Drink Me: The Velvet Wendigo

I would like to apologize for that mildly pornographic lemon.

I don’t know how he got in here. I didn’t invite him.

ANYWAY here is a very quick drink recipe you should make, and then put in your face. And then you should make it again, and put it in your face again. Because though it’s not summer here, it got suddenly fucking hot. It had been cold. Unseasonably cold. And damp. And then spring was like, “Fuck it, I’m out early,” and it left the door open, and HELL-HOT SUMMER DEMONS SWEPT ON ON WINGS OF STEAM and they just took over the place. Which meant it was time for a nice, refreshing drink.

Thing is, bourbon is — for me! — not really a nice refreshing drink. I love it! I do. But I don’t associate it with hot summer days or anything.

Bourbon tends to be a winter/fall beverage in our house. In summer I tend to lean toward beer, gin, tequila, the iced tears of my foes.

And yet, I wanted bourbon.

So I made this, and you should make it, too.

Into your mixer goes:

Two ounces bourbon

One ounce of ginger syrup*

The juice of one lemon.

The juice of one (small) orange, like, a blood orange.

That’s literally it.

You could add in an ounce of triple sec or other orange liqueur.

You could add in an ounce of ginger liqueur to replace the ginger syrup.

You could add in a couple dashes of bitters, for sass.

You could just drink the fucking bourbon** and nobody would blame you.

Either way, toss that around and pop it over some ice.

Then drink ten of them and write a comment below.

(As a sidenote, Gareth Skarka on FB asked me what I called this drink, and I had no name, so I called it The Velvet Wendigo, so let’s just make that official, shall we?)

* if you don’t know how to make ginger simple syrup GOD I HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING FOR YOU NNNGHHH okay fine take a knob (heh, knob) of peeled ginger and chop it up and pop it in a pot. Also into the pot: 1 cup of sugar (I mix half white, half brown), 1 cup of water, and for some silliness, a splash of vanilla. Boil, then reduce to simmer for 20-30 minutes, until reduced. Stir occasionally.

** this is where you’re like WHAT BOURBON CHUCK JEEZ GODDAMN and I will tell you my secret is that for mixing and casual sipping you can’t do wrong with W.L. Weller — rumor is it’s basically a cheap variant of Pappy Van Winkle, and honestly, for $20, it’s really pretty lovely; if you’re wanting something fancier, I have and enjoy a lot of bourbons, including but not limited to, Hudson Baby, Basil Hayden’s, Colonel Taylor, Bulleit, and so on. Scads of smaller batch bourbons are available but I am not as well-drank there as I am with gin***

*** fine I’ll recommend some fucking gin too, you savages: Bluecoat is hands-down my go-to gin, but also love the Botanist (makes a helluva G&T with elderflower tonic from Fevertree) — though, the greatest G&T I have ever been served was in NYC and it used a gin made by a Brooklyn company called Greenhook Ginsmiths. Sadly due to weirdness in PA liquor laws, I can’t really get it here. Then again, some of you don’t like gin, so, there you go.****

**** though if you don’t like gin I might recommend you try a real gin and not like, the RUBBING ALCOHOL PINE TREE variety you get in most bottles. Most gin is shit, or half-shit. Try something lighter, more botanical, and put it with a non-shitty tonic like FeverTree or Q.


  • Holy schnikies, thank you so much for the tips on tonics! I do loves me a vodka tonic, but I can’t order one outside of my house because I take a sip and I’m all WOMAN DID I ORDER RUBBING ALCOHOL BY MISTAKE? But then, people in this fucked up state have put bitters in a Tequila Sunrise and I was once served a brunch Bloody Mary that was brown. YES, BROWN. So, Old Congealed Blood Mary, I guess *shudder*
    Anyway. We DO have Asian markets that sell ginger syrup, though, so at least I can mix nice drinks. Gonna get Wendig-faced this weekend. 😉

  • For affordable bourbons, I highly recommend Heaven Hill’s bottles. They have a full line with an entry at near every price, and I’d stand one of theirs up against any competitor’s that costs twice as much. Heaven Hill at the baseline, and Evan Williams at one step up.

    And as far as gins go…Bombay Sapphire is indistinguishable from old fashioned barbershop cologne.

  • I can tell you’re not from the south, because 1) it’s been summer here for a month; and 2) Bourbon IS a summer drink. When I was a kid in the 70’s, my parents would drink large tumblers full of iced Bourbon and water*. When we got together with family for a day, the adults would drink those all day. I hated the smell of them, and it’s only been the last few years that I’ve been willing to try some Bourbon or whiskey drinks, and yours sounds lovely.

    *My mother now admits these were terrible, but it’s what you did in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s

  • One or five of these very good and refreshing-sounding drinkies would go well with my not wanting to be an adult today.

  • Sounds like it would be good for a cold, too, the which (coincidentally) I have. But I don’t have any of the hard stuff (apart from cooking brandy, bleh) and as it is howling winter outside my door I’m not leaving the house to get any. Or for any other reason…

  • June 14, 2017 at 6:18 AM // Reply

    Blue coat is good. The Botanist is good but super spendy (at least where I live). Barr Hill is amazing. It’s the only gin I’ve ever had that opens up like a wine if it let it sit, and probably the only one I’d drink neat.

    Also, congrats on getting your “from” problem solved on the emails! Nice to see terrible minds in my email box again.

  • My cousin Richie belongs to a gym where muscles are stretched through the skin and no arms lie flat against their sides. Your lemon reminded me of a story he told me about a female bodybuilder he fucked. He said she took steroids so her clit was an inch long. Holy shit! Did that lemon use ‘roids?

  • June 16, 2017 at 10:59 AM // Reply

    This is off the topic of booze, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE your “How to Tell if You are a Writer” algorithm. Please, put that on your merchandise page, so that we can order framed or unframed reproductions of it, or mouse pads, or even T-shirts!!!!

  • Yay! The Velvet Wendigo is Officially Official!

    I’ll have to give W.L. Weller a try. My go-to is also a wheated bourbon — Maker’s Mark. Occasionally I’ll get Knob Creek.

    • WL Weller has become oddly hard to find around here, sadly — apparently people buy it up soon as it lands on shelves. Thankfully I found a new bottle the other day, but I’d gone months without finding one!

  • Bourbon is definitely a summer drink for me (whisky in the autumn/winter), but I shall try your humble recipe the next time I have ginger syrup on hand (happens more often than one might think).

  • Used Bluecoat to play around with my version of a Floradora just this last week on vacation! Didn’t make raspberry syrup, used crushed berries and a splash of Chambord instead. Refreshing! (and not sweet, a bonus). Thanks for the recipe.

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