KZ on Lucky Nites

Posted on September 8, 2011

I was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. After fifteen years in southwest Florida, I moved back last year. I still felt a sense of pride and belonging when I rode through the old neighborhood. Like everyone else, I witnessed the unfortunate saga that was “The Decision.” In the aftermath, I noticed how down local people seemed about the ordeal. LeBron was gone, and morale in the city had taken a big hit. I decided it was up to me to get Akron its shine back.

What better way to do that than bring out “The Freestyle King?” My plan was to get local clubs to bring Lil Flip to Akron. The guy is known to wear a million in ice; it doesn’t get much shinier than that. As different clubs played broke and preoccupied, I felt bad that I couldn’t deliver on the shows.

Flip had already been kind enough to handle the matter personally (quotes and contact info,) rather than just ignoring my tweet or letting the label handle it. He was ready to fly in and rock Akron U, but no bar or club in town wanted to pay his (actually quite reasonable) quote. I’m no promoter; just a guy determined to make a show happen in my area. To hell with driving an hour to Cleveland for good shows. I admired Flip and wanted to meet him.

When the most prominent club in Akron finally hit me with a “maybe in a few months,” I braced myself for the possibility that there would not be a show after all. The people of Akron are tough; they’ve rebounded since. But in my mind, I still had to make it right with Flip.

I went to what I do know; custom, hand-stippled royalty art (KZ High Society.) I have customized everything from boxes/jars/shoes to guns/jewelry/electronics. For Flip Gate$, I had to customize something personal. Then it hit me: a bottle of Lucky Nites!

I know a local bar owner, so I figured pulling a bottle would be simple. We hit up the wholesaler, order one, done deal. Turns out, you can only currently get it in six states; Ohio not being one of them. I was sure I’d seen Lucky Nites in stores in southwest Florida before, so I called my sister there. She checked liquor stores in Lee County (Ft. Myers/Cape Coral.) Being a cool sister, she found it online and ordered it. The bottle shipped from New Jersey to Akron.

I expected it to come USPS, so when I ran an errand that morning and passed a UPS truck on the block, I thought little of it. When I got home, there was no “Hey dickhead, we missed you” note from UPS. (It wasn’t until later that I realized that there HAD been a note; a strong breeze had taken it off the door.) I tracked the package and called UPS; time to find out what Brown could do for me. Rather than risk a re-deliver (and possible “return to sender” the next Monday, I told them to hold the package, and I would pick it up at UPS in Akron on Monday.

It was only Friday, so I was bummed. As I sat online, I saw a UPS truck drive down my street again, moving very fast. “Son of a bitch!” I called UPS again. I told the woman on the line that I had just spotted the driver, and that my bottle was likely still in the neighborhood. She took my info and contacted the driver. She called me back anonymous on the caller ID, telling me that a redelivery would occur within the next hour. It did. The driver showed up with a foam peanut/bubble-wrapped bottle of Lucky Nites.

Everyone I know told me to drink it, but I resisted. Tonight, I decided to skip the art studio and get some writing done. After a short conversation with the good people at Lucky Nites, I decided that I couldn’t sing the praises of this drink if I hadn’t tried it.

Granted, it would have been far more impressive for Flip to receive a sealed bottle completely customized, but I figured he would rather have another fan/drinker try his product. So I did; and I documented the entire 3-night consumption like a cell extraction.

When I first pulled the cork, my nose immediately burned; no doubt due the vodka content. I poured my first glass and added ice. At this point, the liqueur was still very fragrant. Within minutes, the ice had mellowed it out a bit. As I wrote and sipped my Lucky, I did my best to savor every drop. I enjoyed the burn throughout my sinus.

The pineapple was different, and the amaretto hinted at being there, rather than overpowering. By the end of my first glass, I was comfortably buzzed. I poured another. Once I sipped it down a bit, I decided to try it out as a mixer. I added more ice, and topped it off with (get this) Henry Weinhard’s Black Cherry Cream gourmet soda.

The crisp cherry taste only added to an already exotic, easy-to-sip drink. I was borderline drunk after two 8-oz. glasses. I decided to re-cork the bottle and have dinner. The next two nights were the same thing. I waited until evening, poured up Lucky Nites, and caught up on my writing. I don’t drink very much these days; I got most of it out of my system during my 20’s.

Still, I see it as good form to always keep a bottle or two in the house. I intend to reorder Lucky Nites, and will encourage guests to give it a try. I give Lucky Nites Golden Liqueur an official KZ Cosign; Seal of Approval.

Once the drinking was done, I washed and dried the bottle, taking special care to leave the factory labels intact.  I began applying base coat panels and engraving to the bottle.

As it was the smallest surface, I started by illustrating the cork with Flip (in a 4-row chain,) and two female fans; one of them calling him Flyboy.  I worked off a master list of Lil Flip details, incorporating one after another.

The mouth/sides/edges/bottom all have different clues on them. I hand-illustrated the blank panels with a number of scenarios; highlights from Flip’s career.

With everything now etched and inked, I flooded the bottle’s exterior with multiple glossy coats. This sealed in all the ink. It also created “phantom engraving.”

At a glance, the engraved details seem vague. Press them with your thumb, and details appear. My final act was to fill it with “purple drank,” and put a second cork down inside the neck to contain it. The inner workings have been double sealed to make it 100% leak-proof.

To Flip: I hope you enjoy your piece of KZHS art. Your life story is told on this bottle. There are over 70 details/dates/names/CD titles/scenarios worked in. The engraved panels have “phantom engraving.” Press/rub them with your thumb to make details appear. Enjoy.

Special thanks to Lucky Nites and Cosign Magazine for all the support.

-KZ (@KZHighSociety) KZ Concepts/2011

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