Happy Hour is a long-standing tradition in office culture and a reminder of how important the social aspect of the workplace is. Employers and employees alike look forward to that time when they can put their deadlines and responsibilities aside, let their hair down and relax together.
Table of Contents:
- Happy Hour and the Pandemic
- Surprise Happy Hour
- Staple Spirits And Their Delicious Decadents
- List of 15 Virtual Happy Hour Activities
- Rockoly’s Virtual Happy Hour
The History of the Happy Hour
Happy Hour’s history is rooted in the navy during the 19th century. And it had very little to do with brewskies and martinis. Instead, sailors looked forward to a time set aside for entertainment – usually a wrestling match or music show – which was eventually referred to as Happy Hour in the early 20th century.
When prohibition came to be in the 1920s, Happy Hour became a euphemism for covert drinking, and people would flock to the speakeasy for an hour before heading off to restaurants, where they couldn’t enjoy a cold one with their dinner. When prohibition ended, the concept stuck, and by the 60s, bars and taverns used it as a marketing tool, offering specials.
By this time, the after-work drink was typical and even found its way into the workday, particularly in the advertising industry. The three-martini lunch was a networking opportunity, but day drinking on the clock eventually lost popularity. Happy Hour, however, was here to stay.
Before the pandemic, many companies chose to hold Happy Hour onsite, and wine coolers, kegs, and mixers were found alongside the water fountain. The reasoning went beyond what was being consumed and was more about strengthened bonds. Employers also showed trust in their employees by offering an opportunity to make responsible choices while being offered the freedom to enjoy themselves.
Happy Hour and the Pandemic
The pandemic had the potential to end the Happy Hour tradition. But, while cocktail culture was taking a new form, especially as people became more health-conscious and wary of the perils of alcohol, the Happy Hour concept was keeping strong, evolving to accommodate the new way of thinking. Mocktails, conservative drinking, and a more hands-on approach, like working teambuilding into the mix, kept Happy Hour an office staple.
And then came 2020.
Fortunately for us, the pandemic happened when the virtual world was alive and well. The tech was already there, and it has been catapulted into our everyday lives, allowing us to stay connected even when we are apart. Happy Hour is no different.
Happy Hour can continue to thrive in a remote world. Rockoly has taken it a step further, offering not only a regular virtual Happy Hour, but a surprise virtual Happy Hour — complete with mixology workshops and cocktail creations, with the ingredients delivered upfront.
Mixology and the Surprise Virtual Happy Hour
Generally, people love a surprise, especially when it offers fun downtime with a twist. But, taking Happy Hour to the next level, a surprise virtual Happy Hour is a great team-building option that can boost morale and encourage connection. In addition, getting a trained mixologist to guide the process adds an element of adventure, and employees learn something while they are at it.
Mixology is a term used in cocktail culture. It is the art of mixing the perfect combination of spirits and flavors to create bespoke mixed drinks to suit every taste. It’s a lot more complex than simple bartending.
A mixologist studies the history of spirits and drink mixing and is a connoisseur of specialized ingredients and garnishes. They specialize in traditional cocktails, create their own recipes, and keep up with trends and local culture.
Staple Spirits and Their Delicious Decadents
Experienced mixologists host Rockoly’s surprise virtual Happy Hour and have 25 years of experience between them. Their bespoke cocktails are based on traditional spirits crafted into delicious, refreshing aperitifs.
Here are a few of the delightful concoctions created in their workshops:
With its history entrenched in the Caribbean, rum conjures images of beach retreats, sunshine, and the tropical scent of coconut and ocean breezes.
Distilled from sugarcane, plantation slaves in the Caribbean discovered that molasses could be fermented into alcohol during the 17th century. It was the drink of choice for British privateers, who traded the valuable commodity. When piracy took over, rum remained the drink of choice.
Rockoly Rum Cocktails
The Bahama Mama
Originating in the Bahamas, this refreshing delight is named for a famous dancer in the 1930s, who went by the stage name Bahama Mama. The delicious cocktail is rich in tropical flavors.
um is blended with pineapple and orange juice, coconut, grenadine, and crushed ice. This adult Slurpee will bring the beach to you, wherever you are.
Dark ‘N Stormy
Bermuda was known as the shipwreck capital of the world due to its unpredictable weather, legendary storms, and fearsome reefs. The drink was named in honor of the island and its maritime history. Served in a highball glass, a Dark ‘n Stormy is a blend of dark rum, ginger beer, and lime.
Most people associate the daiquiri with fresh strawberries and crushed ice, but that is only one variety of the versatile cocktail.
The drink originates from the village of Daiquiri in Cuba, where an American, Jennings Cox, threw together a rum punch for his guests when he realized he had run out of gin. So he threw rum, sugar, mineral water, and lime over ice, and the daiquiri was born.
The Midnight Daiquiri is a darker, slightly bitter variation that includes coffee liqueur and bitters.
Rockoly provides the best virtual Happy Hours in the business, surprise or no surprise! Click the button below to learn more about how we bring teams to life with drinks!
Gin gets its name from the Dutch word ‘genever,’ which was their name for juniper berries, the main ingredient in gin. Gin was originally created and distributed to treat gout and other ailments. British soldiers consumed gin during the Thirty Year’s War, and it gave them the ‘Dutch Courage’ that we speak of today. It made its way into British culture and was a drink enjoyed by aristocrats and colonials. Gin has recently had a complete makeover and is enjoyed as a trendy refreshment in gin bars around the world, with many infusions and flavors to enhance the versatile spirit.
Rockoly Gin Delights
The Gin Fizz was first mentioned in Jerry Thomas’s Bartender’s Guide in 1876. It gained popularity in America in the early 20th century and is proudly dubbed a New Orleans specialty. By the 1950s, the Gin Fizz was an international sensation. Created with gin, lemon juice, and sugar, then shaken with ice, a Gin Fizz is served in a tumbler with club soda.
A Negroni was first created in the 1920s when Count Negroni of Florence, Italy, ordered an Americano cocktail — Campari, sweet vermouth, and soda water — but requested a little more kick. So the bartender substituted the soda water with gin, and the Negroni was born.
The Bee’s Knees
The Bee’s Knees gets its name from two things. First, because it contains honey. Second, during prohibition, the slang term referred to something that was ‘the best.’ The Bee’s Knees a based on a classic Gin Sour (gin, sugar, and lemon), but the sugar is replaced with honey. Austrian, Frank Meier produced the first version of this popular cocktail when he was tending the bar at the Ritz in Paris during the 1920s.
‘Whisky’ is Gaelic (the Celtic dialect spoken in Scotland) for ‘uisge beatha,’ meaning ‘water of life.’ The art of distillation was brought to Scotland and Ireland over 1000 years ago. Grapes were not grown in the region, so it was adapted by fermenting mashed grains.
When King Henry VIII put an end to monasteries, monks, who had been the primary distillers, had to find other ways to make a living. They introduced distillation and whiskey to the public, and its popularity has grown ever since. Bourbon is an American variant created using corn instead of the grains used in the European variant.
Rockoly Whiskey Specialities
This classic drink can be traced back to the 1860s, but the British Navy enjoyed a close variant for many years before that. Fresh water was rare, and spirits were often used as a (not necessarily wise) substitute. Lemon and lime were added to help combat Scurvy, and sugar was added to improve the taste. The first record of a whiskey sour was found in the book The Bartender’s Guide: How to Mix Drinks in 1862.
A Gold Rush is a variant of a traditional Whiskey Sour. Sugar is substituted with honey, transforming the drink into a smooth, sweet sensation. First created at Milk & Honey, a famous New York watering hole, the drink gained popularity worldwide and is considered a pre-Prohibition classic. A classic Gold Rush is made with aged bourbon and a 1:1 mix of water and honey. A squeeze of lemon breaks the sweetness and adds a refreshing quality.
The Russian classic translates to ‘little water’, and it is the most popular distilled alcoholic drink worldwide. Made from the humble spud and other starchy plants, vodka can be traced back more than 1000 years. Initially, vodka was impure, but a purification method was eventually created using charcoal. Vodka made its way to North America after the first World War, and it has grown in popularity ever since.
James Bonds’ favorite drink is a simple mix of gin and vermouth, served with a twist of lemon or an olive. It is believed to have evolved from the Martinez; a cocktail served in the 1860s at a ferry stop tavern, frequented by those traveling to the town of Martinez in California.
The Moscow Mule originated in the USA in the 1940s. Vodka was stigmatized as a Russian drink and alcohol seller John Martin decided to take a chance and bring some into The States. He sat commiserating with a local tavern owner, as he could not sell a drop. It turned out that the tavern owner, Jack Morgan, had similar trouble selling his ginger beer. They decided to mix the two drinks, which turned out to be a huge success and paved the way for vodka’s popularity in the US.
15 Virtual Happy Hour Activities
A surprise virtual Happy Hour doesn’t need to involve cocktails. Ultimately, any spontaneous and fun activity will have the same impact. And it goes just as far when building team-spirit and fostering connections.
There are many unique ideas — some facilitated and some easy to implement yourself. Here are just a few to get you started.
Happy Hour Trivia
Everyone loves trivia. Even if you are terrible at it, it brings about a lot of laughs and healthy competition and is an excuse to have fun. Rockoly offers a trivia host to play with your team during virtual happy hours.
Answer fun cooking-themed questions alongside your team, responding as fast as possible to rack up points. The winner will love reminding everyone that they are the office champion for the next few weeks.
Is it a night out on the town? No, but it’s the next best thing when team members are halfway across the globe!
Who says Halloween can only be enjoyed in October? There is never a bad time for dress-up and ghoulish fun. Team members don their favorite cosplay costume or Halloween get up and meet up for an online event that won’t easily be forgotten.
Add to the spooky vibe with a Ghost Hunt in a Haunted Mansion. This guided virtual haunted house activity entails a 90-minute Zoom tour of the famous Winchester Mansion. It is an interactive experience, and participants look for clues, crack codes, and solve puzzles.
There are also a series of Virtual Haunted House Tours that explore spooky locations worldwide at any time of year.
Rockoly provides the best virtual Happy Hours in the business, surprise or no surprise! Click the button below to learn more about how we bring teams to life with drinks!
MTV Cribs: Fridge Edition
MTV Cribs hit the screens in 2000 and is still going strong. A camera crew follows a celebrity on a house tour as they point out features, cool belongings, and collections.
MTV Cribs: Fridge Edition is designed for the Surprise Virtual Happy Hour, so obviously on a less grand scale, but much more fun. Three team members are chosen to do a virtual tour of their kitchen as they ham up the commentary.
The final reveal is the inside of the fridge, and an active audience can add to the fun by cheering, shaming the wilted salad, and asking questions as one would ask a celebrity.
Something in Common
Something in Common is a quick ice breaker and the perfect start to your Surprise Virtual Happy Hour. Spit up into break-out rooms of about four or five people. Groups have three minutes to discover three unique things they have in common—the more obscure, the better.
For example, all members having brown eyes is not as impressive as all having a cousin named Bob. The teams then return to the general meeting and see which group discovered the most unique commonalities.
Werewolf requires careful listening and communication. Players are split into two groups – werewolves and villagers – and the goal is to ‘survive the night.’ The game involves many strategies, and the villagers need to determine who the werewolves are through a series of questions and voting.
However, it’s not as complicated as it sounds and requires very little prep. For complete instructions, check out this guide.
Drunk History: Office Edition
Drunk History: Office Edition is a fun, office-friendly take on the popular show, where historians and storytellers share historical events. The catch is that they are becoming more and more inebriated as they go, making for some interesting versions.
But, for your Surprise Virtual Happy Hour intoxication is not mandatory. There is plenty of room for laughter and faux pas, and participants are given a historical event that they have to relay as a story. The rest of the team act as fact-checkers as the storyteller can only speak from memory. No research is allowed.
Most Likely To
Remember your high school yearbook and how you voted who was most likely to succeed or end up in jail? In the game, ‘Most Likely To’, the team leader posts a few prompts, and the participants vote on which teammate they think fits the bill.
Some ideas for prompts:
- Who is most likely to know every word to Uptown Funk?
- Who is most likely to wind up on the news?
- Who is most likely to have the most tattoos?
- Who is most likely to have a book written about their life?
- Who is most likely to help you survive a zombie apocalypse?
- Who is most likely to believe in unicorns?
The possibilities are indeed endless — have fun coming up with your own questions!
To play, prepare a voting template with all team members’ names on it so that votes can be counted and displayed instantly. Those who receive the most votes can be issued a forfeit, such as taking a drink, doing a set of jumping jacks, singing a show tune – whatever suits your team’s personality.
You can get very creative here, as the forfeits tend to be what induces the most laughs.
Sweet Farm’s Goat 2 Meeting
This one is entirely random, but definitely highlights the term ‘surprise’ in the “surprise virtual Happy Hour.” Sweet Farm will supply your team meeting with an unexpected guest star – a goat.
That’s right. An actual goat.
Sweet Farm’s rescue animals have been bringing joy to virtual events for the last two years, and it is a huge hit. The fits of laughter just keep coming.
Days of Wonder
Days of Wonder is an online board gaming platform that offers an incredible variety of unique games that are perfect for a surprise virtual Happy Hour.
The beautiful graphics and unique game strategies are thrilling, and there is the perfect game available to suit everyone’s taste.
Skribbl is a drawing game based on the classic Pictionary. It built an enormous fanbase during the COVID-19 lockdowns, where people were challenging their friends.
Simply receive a word from the word generator, draw it with your mouse or finger, depending on your device, and see if your partner can guess what it is.
Colonist is a great online adaptation of Settlers of Catan. In this free world-building game, participants create settlements, develop infrastructure, and compete to build the best possible world using finite resources.
It can be ongoing, and your team can be split into smaller groups, making it a fun, competitive challenge.
GeoGuessr is a great way to check your team’s geography skills, but on a way more intense level. It drops you into locations on Google Maps, and you must pinpoint where you are on a world or city map.
Your points are calculated based on how close you get to the exact spot. You can zoom in, explore a bit and look for clues if you are stuck. It has a ‘host a quiz’ function that makes it easy to adapt for a surprise virtual Happy Hour.
Guess the song challenge
This app is an excellent way for your team to put their music knowledge to the test. It has a multiplayer setting, and teams can choose from 12 genres of music. It’s a great way for teams to share their music taste and open themselves up to new genres.
This can also be an ongoing challenge, and a leader board can be posted and updated.
Island-Themed “House Hunters”
For this activity, your team will become luxury real-estate agents. Participants scout the internet looking for three perfect island properties that they will market to the rest of the group. Assign each team a virtual budget and when presented with a property, they can pass or choose to buy.
Teams get points for the sales that they make.
Make it a little more challenging by letting teams draw up a list of features they are looking for upfront and tick them off as the property is revealed to them.
Why not induce some nostalgia and play old-school retro games? Super Mario Bros, Tetris, Street Fighter, Sonic the Hedgehog, and endless options. Have a good laugh with your team during your surprise virtual Happy Hour as you reminisce, educate the younger team members, and cringe at old tech.
Your Surprise Virtual Happy Hour should be fun, spontaneous, and designed to energize your team, breaking the habit of getting lost in work and forgetting to live.
We spend, on average, a third of our day at work, so it should count. Celebrate each other and the fun that can be had, regardless of the environment.
Rockoly’s Surprise Virtual Happy Hour
These delicious cocktails are just a few of the creations that can be whipped up in one of Rockoly’s Surprise Virtual Happy Hour workshops. And, again, if your team is not up for a surprise, then they have a regular Happy Hour too!
Through video conferencing, a live mixologist will guide your team through the creation of classic mixed drinks — encouraging connection, boosting morale, and spurring-on socialization. All ingredients needed for the Happy Hour workshop are delivered right to the doorstep of participating team members, making the most challenging part the easiest.
Ready to jump in with an online Happy Hour event?