Before I tell you about this incredible bright and tropical beer cocktail, I’d like to encourage you to nab one of the very few remaining tickets for my first in-person cocktail class at Chef’s Paradise here in Ottawa, this Friday, June 24 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The theme is “Tipple’s Tea Party” and we’ll be shaking and stirring three original cocktails made with different varieties of Sloane Tea and the talented Chef Walid will be preparing three delectable food pairings to complement each drink. Tickets are $146 and include 2 hours of hands-on instruction, all ingredients and tools to craft 3 original tipples, and 3 food pairings.
The Passion Project is the final instalment of my recent series of beer cocktails and the third of those which appeared in my latest article for Ottawa Magazine. This shandy (a blend of beer with any nonalcoholic beverage) is made with the Even Downtown Pink Guava + Passionfruit Sour Ale from Ottawa’s own Spark Beer. I’ve leaned into the tropical flavours of this fruity ale by combining it with passionfruit juice, freshly squeezed lime juice, a spicy Thai chili syrup, reposado tequila, and a bouquet of fresh cilantro for garnish.
I’ve come to learn, thanks to many queries from my most avid followers, that passion fruit juice can be somewhat hard to come by. Rubicon makes a delightful option which seems to be available for home delivery via Instacart and I’ve had luck finding some locally at the Massine’s Independent Grocer at Bank and Somerset.
I had the opportunity to shake this up on my latest in-studio appearance on CTV Ottawa Morning Live and you can watch the action from start-to-finish in the clip embedded below.
Since this cocktail is called “Passion Project”, I thought I would share a little update on my passion project, Taste & Tipple. I still have my day job as Vice President, Sales & Marketing at a national market research firm and continue to find that work both stimulating and fulfilling. As you may have guessed, it is a bit of a juggling act managing the demands of my 9-to-5 with the commitments I’ve made to my audience, my brand partners, and myself in regularly creating beautiful, accessible, and informative content on my blog and social channels.
I am coming up on the 5-year anniversary of Taste & Tipple this September and that is kind of hard to process. If you have been following along closely, you may have read or heard me say that I was pretty close to throwing in the towel on the entire enterprise just before the pandemic. In February 2020, I’d been blogging for 2.5 years, I had yet to make a single dime off my efforts with Taste & Tipple, growth on Instagram was stagnant, and I wasn’t sure if the content I was producing was resonating with my audience.
Lo and behold, a global pandemic made landfall in Canada a few short weeks after I began to consider whether or not to continue with my passion project. On the first day of lockdown in Ontario, March 13th, 2020, I decided to host an impromptu cocktail tutorial on my Instagram Stories, demonstrating how to make a simple three-ingredient cocktail with items I thought many folks would have tucked away in their liquor cabinets – the El Diablo (tequila, cassis, lime, ginger beer).
On that fateful night, several folks made the cocktail and shared it to their own Stories, tagging me. A few kind followers sent me messages asking me to keep it up, and so I did. I began hosting Virtual Happy Hour six nights a week until I hit 100 episodes in July of 2020. I’ve since tapered back to a more manageable schedule of twice weekly – Tuesdays and Fridays at 5 p.m. Eastern. If you’d like to watch some of those early episodes of Virtual Happy Hour, I’d recommend subscribing to my YouTube channel.
Just two months after launching Virtual Happy Hour, I received my first paid partnership offer. Shortly thereafter, I started working with a business coach, my friend and fellow female entrepreneur Amanda Chen, founder of Salty Paloma. Though six months of working with Amanda, I learned how to better organize my time, pitch brands, articulate my unique value proposition as a creator, and take my business to the next level.
In 2020 I managed to get 9 days of my annual Let’s Get Blitzen: Cocktail Advent Calendar sponsored and in 2021, all 24 days were sponsored by a variety of spirits, home goods, and wine brands.
Last year I focused on establishing more passive streams of income by launching my Shopify store where you can purchase unisex t-shirts and sweaters embroidered with my iconography and cute sayings like those featured below:
I also launched my YouTube channel in hopes of one day amassing enough subscribers to derive ad revenue thanks to a loyal base of viewers keen to consume my cocktail content. I still have quite a lot of ground to cover in terms of subscribers and hours of watch time before I’m eligible for ad income on YouTube – so, please subscribe and tell your friends! I also introduced Google Ads to the blog, while working hard to preserve the user experience and avoid bombarding you with pop-up video ads that would make this site unnavigable.
In 2022, I’ve been lucky to be able to continue working with some of my initial brand partners while cultivating relationships with companies and products I’ve long adored. I’m also elated to have become a brand ambassador for Somm™ and more recently Bodies By Phil – a fantastic boutique gym here in Ottawa. Becoming a contributor for Ottawa Magazine has been a huge honour and I can’t wait to continue authoring stories about the fantastic food and drink our nation’s capital has to offer.
There is also a lot that happens behind the curtain that you don’t get to see, including my ongoing efforts to land a book deal, develop exclusive content for my Tastemade live-streaming hub, get a TV show, launch a line of cocktail syrups, just to name a few. If you or someone you know would be well-placed to help me in bringing any of these larger scale efforts to fruition, I’d welcome your support and would ask that you send me an email at email@example.com. I am certainly not too proud to ask for help and know that building a cocktail empire takes a village, that’s how the saying goes, isn’t it?
To summarize, I’d like to thank YOU, from the bottom of my heart, for your ongoing support and encouragement. If it weren’t for your comments, messages, emails, I probably would have thrown in the towel on this passion project a couple of years ago. Thank you for keeping me motivated, pushing me and my creativity to new heights, and for raising a glass with me.
The Passion Project is a shandy made with the Even Downtown Pink Guava + Passionfruit Sour Ale from Spark Beer in Ottawa. Combined with passionfruit juice, lime, Thai chili syrup, tequila and a bouquet of cilantro – this drink will transport you to a tropical paradise at first sip.