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Aethelflaed's avatar

What exactly is a hemlock chaser?

Asked by Aethelflaed (13712 points ) July 18th, 2011

I was watching Wonderfalls, and the main character orders a “Vodka, hemlock chaser”. What exactly is this? I can’t find anything on Google.

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20 Answers

Schroedes13's avatar

I know that Hemlock is a type of poisonous mixture. However, I don’t know what this exact drink is!

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I’ve never seen Wonderfalls, but hemlock is poisonous. It sounds like it may be a dark joke… with the chaser meant to be a suicide attempt.

FutureMemory's avatar

Perhaps the person feels they are being unfairly persecuted? Hemlock was the poison given to Socrates, I believe.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

The context would be helpful. I think @FutureMemory may be onto something.

Schroedes13's avatar

@FutureMemory Yes. Socrates drank Hemlock instead of being exiled from Athens!

Aethelflaed's avatar

As far as I can tell, she doesn’t feel like she’s being unfairly persecuted, although she is always prone to dark humor… I was just thrown because then the bartender put more in the glass than just vodka, so it seemed like it was somehow code or something…

anartist's avatar

It’s funny.

Kayak8's avatar

A number of the above answers are correct, but I sense from @Aethelflaed‘s “bartender put something more into the glass” that some deconstruction might help.

A chaser is an additional drink (it chases the first drink).
Hemlock is a well-known poison and no one uses it to make drinks.
To say, give me x beverage and a hemlock chaser is best understood as @FutureMemory described above.

One could make a similar joke (albeit not that funny) in a situation with an older man and a younger woman going into a bar. The man orders her a vodka and the bartender asks if she would like a Milk chaser with that (poking at her age).

There are any number of liquids (including those that one would never drink) that could be added to the “Give me a [fill in the blank] chaser” statement to poke fun at yourself or others in comedic fashion.

The original purpose of a “chaser” is to provide a mild beverage immediately following the consumption of a stronger, alcoholic beverage. This could be to cleanse the palate, reduce a burning sensation, etc.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Yes, and a chaser goes in a separate glass; it wouldn’t be in the same glass as the vodka.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Kayak8 Oh, no – I know what a chaser is. I just wasn’t sure what he was putting in the glass, and couldn’t find any Creme de Hemlock or Hemlock Schnapps or whatever on Google, so I was confused.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Yea as everyone else said, just poison. Jaye hated her “gift” and the way it constantly backfired/ made her life more difficult. I dont remember the episode this was in but more than likely she was in the dumps again and was making a joke about wanting to kill herself.

Wonderfalls really is a great show, its a shame it was cancelled so soon. Once you finish Wonderfalls I highly suggest you check out the other shows from Bryan Fuller if you havent seen them already, Pushing Daisies and Dead Like Me

Aethelflaed's avatar

@uberbatman Ok. So then I guess it’s just kinda bad writing where Eric then somehow knows that she wants (I think???) olive juice added. I’m enjoying it so far, though not as much as Pushing Daisies. Dead Like Me has this awful way of reminding me of how mortal I am, how I could die any second, and my rather ironic reaction to this is to get entirely depressed and want to kill myself.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Aethelflaed Yea I would say so, I mean Eric always seemed to recognize that she had that sense of dark humor to her so just went about making her drink as normal.

Pushing Daisies is by far my favorite of his shows. I remember reading that Pushing Daises was supposed to spin off of Dead Like Me but DLM was cancelled before Pushing Daises started. There was supposed to be a cross over ep where The Piemaker was bringing people back that George had already killed, woulda been pretty cool. It is a shame none of these shows made it all that long because they really were original and funny in a dark humor way unlike most shows on tv. oh well, the good shows never seem to make it long

Aethelflaed's avatar

@uberbatman Ok. I thought that might be it, but they hadn’t established an official “her drink” yet, but rather had her drinking something new every time.
Pushing Daisies was and is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Just top notch, all around. Absolutely brilliant. I really hated the Writers’ Strike (and the writers in it) just for ruining it.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Aethelflaed ahh ok yea as I said, no clue what ep thats from.

I didnt know thats what killed Pushing Daisies, such a shame. It had a sense of humor like no other show. And the way it was narrated made it much better. I remember in one episode they all needed rain coats and Ned’s had pies on it, Emerson’s had cods and Olive’s had well olives. It was such a simple touch but it was extremely funny to me for some reason :P

Aethelflaed's avatar

@uberbatman Well, it made it so that even though we were supposed to get a full first season, only half aired. And then it just couldn’t get up any momentum and gain viewers or even keep the old ones the next season, since they couldn’t advertise like a was a new show. Same thing happened to quite a few shows that were in their first season when the strike happened.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Foragers note: “hemlock” is also used to refer to a non-poisonous evergreen tree. The fresh, light green needles are highly edible. I’ve heard many amusing stories of people freaking out when someone else ate some hemlock needles, having heard hemlock was deadly poisonous and not knowing the difference. The poison hemlock is not a tree, but an herbaceous plant. To the inexperienced, it does resemble wild carrot.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Great info @incendiary_dan my wilderness survival teacher told us about tree as well and gave us one such amusing story of him eating it in front of others on a trip and them all freaking out :P

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