Story: Ann Ruppenstein Photos: @lilyfirephoto
Whether at home or 10,000 feet in the air, Calgary-based travel advisor Tannis Dyrland wants to take your cocktail game to the next level. The owner of Travel With Tannis has launched Mile High Cocktails — conveniently sized cocktail kits with ingredients to make specialty drinks on the go — designed to fit even a carry-on.
“Each kit contains the ingredients required to craft a specialty cocktail on the plane, in your hotel room or at your campsite,” Dyrland tells Travel Courier. “The only thing that is required is the alcohol, which is not provided in the kit, and each kit makes multiple drinks.”
During a time when the travel industry was at a standstill because of travel restrictions due to the global pandemic, Dyrland took charge of the situation by focusing on the future.
“This year for me has been a year of inspiration, staying inspired while working in an industry that had been less than inspiring,” she says. “In March I launched a project called the Fu*k-It list. It was meant to get people thinking, instead of continuously being told what you couldn’t do, what could you do instead. If you could dream it where would you go?”
From the Maldives to a seven-day adventure in Ireland, she created a list with 12 inspiring itineraries to keep the dream of travel alive.
“It proved to be a wonderful project and it got people talking. So staying within that inspiration I applied for the Alberta small business relaunch grant and I was fortunate enough to receive it,” she says. “My intention was to keep inspiring and to keep looking forward and so I decided to develop a travel product. This is a product that I had in my mind for a while, as over the years I have spent countless hours on airplanes consuming airplane drinks that were less than enchanting.”
There are four different kits available — which can also be purchased as a double combo pack — ranging from the namesake root beer inspired Mile High Cocktail to a classic Old Fashioned.
“I did a social media poll a few months ago to kind of get an idea as to what consumers enjoyed in their cocktails,” she says. “It came down to Moscow Mule and Old Fashioned as the winners. I knew I wanted to carry a couple of classics but I also knew I wanted to put my stamp on it and create my own. This is when the other two flavours were born. Inspired by my two favourite flavours — root beer and strawberry — I was able to craft something that I am very proud of.”
As an eternal optimist, Dyrland says it was incredibly challenging to maintain a positive spirit throughout the last 18 months but it inspired her to be creative as an outlet.
“Not one willing to sit and take a beating, I had to design the life that I wanted and that’s what I started to do in March of this year,” she says. “This industry is my heart and my business is my passion.”
And spirits aren’t the only thing getting a boost these days — so are bookings.
“Things now are going very well. There was an uptake in June and July in bookings and I was very busy as well as the agents that work for me definitely saw an uptick,” she says. “As summer went on and the US border remained closed, things certainly slowed. But it seems like we are in an upward trajectory again as people know winter is coming and they just want to have something on the books to look forward to. I have bookings to Mexico, Bora Bora and Europe… really spanning everywhere.”