Jordie Yow was already a cocktail enthusiast with an impressive home bar setup when he and Darcy Broatch began dating, and it wasn’t long before Darcy herself was hooked, with Jordie creating different drinks for her. A trip to Toronto for a friend’s wedding proved to be the catalyst for this East Vancouver couple – they visited BYOB Cocktail Emporium while in the Ontarian capital and, hooked on the place, joked about using the money they were saving to buy a house to open Vancouver’s version of BYOB instead.
In 2014 the house plans evaporated for good and Sips Cocktail Emporium became a reality – the couple began their business venture as an online shop. Fast forward a year to August 2015 and it became a physical store, located in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood amidst the hustle and bustle of East Broadway, with a BC Liquor Store situated in the Kingsgate Mall opposite – convenient, given that Sips sells absolutely everything a bartender (either home or professional) would ever need bar the alcohol itself.
Much love has gone into the venture, with the store itself rocking a sleek, pared-back style awash with white walls, spotlights and wood flooring beneath attractive shelving loaded with carefully-curated goodies. Both Jordie and Darcy are passionate about furthering the cocktail experience in Vancouver and see Sips as ‘a resource of tools, tips and techniques’. They have created the perfect place for people to drop by and spend time browsing and chatting to the knowledgeable owners.
Geared towards cocktail aficionados who love to create special drinks at home, Sips has a broad range of items for sale and contains something a little bit different – or special – for that special person. Cocktails shakers in gold, stainless steel crocodile skin or wood finish, various jiggers, cork pullers and bottle openers, Absinthe spoons and a vast selection of bitters and syrups line the walls and counters here, while books, eighteen piece tool rolls (bound in leather) and beer or gin kits mean home bartenders can get straight to work fixing drinks for family or friends. Specialist products are many and varied, with a fabulous selection of vintage and hard-to find items such as Himalayan Salt Shooters, a Beer Tasting Flight Bat that comes with four glasses, and even – they really have thought of everything – a Wine Rack for your bicycle.
Sips contains lots of products from local companies such as Cahoots and Bittered Sling, meaning money and trade are finding their way back into Vancouver’s liquor scene. Jordie and Darcy’s enthusiasm for cocktails and home bartending are now a huge part of that scene, having successfully translated it into a business they have fun running and which is great fun to visit.
Sips Cocktail Emporium339 E Broadway, Vancouver, BC
Monday: Closed, Tuesday – Friday: 12:00pm – 8:00pm, Saturday – Sunday: 10:00am – 5:00pm