The explosion of festive Christmas pop-up bars continues this season with the always popular Miracle concept now topping 100 locations across the United States, Canada and six other countries. Meanwhile, Tiki enthusiasts have even more holiday cheer in store for them as Beachbum Berry’s Sippin’ Santa, a sister concept to Miracle helmed by the esteemed tropical cocktail guru, has quickly doubled its nationwide reach.
Beachbum Berry Presents Sippin’ Santa, which started in 2015 as a Tiki companion to Miracle in New York City, has now spread to 28 venues across North America, including Berry’s bar and restaurant, Latitude 29 in New Orleans.
Miracle and Sippin’ Santa locations are opening in late November and running through New Year’s Eve. Individual locations may have different start and end dates, as well as daily and weekly hours. Check with the bars in your area for details.
The Miracle concept is the brainchild of Greg Boehm of Cocktail Kingdom (at the suggestion of his mother) and dates back to the “Miracle on Ninth Street” pop-up at his Mace bar in New York City in 2014. Miracle expanded to four bars in 2015, then went worldwide in 2016 under the leadership of general manager Joann Spiegel. Last year there were more than 80, a surge from around 50 the year before.
Berry is a longtime collaborator with Boehm, who published the author’s last two books as well as a nifty line of Tiki barware. Named one of Imbibe magazine’s 25 most influential cocktail personalities of the past century, Berry joined forces with his Latitude 29 general manager and head bartender Brad Smith to create a menu of holiday-themed Tiki cocktails that will be the star of the show all Sippin’ Santa locations.
Many of our favorites are back on this year’s Miracle menu: Bad Santa, Christmas Carol Barrel, Christmopolitan, and Yippie Ki Yay Mother F****r! Be aware that most of the cocktails have seen updates, large and small, by Miracle mixologist Nico de Soto. The Barrel is now a tequila drink featuring Mexican spices and liqueurs including coffee, orange and cognac. One new cocktail has been added: SanTaRex featuring rye whiskey and served in a nifty Tyrannosaurus Rex mug. There’s also a new shot, Mistletoe, featuring rye and gingerbread spices.
But we’re even more excited to get our first taste of the nine exclusive Sippin’ Santa cocktails, created by Berry and Smith. Who doesn’t want to try these soon-to-be Tiki holiday classics?
Christmas Eve of Destruction (overproof dark rum, lime juice, nutmeg syrup, Bénédictine, Angostura bitters)
Don & Victor (Martinique & Jamaican rums, Italian bitter aperitif, sweet vermouth, D&V Batter, nutmeg)
Festivus Flip (bourbon, Demerara rum, ginger-infused amaro, pomegranate, egg)
Jingle Bowl (Jamaican & Demerara rums, apple brandy, amaro, lemon juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, maple & cinnamon syrups, Angostura bitters)
Kris Kringle Colada (dark Jamaican rum, amaro, allspice dram, lime juice, pineapple juice, cream of coconut)
Papa Noel (blanco tequila, apricot brandy, lime juice, pineapple juice, orgeat, cardamom bitters)
Rudolph Shoots the Curl (herbal mint liqueur, amaro, dark chocolate liqueur)
Shaka Kalikimaka (London dry gin, allspice dram, orange & cognac liqueur, lime juice, falernum, cranberry syrup, Herbsaint)
Sippin’ Santa (aged Demerara rum, amaro, lemon juice, orange juice, gingerbread mix)
* Download sample menu (PDF)
Berry credits Smith with creating most of the signature drinks. “He riffed off of the flavors traditionally linked with the holiday season, such as gingerbread, cranberry, baking spices, and candied orange,” Berry said in a November 2018 story on The Rum Reader. “Then he fused these with traditional tiki drink building blocks: lime, rum, coconut, and Caribbean flavors.”
All cocktails are served in custom Miracle and Sippin’ Santa glassware from Cocktail Kingdom – including festive mugs, coupes, highball and rocks glasses. Most are available for purchase only at the respective locations, and 10 percent of sales is donated to Action Against Hunger. We’ve got our sights set on the Surfin’ Santa mug and the Tiki Tub bowl.
Both concepts typically pop up in existing bars and restaurants, though that isn’t always the case. Last year’s Miracle on Rosemary in downtown West Palm Beach, our most frequent haunt, took over a vacant space and will do the same this year. Here’s a breakdown on this year’s lineup:
BEACHBUM BERRY PRESENTS SIPPIN’ SANTA
Click here for all the locations
2019 total: 25 locations in 17 states plus three in Canda.
* The longest-running remains the original, dubbed Sippin’ Santa’s Surf Shack, at New York City’s Boilermaker.
* It’s no suprise that the populous (and Tiki crazy) states of California, Florida and Texas lead the pack with three locations each.
* Strong Water in Anaheim, Calif., timed its grand opening to concide with the launch of Sippin’ Santa.
* Most of the venues are non-Tiki bars, allowing more of a clean slate for the over-the-top decor. Among the exceptions are Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 in New Orleans; The Jungle Bird in Sacramento, Calif.; The Grass Skirt in San Diego; and Archipelago in Washington, D.C.
>>>>> Florida locations:
* Sippin’ Santa at Avanti Palms: 6515 International Drive, Orlando (Avanti Palms Resort and Conference Center).
* Sippin’ Santa on Las Olas: Flight 19, 1103 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale.
* Sippin’ Santa on South Beach: Minnow Bar at Kimpton Angler’s Hotel, 660 Washington Ave., Miami Beach.
While the drinks, glassware and overall vision are required to stick very close to the theme (exactly like Miracle), each location is encouraged to go wild with their own over-the-top decor. At the Latitude 29 flagship, under the leadership of Berry’s wife and partner, Annene Kaye, everything is taken to the extreme. According to head bartender Smith: “Imagine if Christmas were to throw up inside of a bar. It’s really chaotic at first glance but in reality very ordered. It’s really astounding,” he told Neat Pour.
Berry is quoted in the same story as saying he enjoys seeing what all his namesake outposts come up with. “The most fun part for me is seeing how they interpret it,” he said. “I love visiting and seeing the Instagram posts.” You can hear one bar owner, Nickel City’s Travis Tober, talk about the process on Marooned: A Texas Tiki Podcast.
Click here for all the locations
2019 total: 94 locations in 38 states plus 14 spread across Canada, Europe, Asia, and Central America.
* There are now 14 Miracle pop-ups outside the U.S., including seven in Canada, plus the U.K., Mexico, Panama, New Zealand and Switzerland. The most far-flung is Miracle on Victoriei at Linea/Closer to the Moon in Bucharest, Romania.
* States with the most Miracle outposts are Florida (10), California (9), Texas (7), New York (5), Missouri (4), New Jersey (4), and Washington (4).
* By far, New York City has the most Miracle bars per capita with five spread across its boroughs, from Brooklyn to Manhattan to Long Island. This includes the original, Miracle on Ninth Street, which is now hosted by The Cabinet, also owned by Cocktail Kingdom’s Boehm and his partners. Early this year, they moved Mace to a bigger space in the East Village, which now hosts Miracle on 12th Street.
* Atlanta, Kansas City and New Orleans are each blessed with two Miracle pop-ups.
* Miracle has arrived in New Orleans for the first time, taking over craft cocktail bars Barrel Proof and Longway Tavern.
>>>>> Florida locations:
* Miracle on Palafox: Old Hickory Whiskey Bar, 123 S. Palafox Place, Pensacola.
* Miracle on the Square at Grape and Grain Exchange: 2000 San Marco Blvd., Jacksonville.
* Miracle on University: Madrina’s, 9 W. University Ave., Gainesville.
* Miracle at Hard Rock Daytona Beach: 918 N. Atlantic Ave.
* Miracle on Orange: The Courtesy Bar, 114 N. Orange Ave., Orlando.
* Miracle at Mezzo: Intermezzo Coffee & Cocktails, 1111 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.
* Miracle on Delray Beach: Death or Glory Bar, 116 N.E. Sixth Ave.
* Miracle on Las Olas: Java & Jam, 301 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale.
* Miracle at Wynwood: Shirley’s at Gramps, 176 N.W. 24th St., Miami.
* Miracle on Rosemary: 550 S. Rosemary Ave. #260, West Palm Beach (Rosemary Square).
Besides Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Miami, other hotspots that include both Sippin’ Santa and Miracle locations are: Ashville, Atlanta, Austin, Anaheim, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Kansas City, Nashville, New Orleans, New York City, Phoenix, Seattle, St. Louis and Washington, D.C. Canadians can also double their pleasure in Calgary, Ottawa and Toronto.
Death Or Glory in Delray Beach remains South Florida’s flagship Miracle outpost. After expanding to a second location in West Palm Beach, the ownership team of Ayme Harrison, Annie Blake, Isaac Grillo and April DeVona has upped the ante this year. Miracle On Rosemary returns to the trendy downtown Rosemary Square entertainment and shopping district, moving to a new location. Unlike most Miracle pop-ups, which take over exisiting bars, the Rosemary Square location was once again built from the ground up in a vacant space, which can be a monumental task.
If that’s not enough, Death Or Glory is partnering with Java & Jam to bring a Miracle bar to Fort Lauderdale for the first time. Located along Las Olas Boulevard – the downtown’s signature bar, restaurant and shopping district – Mircacle on Las Olas is within walking distance of Sippin’ Santa at Flight 19. With Miami also featuring one of each, the greater South Florida market now includes four Miracles and two Sippin’ Santas, a welcome gift for the region’s holiday season.
It will be fun to get our first taste of Sippin’ Santa this year. It’s always been more exclusive than Miracle, and the theme definitely tickles our fancy even more than Miracle. Not many know that Sippin’ Santa didn’t start at Latitude 29, but at Boehm’s Boilermaker in New York City in 2015. It then expanded both to Berry’s New Orleans haunt was well as Lost Lake in Chicago (2016). The concept launched nationally with 11 last year, then added 17 more this year.
It’s as clear as Rudolph’s nose that Christmas pop-ups have become a cottage industry. There are now a total of 136 Miracle and Sippin’ Santas around the world. Many bars also create their own festive concepts. It makes for a fun change of pace for Tiki bars, such as Jingle Bell Square at Lost Lake, and Mele Kalikimaka Tiki Holiday at The S.O.S. in Atlanta. According to Eater, the Atlanta area had eight holiday bars last year, some with ice rinks and igloos. This year, New York City boasts at least 14 Christmas-themed bars. Even Disney World has gotten in on the act with Jock Lindsay’s Holiday Bar.
Has all this holiday cheer reached its peak yet? That probably depends on how naughty or nice we are this year.
Official sites and social media
Sippin’ Santa: Official site | Instagram | Facebook
Miracle: Official site | Instagram | Facebook
Beachbum Berry: Official site | Facebook
Cocktail Kingdom: Official site | Instagram | Facebook
The Atomic Grog on Beachbum Berry
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