#AroundYQR is a mini project where I’m highlighting some great coffee shops & local restaurants as suggested by you guys. See them all right here.

When I first started this series, I figured I’d be telling stories about local businesses.

The thing about a “business” is it’s simply a building without the people. And everywhere I’m going, this series is just introducing me to some amazing people here in Regina.

Malt City was, by far, the best example. In fact, part of me is tempted to stop right now (I won’t) because this is such a great story, I’m not sure I can top it.

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Being that human beings now have less attention span than a goldfish, I’m not wasting another sentence to talk about Malt City other than to say the architecture and vibe is amazing, you should check it out, and you can read more about it in this Leader Post article.

Instead, I want to focus my attention on a young bartender there named Thomas and how his story speaks to why Regina is the greatest city on the planet.

MaltCity-12I haven’t talked to Thomas in years. He used to work at OTV, a fantastic, local computer shop.

His beard was bigger and his hair longer, but he was still the same friendly guy.

But his passion wasn’t in computers.

While he went to school for it, he’s wanted to be a bar-tender since high school – he even taught himself “flair” (I call it bar-tender fancy flipping tricks, but “flair” is easier) for fun.

It’s just that computers seemed to be something that would pay the bills a little better.

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Yet the dream of becoming a bar-tender never died.

So when Malt City opened and there was a position up for grabs, he applied and started reading every book he could find on Amazon to help him hone the skill.

The manager at Malt said there was just something about his enthusiasm and passion that was contagious so they decided to give him a shot.

And boy, we should all be glad they did.

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When Thomas was bringing out my food, we quickly got chatting about Malt City, its history and what made it awesome.

In good Sasky-humble fashion, he didn’t want to just come out and say that he made amazing drinks, but his enthusiasm couldn’t be contained, and I quickly found out that 3 of his original creations were making it onto the menu. He was just beaming with pride.

He offered to make me one. Of course I said yes.

MaltCity-13It’s amazing when you find someone who is so passionate about something.

Now I’m not too much of a drinker and some of the terms and words he was using, I had no idea what they meant.

But the enthusiasm was contagious and I was just mesmerized watching him work, talk, and make this rose hip boulevardier – rose hip-infused Maker’s Mark, Campari, & Sweet Vermouth.

He infuses the rose hip concoction himself. That and many other crazy bottles of stuff he started showing me hiding under the counter at the bar. There seems to be no end to what he’s been dreaming up.

This drink was awesome.

Then he made me a special shot which tasted just a like a clear Mr. Freezie. Also, awesome – oh, and also completely sugar-free. He has some cool ways of working with stuff to make them sweet without sugar.

Here’s the kicker to all of this.

Not many places give someone a shot simply based on passion and enthusiasm. But we here in this province know that’s what really matters – not your background, resume, or pedigree.

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Yet I now love our city more to find that it’s given someone a platform for their passion to shine and they’re going to make their mark here.

So go to Malt City, tell Thomas I sent you, and raise a rose hip boulevardier to Regina and the opportunity we all have here.

You can find Malt City downtown on the corner of 11th Ave & Cornwall Street.

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