How to make the Happy Days cocktail from Wooden City in Chattanooga

Staff photo by Matt Hamilton / General Manager Dane Cramer serves up the Happy Days cocktail at Wooden City.

Cloudy, gray times will be a thing of the past after a few sips of the Happy Days cocktail from Wooden City on Broad Street in downtown Chattanooga.

The drink is named after an old bar in General Manager Dane Cramer's hometown, which was named Happy Days, Here Again. His recipe started out as a twist on two classic dive bar cocktails: the Salty Dog (gin or vodka with grapefruit juice and a salted rim) and the Paloma (tequila, grapefruit soda and lime juice). Wooden City also offers a non-alcoholic version of the drink, Here Again, on its zero-proof menu.

Complex yet well-balanced and refreshing, Happy Days is a yearround cocktail composed of elements that complement the tequila or mezcal without overpowering it, Cramer says.

The agave provides some sweetness, while the grapefruit adds acidity, tartness and bitterness. The hibiscus contributes a floral/tropical element, topped off with a little salt.

"If you get it with mezcal, there's even a little smokiness," Cramer adds.

He recommends the drink to fans of tequila or mezcal -- or anyone who wants to get into tequila or mezcal -- and anyone who likes margaritas, Palomas or floral or tropical-style drinks.

He says the cocktail pairs well with the restaurant's fresh burrata appetizer made with savory bread pudding, brown butter carrots, balsamic and pickled cranberries.

"It complements all the flavors the same way the cranberries do in the dish, with a little tart acidity and sweetness to balance out the other rich flavors," Cramer says, adding that the drink also goes well with the peel 'n' eat shrimp at happy hour.

What you need:

2 ounces tequila or mezcal

1 ounce hibiscus agave syrup*

1 ounce fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice

Splash of grapefruit soda

Pinch of pink flake salt

*For hibiscus agave syrup: Steep hibiscus flowers in hot water and agave, then strain.

What you do:

Add tequila or mezcal, hibiscus agave syrup and grapefruit juice into a shaker. Top with ice and shake hard. Strain into a tall glass over pebble or crushed ice. Top with grapefruit soda and add pinch of pink flake salt directly into the drink.

  photo  Staff photo by Matt Hamilton / General Manager Dane Cramer prepares the Happy Days cocktail in a shaker at Wooden City.