Posts tagged speciality liquor
Happy Hour's First Birthday

I can’t really wrap my head around the fact that it’s almost been one year since we opened the doors here at Happy Hour.

It honestly feels like yesterday that Allen, Denise, Lyndsey and I (Joel) gathered for the first time in late April last year and started stocking the shelves in the store. It was an exhausting exercise that took a few days to get done. The wine, my goodness, I’ll never forget how long it took to stock the store with the best selection of different wines from around the world. In the end, it’s certainly been more than worth it. 

Thursday, May 11th, 2017 was the day the doors officially opened. Were we ready? In all honesty, probably not. That being said, what we learned that day and over the next few days couldn’t have been replicated in training, it was time to jump in feet first and kind of figure this thing out as we go. 

Being the small business that we are meant that we had no system to plug into.  We didn’t have research teams that knew exactly what we should stock right away, many things we stocked when we opened have left and will never return. With products, it's still a bit of an experimentation game, see what works and what doesn't so that we can provide something that everyone loves. 

Our family has expanded and continues to grow from humble beginnings continues into something we could never have imagined a year ago. Some of us have stepped up into new roles and others have taken the lead in providing a memorable customer service experience. We even have a sister store, A&D Fresh Market, that has been an overwhelming success in a short period of time. 

As much as things have changed over our first year, there are certain values we won’t waver on. First and foremost, we want to make sure that you have the best experience possible every time you step through our doors, whether you’re looking for a case of beer or need advice on what to buy for a special occasion.

No customer is more important than another. We will always be working hard to bring in the newest and best products that you can't find anywhere else. Lastly, we will never forget where we started from. We will continue to support Pilot Butte and area in any way that we can. We want to be a part of the community, not just a business in town. 

Cheers to one year and cheers to what’s next! 

Better Ingredients, Better Cocktails: Part One
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Better ingredients, better pizza...oh wait, sorry, that’s Papa John's Pizza slogan.

When it comes to cocktails, the idea is the same. The better stuff is going to give you a better drink. Whether you’re simply making a rum and coke, a Caesar or something more complex, higher quality ingredients are always going to make a better drink. That’s true for both mix and alcohol (we’ll get into the latter next week).

We’ll start with what is probably considered Canada’s favourite cocktail, the mighty Caesar.

Most of us are content on grabbing on a bottle of the standard clam, or maybe a flavoured one if we really feel like mixing it up and all of the other necessary ingredients and get to work. There’s nothing wrong with that, but in recent years, the options available to Caesar lovers have never been better. Not only have major producers, like French’s come up with their own alternatives but so have smaller players.

At Happy Hour, we proudly stock Walter Craft Caesar Mix. What makes Walter’s special is their all-natural recipe, no MSG, and no added corn syrups. Many of these ingredients are found in some of the major alternatives. Their mix is made in small batches and is also Ocean Wise recommended. The added benefit? Everything is already included in the bottle. No need to add any Worcestershire sauce or any other spices, unless, you like your Caesar really spicy.

If a gin and tonic is more up your alley, fret not, we got your back. Not only have we grown our gin selection considerably, but we offer up a wide variety of tonics to spruce up this old English classic.

Currently, we stock a few different varieties of Fever-Tree Tonic including their Elderflower, Premium Indian and Mediterranean Tonic. Like Walter’s, Fever-Tree believes in only offering the best, naturally-sourced ingredients in their bottles. Fever-Tree launched in 2005 and was named after the Cinchona Tree's nickname, "Fever Tree" that produces a key ingredient in tonic called quinine. The best quinine is found near the Rwanda/Congo border. 

Whisky or rum lover? There are options for you too. Most notably the Fentimans Curiosity Cola and the Bruce Cost Ginger Ale. Both of these classic soft drinks take on a different twist for a taste that cannot be missed.

The options to reinvent the taste of classic cocktails don’t end with what’s been mentioned in this blog. We have an entire mixology section filled with all kinds of different craft products to help take your home bartending game to the next level. If you need it, we got it. If we don’t, we can probably get our hands on it for you.

The second half of the perfect cocktail? The booze. Check back next time as I delve into some of the new, different spirits available to make your favourite drink even better.

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