Booze and VD

Photo: Courtney “Coco” Mault

It is a quarter to Valentine’s Day. Some would say that Valentine’s day is the time to celebrate love in all its forms. I love booze. Know what I don’t like, the way that booze is marketed sometimes.

Let’s get this out of the way. I received a sample of Wybo Vodka made from rye. I quite like the flavour. It goes against the idea of the neutral spirit idea of vodka. It is best served cold and neat, sipped. It came with some suggestions for a cocktail and a Valentine’s write up.

If we stopped there, this would continue to be an article about some fun cocktails and a bit of humour. Innocous at worst and entertaining at best. Then I took a bit of a harder look at the ask. Here are the cocktails.

Hers: Chamble

40 mL Wyb

30 mL lemon juice

20 mL simple syrup

10 mL raspberry liqueur=

Mix everything except the liqueur in an Old Fashioned, stir and top with crushed ice. Lace the raspberry liqueur over the ice and trickle down into the glass. Garnish with two raspberries.

His: Northside

50 mL Wybo

30 mL lime juice

20 mL simple syrup

8 mint leaves

Pour it all into a shaker and shake. Double strain into pre-chilled Martini glass. To simplify leave out the mint. This is a Vodka Sour. Garnish with one mint leaf.

Okay. These are fine cocktails. Not the issue. Booze and “romance” have a complicated “relationship”. A little alcohol can ease a social situation and bring courage but it has been known to be used as an excuse for bad behaviour and beyond. It always surprises me when distillers and distributors continue to use this idea as a reason to drink. Always the party but never the drunks. Even when showing couples, there is never any weirdo issues like consent, walks of shame or murky memories of cloudy judgement calls. We have all made bad decisions after a drink or some.

There is a whole bunch of memes around slut shaming, how much alcohol to turn some one gay or needing alcohol to get laid. I’m not humorless but using sex to sell alcohol is a little trite and boring.

Selling drinks by who is going to drink them based on sex or gender is a little weird. Fruity drinks for girls and gays. Funny but true thing is that most women I know drink wine over beer. That is a higher ABV and that means they are the champs instead of the guys shotgunning PBR or whatever other beer there is. I rarely hear about overly macho women brawling in the street and ending up running from a drunk and disorderly call. I’m sure it happens but it is more likely that we think of other stereotypes.

I’m not going all third wave feminist and saying that this is structural sexism and has to be resolved at once. With the idea of the post capitalist marketing still ensuring the continued subjugation and oppression of women by making them yet another product to be sold to, this is more important than Pussy Riot or equality issues… I could but really, the issue is that lazy is easier. Tropes and short forms are understood. Girl meets boy. Drinks followed by romance or something that passes and that is the end. Been done. Take a bow. Job done. Next holiday.

I’m interested in the other side of this equation. Let’s talk about non typical Valentine’s Day drinks. His and his, hers and hers, poly and those that are alone. Here are some drink suggestions still using that vodka because I liked it quite a bit.

Hers and Hers

In celebration of all those women who do not need three or more drinks … ah never mind. That is such a lame idea. The women I know love a good stiff martini. Here is something I like to call the Canadian Martina.

2 oz Wybo vodka, chilled

splash of Crown Royal Northern Harvest rye

Chill a martini glass with a bit of ice. Splash the Crown Royal (best whisky in the world this year) into the glass. Now, depending on how dry you like your martini, you have some options. Pour out the rye. I would suggest into your mouth or keep it in for a wetter experience. Add the vodka and enjoy. The rye amps up the already spicy taste and the Crown Royal is quite… unoffensive.

His and His

In Quebec and out east there is this great thing called a cloudberry. It is an exotic fruit that tastes like a funky raspberry or blackberry. Chicoutai is the name of a liqueur made from this fruit. If you can find it get it. If not, any aggressive and slightly fruit liqueur could be used. This is a take on the Adam & Eve that uses sour apple. The name is a nod to anti gay marriage activists, Adam & Steve . Forbidden fruits, indeed!

1.5 oz (shot) Wybo Vodka

.75 oz (1/2 shot) Chicoutai liqueur

Splash lime juice

Add ice to an old fashioned glass  (or a mason jar). Put in some crushed ice. Add all the stuff. Stir and put in your drink hole.

Poly Punch

Perfect for three. Have a large vessel with ice and get two friends who you fancy. One brings vodka, one some pop and the third the fruit juice. Add each to the vessel. Maybe have some bitters available. This is so far out of the main stream we dare not give it a name. Here is one suggestion for a really good mix.

1 part Ocean Spray Blueberry Cocktail

1 part Wybo Vodka

1 part Canada Dry ginger ale

To taste, Dillon’s Ginger Bitters

Add all to the bowl. Dish out and enjoy.

I feel that singles get left out during these times. Sometimes it is a choice, sometimes it is not. Here is a notional drink done two ways depending on your situation.

The Single

1.5 oz (shot) Wybo vodka

drops of saline solution

drops of liquid smoke in water

Take a tumbler and add super chilled vodka. Using a pipette and delicate refined tastes, add salt. Add smoke. Sip and enjoy the delicate balance of bitterness and refinement. Vodka is often served in its natural environment with smoked and/or salted fish. Enjoy this experience without the concern for the bad breath it may bring.


Onan the Barbarian

1 bottle vodka – who cares what brand



Take generous swigs while crying and inadvertently gasping and gulping the bitter tears of loneliness. Repeat until you end up self loving but passing out before it goes anywhere. Oh the humanity. Seriously, don’t drink and despair.

I hope you enjoy however you celebrate the mystery of love. It is more complicated and odd than we can imagine. I have tested all these recipes while writing this so any and all faults are mine.

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