JJ’s Wine, Spirits & Cigars: 2018 in review, plus cocktails to suit your New Year’s celebration

Dec. 28, 2018

This paid piece is sponsored by JJ’s Wine, Spirits & Cigars.

It has been a big year of change for JJ’s Wine, Spirits & Cigars at 3000 W. 57th St.

From moving into a new location, adding The 3.0 Cocktail Bar, The Boozy Bakery at JJ’s, and taking beverage services for events to another level, 2018 will be remembered as probably the biggest year in the history of the 20-year-old, locally owned, premium adult-beverage retail store.

We sat down with JJ’s owner, Tom Slattery, to get his insight on this year of change, and what to look forward to in 2019.

What has been the biggest challenge in 2018 for JJ’s and your team?

Finding the pace. Ever since we moved, it has been nonstop, and finding the pace has been the biggest challenge. We knew we were going to be busy, but we never expected the level of excitement that our current and new wave of customers have shown.

Speaking of new customers, how are people responding to the problems you are having with your JJ’s VIP Rewards Program?

Speaking of challenges, right? Well, it’s been impressive to see how many people are still interested in signing up for a program that technically doesn’t exist. We are just offering our best discount to VIP members, since quantity discounts are illegal now, and we are banking the rewards portion until we get things straightened out with the Department of Revenue. It may take legislative action, but we are confident it will get worked out. And not just for us, but for our colleagues in the industry as well. These new interpretations of existing rules affect everyone, not just us.

You also added ax-throwing to your array of entertainment services at the former JJ’s on Western Avenue. How’s that going?

It’s going well. Dylan and the team of “Axeperts” at JJ’s Axes & Ales (4810 S. Western Ave.) are really providing a first-class entertainment experience for our guests. From the second you walk in the door, you feel a sense of something different and exciting, and the people we have working there are the ones providing that excitement. You can throw axes a couple of places in town now, but you won’t get the same experience as what we provide at Axes & Ales.

We started this year talking about boozy baking. You had some legislation passed there too to help you and other businesses deal with archaic rules. What’s new there?

Jean and her team are having a blast. The kitchen we built for The Boozy Bakery at JJ’s is accommodating their needs quite nicely, and the reviews they are getting on the goods are outstanding. We are working on a few changes to the facilities to improve the efficiency of the kitchen and to also add more food to The 3.0 Cocktail Bar offerings. We added house-made personal-sized pizzas a couple of weeks ago to go along with our house-made dips and cheese and meat platters. People really enjoy the on-site food options, even if it’s just a small snack.

The 3.0 Cocktail Bar is doing some pretty exciting things too. What do you guys have planned for New Year’s Eve?

Honestly? Nothing. Paul and I discussed the idea of doing something here, but both decided that it was best to end the year with our families, so we are closing at 9 p.m. After 20 years of doing this, there are two things we know for sure: It is our biggest foot-traffic day of the year, and most people have been in to get what they need by then and are settled in for the long haul.

So we decided to end the year with a happy staff instead of making everyone work till the wee hours. That being said, we do have some pretty awesome drink ideas for those looking for something different to ring in the new year. And these are all based on how your year went:

2018 was awesome: So I’m drinking Garibaldi

  • 1.5 oz/45 ml Campari
  • Fresh Orange Juice

Blend freshly squeezed orange juice on high for 20 seconds to aerate and froth the juice. Combine Campari and orange juice to taste in a wine glass with ice. Garnish with a dehydrated orange wheel.

2018 sucked: So I’m drinking a rum Old Fashioned

  • 2 oz/60 ml Mount Gay XO Rum
  • 2 tsp/10 ml 1:1 Demerara Sugar Syrup
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • 1 dash Bittermens ‘Elemakule Tiki Bitters

Stir all ingredients together in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass with ice and garnish with a lime peel.

2018 was OK, but I’m looking forward to 2019: So I’m drinking Cuba Reforme

  • 2 oz/60 ml Sipsmith Sloe Gin
  • 0.5 oz/15 ml Lime Juice
  • Coca-Cola

Combine all ingredients in a Collins glass with ice, finishing with cola. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Thanks for taking the time to chat. Anything else you want to add?

I keep going back to the support we have gotten from the community, and I can’t thank everyone enough. From our new and old customers to our corporate partners, Jean and I are overwhelmed with gratitude. All I can say for 2019 is: Watch out. There are more big things cooking, and we can’t wait to share! Of course, you and your team at SiouxFalls.Business will be the first to know!

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JJ’s Wine, Spirits & Cigars: 2018 in review, plus cocktails to suit your New Year’s celebration

It’s been an incredible year for JJ’s Wine, Spirits & Cigars! We look back and ahead with them, plus have ideal cocktails for you to ring in 2019 no matter how 2018 treated you.

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