chainsnake Oil or a handful of ball bearings. The name? what about BallsOnFire.

  • SRMark

    Now let’s not go out there and soak our nuts in gin.

  • elgar

    Well…that was a high octane story with obvious collaboration with Albert Kaholic. Bravo!

  • Buzz

    I would expect potato potato vodka.

  • toomanycrayons

    So, just as in real life, the larger the part, the less alcohol you’ll need to be provided with to keep someone interested? Those sexy Germans. Is there nothing they don’t take into account?

  • Rob Mitchell

    Shit flavoured gin, why?

  • John A. Stockman

    Really? HD allowing booze sponsorship at certain motorcycle events is questionable enough. New lows being explored here, but the price is in line with CVO machines. Should not be surprised, can’t wait for the next lowering of the bar…

  • mikstr

    must be oily and give you heartburn…..