Carl Schiffler’s
Liars Bunch

Oh the whiskey tree is the one for me
The whiskey tree is the one for me
Meet me there—
At the whiskey tree
—Lyrics from the hit Broadway musical
“The Whiskey Tree,” as sung by Tim Allen.

When the first settlers climbed Ike’s Peak a hundred and fifty years or so ago legend has it that they came upon a huge flowering tree with fruit as refreshing as punch and punched like good corn liquor. There was only one of these trees and they called it the whiskey tree.

To the Native American the whiskey tree was known as Kriss-tee-na-agg-u-lare-uh: “The place where much silliness occurs.” A visit to the tree became a coming of age ritual for young men and women alike, often resulting in an early start to the next generation as well.

Each autumn young people from every tribe would gather in the protection of Frowning Mountain’s ancient volcanic caldera to partake in the potent fruit that hung from the tree. Then they would get real silly and sing and dance through the night, returning home as (somewhat hung over) adults.

Then the settlers came and everyone wanted a taste of the whiskey tree and when the fruit was gone they started gnawing on the bark and then the wood was gone and, faster than a toad can effluviate, the tree had plumb disappeared! They even sucked the juice right out of the roots.

Cal Burgoo bought the land the whiskey tree had stood on and built a roadhouse there that he called “The Whiskey Tree.” He told passers-by that it was made out of the wood of the original whiskey tree even though folks knew better. Through the years the story was repeated until after awhile there was no one left who knew any better.


I hate it when I can’t even remember what my notes were for.

—Farmer Ooka Brown


“Lots o’ history in this place,” said Snizz Catwell to the visitors. He was the proprietor of the Whiskey Tree Bed and Breakfast. It was made out of logs said to be from the original whiskey tree itself!

“They say the drink they made out of the fruit was sheer ambrosia, even the scent could intoxicate. Of course, back then you didn’t need a designated driver to ride a mule home.” The group chuckled appreciatively.

He sold them some of his home brew, said to taste something like the fruit of the whiskey tree. The recipe was secret but I can tell you it included apples, persimmons, several common spices, coffee grounds, and a healthy dose of sugar. The town drunks swore by it.

Once a month Catwell sponsored a meeting of the Frowning Mountain Society, which would gather at the Whiskey Tree to mull over the possibility of ancient alien visitors to Vinegarroon County. They believed the whisky tree was from another planet, which was why there had only been one of them. For some time they had been trying to get Catwell to send a piece of his south wall to a laboratory for testing but by the time they’d refilled their glasses for the third time they usually forgot about it.

Then they went outside into the dark night, turned off their flashlights and cell phones, and inhaled the brisk autumn air. Lenny Harkwhickle thought he saw one, a real flying saucer returning to the whiskey tree to refuel for the long journey home but after some excitement it just turned out to be the satellite dish. Unfortunately it got knocked over in the melee and they had to suspend meetings until they came up with 200 dollars to replace it.