Posts tagged liquor store saskatchewan
Don't Be Sour: Understanding The World Of Bitters
adam-jaime-119565-unsplash.jpg

Don’t be bitter, be better.

That’s an old saying that is often used in the world of sports, business and in life in general.

When it comes to our business, bitter is actually better, and for once I’m not talking about a big hoppy, bitter IPA. I’m talking about real bitters. 

Bitters are an ingredient used in many different cocktails, but have you ever wondered why bitters make a cocktail better?

Simply put, bitters are like seasoning for cocktails. Just like salt and pepper gives your food an extra kick, bitters do the same for many different cocktails. Their flavour is usually bitter (as the name suggests), sour, or bittersweet.

The history of bitters isn’t known for sure, but the earliest records of them can be traced back to as far as ancient Egyptians who are said to have made wine infused with medicinal herbs.

Bitters as we know them today were originally developed as medicine, but eventually the use of them as medicinal herbs wasn’t such a popular idea and they began to be sold as digestifs with herbal properties and cocktail flavouring. 

Bitters are typically made with cascarilla, cassia, gentian, orange peel and cinchona bark and historically have been know for their aromatic herbs, bark, root and fruit flavours. 

Bitters can be both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Bitters that have alcohol aren’t used for the effects alcohol creates but rather as an agent to dissolve botanical extracts and as a preservative. For example, in Europe and South America, bitters can often be served after a meal as a digestive, usually enjoyed on the rocks or neat. 

In North America, we tend to use bitters more in cocktails, most notably the famous cocktail, The Old Fashioned that’s made by mixing bourbon, ice, orange peel, and bitters.

At Happy Hour, we stock bitters from a variety of companies including Angostura. This particular bitter was originally developed in Venezula in 1830 but is now made in Trinidad and Tobago. Angostura is made up of herbs and spices in the gentian family of plant. We’ll never know what it’s actually made of as the recipe is a close family secret with only one person knowing per generation. Agnostura is often used in whisky or gin based cocktails. 

If you’re looking for something citrusy, we also carry Dashfire Orange, Lemon and Grapefruit Bitters in our mixology section. These bitters will add a nice fruity touch to any cocktail.

Finally, we also have a selection of bitters from Lucky Bastard Distillers out of Saskatoon. Lacey’s Betta Bitters is made using 11 different botanicals and are great in a Manhattan or Sazerac. Or if you want to get a little wild, try Bowman’s Bacon Bettah Bitters. Lucky Bastard used a single malt whisky base with bacon, Canadian maple syrup, and black peppercorns among other botanicals for a unique taste that is great in Caesars. 

So, now that you know a little more about bitters, how will you give them a try?

Beer 101: What is Malt?
beer.jpg

Have you ever looked at a pint of beer and wondered, how did the beer get to be that color? 

The answer is Malt. What exactly is malt? It’s short for malted grain. When it comes to brewing beer, all kinds of grain can be used to produce different results. Brewers typically use rye, oats, rice, corn, and barley. Barley being the most common malt of all. Each of these malts will change the flavor, mouthfeel, and sweetness of the beer. However, it’s most important job is to color the beer. 

Malt is made by taking the grain of choice, spreading it out over a wide area, and slowly soaking it for about a month and a half. By soaking the grain, it allows it to germinate, which is just a fancy term for growing. Malt producers stop the germination process by blasting the grain with some heat or roasting it. 

This is where things start to get interesting.

The color of the beer depends on how much you roast the malt. When malt is roasted for a short period of time, you will get a pale ale or lager, depending on what kind of yeast is used. These kinds of malts can be found in beers like the Rebellion Lentil Cream, Nokomis Golden Ale, and District Pilsner. 

When the malt is roasted for a bit longer, the beer turns more golden because it starts to extract the color from the gain. At this point, beer will go from golden in color to more of an amber or red-like color. The Rebellion Amber Ale, Cannery Brewing Anarchist, and Parallel 49 Salty Scott would use these kinds of malts. 

The longer malt is roasted, the darker the color they’ll produce. After the amber stage, malt will start to give more of a brown color like the Nokomis Brown Ale or the Fernie First Trax before turning into a dark beer like the Black Bridge Milk Stout or the Pile O’ Bones Peanut Butter Milk Stout.

You could say that malt is a really important ingredient in beer. In fact, most of the world’s malt is produced to make beer. However, malt is also a key ingredient in whiskey too. Between beer and whiskey, their ingredients are quite similar and that's why some people say that whiskey is just a grown-up version of beer.

So, cheers to malt! Without it, all of our favorite pints would just look like sparkling water. 

What's your favorite color of beer? Light, amber, brown or dark? 

Irish Whiskey: The Water Of Life
whiskey.JPG

One of our favourite days of the year, St. Patrick’s Day, is quickly approaching.

For one day a year, we put away the “kelly green” that this province loves for any shade of green we can get our hands on.

When it comes to St. Paddy’s Day, we all know the all-time favourites: Guinness, Jameson, Bushmills. All quality drinks that come from the Emerald Island but the options to celebrate one of the Western world’s oldest countries are getting better all of the time.

That’s especially true in the world of whiskey where Irish whiskey has been experiencing a revival over the last decade or so. There was a time when whiskey distilled in Ireland, specifically Dublin, dominated the world. Over 120 years ago, Ireland boasted some 30 different distillers but over time that number dwindled to just three. The smoky flavours of Scotland and the sweeter flavours of American bourbon had taken over the world. 

Since the turn of the century, that trend has slowly been reversing as Ireland’s whiskey business is starting to boom again, as Irish Whiskey has actually been one of the world's fastest-growing spirits. There are currently 18 distilleries operating in Ireland as of last summer with just about as many planning to open in the near future. At the moment, only six have actually been open long enough to sell their whisky as, similar to Canada, Irish whisky must age for at least three years to be considered whiskey. 

As whiskey recovers in Ireland, we’re starting to reap the benefits here in Canada as more bottles start to make their way across the Atlantic to our shelves. At Happy Hour, we got our hands on a couple of bottles that represent the new wave of Irish Whiskey. 

Teeling Whiskey’s history dates back to the old days of Irish whiskey. The Teeling family were whiskey masters as far back as 1798. It wasn’t until 2012 that the current generation re-opened the family business with its current name not too far from their original distillery in Dublin. It was the first new distillery in Dublin in 125 years. After aging their whiskey for the required three years, Teeling was finally able to open their doors in 2015 offering up a new twist on the classic. 

They are most famously known for their “small batch” whiskey, which you can find at Happy Hour, that is aged in rum barrels sourced from Central America. By aging in rum barrels, it adds a little extra sweetness and smooths out the whiskey. 

About an hour south of Dublin lies the Glendalough Distillery. Glendalough was opened by five friends who wanted to help bring the Irish whiskey industry back to life. Glendalough gets their name and logo from 518 A.D. with the story of St. Kevin who lived in and protected the Glendalough area. Everything they produce ties into his story in one way or the other. They have a really cool video on it here

At Happy Hour, we carry their double barrel whiskey that’s been aged in bourbon oak barrels giving it a sweeter taste with hints of toasted vanilla before being moved to Sherry barrels to add hints of dark, dried fruits, and a slight nutty flavour. 

There’s certainly no wrong way celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but if you’re looking for something new the time has never been better.