The holidays are all about tradition and cocktails are no exception. From eggnog and mulled wine to hot buttered rum, festive punches and Martinis, there are plenty of beverages to ring in the season.
We decided to look for some less-traditional sips and turned to the Miracle and Sippin’ Santa holiday-themed pop-up cocktail bars. Miracle and Sippin’ Santa partner with some of the best cocktail bars across the U.S. to bring their holiday concepts to life from Nov. 22 to Dec. 31, with decorations, music and, of course, specialty cocktails.
Here are a few of this year’s faves from some of the pop-up participants. While they wouldn’t reveal the proprietary recipes, they did share the ingredients to give you some ideas for creating your own holiday specials.
WHO: Seamus Caffrey, beverage director of Miracle on Main (aka 158 on Main) in Mooresville, NC.
WHAT: The SanTaRex, with blanco tequila, mezcal, melon liqueur, almond orgeat, lime, Tiki bitters.
WHY: To me, the holidays are all about finding the comfort and nostalgia of the familiar and traditions, and opening a gift that is new! The SanTaRex is a fun way to rediscover tequila and Midori, the green melon liqueur. This one is a delicious take on a classic Midori Sour that has some fun forgotten spirits, and is like opening an exciting new present!
WHO: Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, partner in Sippin’ Santa at Latitude 29 (aka Beachbum Berry’s LAtitude 29), the first and original Sippin’ Santa location, in New Orleans.
WHAT: The Azul Navidad, with tequila, mezcal, lime, cream of coconut, blue Curaçao, hazelnut liqueur, pineapple rum.
WHY: My favorite new cocktail this year is the Azul Navidad, because not only does it pair flavors and aromas from your tropical vacation and your Christmas vacation—the mash-up that Sippin’ Santa is all about—but introduces a Latin vibe as well through tequila and mezcal.
WHO: Amanda McBride, general manager at Miracle at The Kimpton Marlowe Hotel (aka Bambara Kitchen & Bar) in Cambridge, MA.
WHAT: The Snowball Old Fashioned, with rye, gingerbread, aromatic bitters, wormwood bitters, orange essence (shown atop).
WHY: The Snowball Old Fashioned is my tried and true holiday favorite. It’s been popular with our guests of Miracle at the Marlowe since we started participating five years ago.
The dramatic impact of using a real snowball plus the gingerbread cookie flavors make this an instant holiday classic. One that guests ask for again and again. It also puts guests in such a festive spirit that they just start singing Christmas carols when they’re drinking this Old Fashioned. What’s not to love about that?!
WHO: Tony Coxum, bar manager, Sippin Santa at The Grass Skirt (aka The Grass Skirt) in San Diego.
WHAT: The Sippin’ Santa, with aged Demerara rum, amaro, lemon, orange, gingerbread mix.
WHY: Sippin’ Santa is my favorite holiday cocktail. The rum, amaro and ginger blend so well with the citrus, and it comes in the most iconic mug.