You see, when I was told that one of the number one things to do in Hyder, Alaska — the initiation into the entire Hyder experience, if you will — was down to a shot of 150 proof alcohol, I was torn between my desire to experience everything possible when travelling and my desire to not vomit on a table.
They call it getting “Hyderized” and the place to do it is the Glacier Inn, the first bar on the left you’ll see when entering into Alaska.
The Glacier Inn is a rather unassuming Bar, nearly empty as we entered except for a table of people eating lunch. The walls were plastered with signed dollars from Canada and the US and other places in the world. Somewhere between $20 and $60 thousand adorned the wall. There were also signed life preservers and signed construction hats and taxidermied animals decorating every square surface of the walls. There were cans of Budweiser and Clamato in the fridge.
We walked into the bar with my traveling companions and three of the four of us asked to get Hyderized. The bartender started to pour what looked like half a glass of liquid. Luckily it was just water, but the actual shot didn’t look to be much less.
Before handing us our shots of 150 proof everclear she explained the rules to us:
It has to be downed in one go.
If you don’t finish or (as they would say in competitive eating) have a reversal we’d have to buy for the lunch of the occupied table and would not receive our certificate of achievement.
With that we grabbed our glasses, toasted each other, and took it down the hatch.
I’m not going to lie. It burned and felt like hell. My throat felt like it was simultaneously expanding and contracting, burning and frostbitten. But maybe that’s just me.
I chased it with my water and then ordered up a Coke.
As clumsily as I took it though, I took it. I took it in one go (well, one go enough) and I managed to keep it down (well, for at least a half an hour…) and that is what matters.
The bartender turned our empty shot glasses upside down and lit the droplets that remained on fire setting the bar to a beautiful blue blaze. She then presented us with our official certificates, dated and initialed, which we signed to verify that we had, in fact, been Hyderized.
Site: Glacier Inn
Location: Main Street, Hyder, Alaska
Date: June 27, 2009