Elizabeth Tettleton

Published on April 15th, 2020 | by Elizabeth Tettleton


Let’s Get to Work, Y’all: The Cocktail We Never Thought We Would Need and Shields to Fight The Invisible Enemy

Wonderbird Spirits: Gin to Give 

“I thought people were just doing it as a PR stunt and had no interest in it for that reason,” said Chand Harlow, one of three owners of Wonderbird Spirits distillery in Taylor, Mississippi. “Then I was on the phone with my friend who is an ENT in New York talking about the outbreak about a month ago. I said, ‘If you need hand sanitizer, let me know.’ I had no idea it would actually turn into this.”

It took Wonderbird a minute to get started, following the heels of big-time distilleries like Jim Beam.

“There was originally no guidance, and you couldn’t produce it without a permit,” said Harlow. “We wanted to get started sooner, but we had to wait until we had the go-ahead.”

Wonderbird Spirits is closely following the guidelines established by the World Health Organization (WHO), which is now giving direction to distilleries on how they can contribute by producing mass quantities of the essential product.

Chand Harlow and his wife Nicole (Niett Metals, Taylor, Mississippi) have been the sole creators of over 1,000 8–12 oz bottles of hand sanitizer spray so far, and they haven’t pumped the brakes yet. 

“We wanted to get it into the hands of doctors and restaurants first. Nurses and nursing homes and hospice care have been our focus,” said Harlow. 

Wonderbird Spirits is providing the hand sanitizer in large format to hospitals and medical facilities, child protective services, Highway patrolmen, nursing homes, hospices, and restaurants on a request basis at a large discount, and has fully donated the product to many. The county sheriff’s department has also been a key area they have donated to, ensuring they can protect themselves and those who are helping pass out meals to kids at Lafayette County school pickup locations. Wonderbird donated a large shipment of hand sanitizer to Dr. Rocky Ferrandino, Harlow’s ENT friend in New York, as one of their first pushes. 

Wonderbird Spirits now has its hand sanitizer available to the public on their website with 4 oz containers at $6 and 8 oz containers at $9. They are also offering a 10 percent discount on their gin, and both products are available for curbside pickup at their distillery or online shipment (sanitizer only). You can also call to place an order at 662-205-0779.

For those interested in large format purchases for a restaurant, service or medical industry, or front-line position where you are working and still need sanitizer, please reach out via email at info@wonderbirdspirits.com

Center for Manufacturing Excellence: Engineering Personal Protection Equipment

Andy Gossett, a technical support staff member at the UM Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence, removes a batch of 3D-printed headbands from one of the facility’s 3D printers. The headbands will be used for face shields by health care workers at Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi in Oxford during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Dr. William King, a radiologist at Radiology Associates of Oxford, reached out to the Dean of the Ole Miss Engineering Department, Dean Puleo. He inquired with a unique request: could engineers help protect medical workers and create some personal protective equipment?

Answering the call is the Center for Manufacturing Excellence (CME) and J.D. Williams Library IDEALab have come together to provide over 165 headband shields for Dr. King and his personnel so far, and have a goal of 400. The headbands are reusable and being created on a 3D printer in both the CME’s facilities by Andy Gossett, Mark McAnally, and James McPhail and at the IDEALab by Christina Streeter.

“The teamwork had been incredible,” said Scott Kilpatrick, Associate Director of the CME, “I am moved by the effort of Andy Gossett. He has taken it on himself to really get this going, even coming up in the middle of the night to help get things going and be a point of contact throughout production.”

Queen’s Reward: Mead for Medics

It’s not just distilleries that have joined the effort in producing life-protecting sanitizers for the public. Queen’s Reward, a meadery in Tupelo, Mississippi, has gone to extreme lengths to create hand sanitizers for the public to purchase and to donate to local groups in Tupelo.

“We got lucky,” said Jeri Carter, owner of Queen’s Reward. “We were able to get a hold of a still and a steamer from a seller who was sending it to an event that was canceled. On top of that, our permits for the production were able to be received in record-breaking time, less than a week. Which is unheard of. It typically takes a year or so.”

Queen’s Reward is run primarily by Jeri and her husband, along with a few other part time employees that help run tours, tastings, and the on-site bar, which is currently closed.

They have made over 1,500 bottles so far of the sanitizer, with helpful reminders on the labeling such as, “Cough into your sleeve” and “Keep a Safe Distance!”

They are providing the 8 oz bottles for $9, or if you bring your own container, for $0.75 an ounce. “We are worried about making a huge profit, but we do have a lot of cost in this effort,” said Carter. “We wish we could give it to everyone.” And they are giving it to many—including the box of 125 bottles waiting to be picked up by Tupelo Ambulance Services so that EMTs can keep clean while serving the public. 

Visit Queen’s Reward in Tupelo (don’t forget to try a Mead Slushie, available for curbside pickup!), call 662-823-6323 visit online

How to Help Yourself and Others: Hand Sanitizer

People across the country are banding together to help make facemasks and products to protect friends, loved ones, and strangers in the midst of the widespread pandemic. But what can you do? Why not make your own hand sanitizer?

Housemade Hand Sanitizer Spray (WHO recipe)

What You Need

  • Ethanol (Grain alcohol, 190 proof) or 90% Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Glycerol or glycerin 
  • 3% Hydrogen peroxide 
  • Distilled water (or you can boil and cool your own tap water, if needed)
  • Essential oils (optional, and can cause allergic reactions in some. NOT recommended by WHO)
  • Spray bottle(s)

The Recipe:
I based the following recipe on the recommendations by the WHO.

Mix all ingredients in a glass or stainless steel container, preferably, then divide into individual spray containers. You can use it to wet a paper towel or dish towel for wiping down things. I keep one in my car for Kroger/Larson’s/Walmart/Bank trips. 

I wouldn’t use wood for something like this . . . I don’t even for making my sweet tea. No matter how many times I wash it, it still tastes like last night’s spaghetti sauce. I used a take-out straw that was individually wrapped to “stir” so that I knew it was sterile and could easily toss it. I used my boyfriend’s french coffee press as a “beaker” to measure and mix all ingredients.

I suggest sanitizing your tools and containers first with one of these methods:

  • Boil glass/steel spray bottles and utensils
  • Pour grain alcohol on all utensils and containers

Glycerin/Glycerol sounds odd, but is commonly used on the face and will keep the sanitizing solution from drying out your hands. I found some at CVS, but it’s also available on Amazon and any other pharmacy. Other emolents can be replaced, according to WHO, but I did not research others. If you can’t find glycerol, proceed with the rest of the recipe anyway and just remember to moisturize your hands after applying the sanitizer.

Divvy everything up into spray bottles you have “sanitized” (as suggested above) and label your bottles so no one drinks them or otherwise uses them inappropriately. Share with friends and family!

Please note, if you’re working with a lower-concentration solution of rubbing alcohol, use far less water; remember, at least ¾ of your final mixture has to be alcohol.

Where I Found Everything in Oxford:

  • Diesel 190 (off brand Everclear) ($16.99/750ml) – High Cotton Wine + Spirits (curbside delivery!)
  • Hydrogen Peroxide ($1/32 oz) – first aid at Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Dollar General
  • Essential Oils ($4.59/.5 oz) – bath and body aisle in Kroger and CVS
  • Glycerin ($7.29/6oz) – in face care at CVS
  • Distilled Water ($1.49/1 gallon) – on CPAP aisle and baby formula aisle at CVS
  • Spray Bottles ($2.19/3 oz bottle) – in travel size bottle aisle in CVS and Amazon
Coming Together While Pulled Apart: The Oxford Community Thrives During COVID-19

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