Bars and restaurants across the country are trying to bring in the new as the year gets old.
Bars and restaurants were not long ago able to mark the holiday season with a few hot drinks, an extra stock of Champagne, and perhaps a few Christmas Eve specials. Not anymore.
Supported by entrepreneurs, restaurateurs and spirit brands, this year’s batch of special bar-focused events show some creativity and can be expected to drive traffic at a time of year when parties and shopping often take precedence.
Take Miracle, the Christmas pop-up bar launched in 2014 in New York City which now has spread holiday cheer this year with more than 50 participating locations across the country and around the world.
Launched the day after Thanksgiving, Miracle locations are offering seasonally themed cocktails through Christmas Eve. The original location in New York City will return for its fourth year at Mace cocktail bar as Miracle on 9th Street.
“Seeing the initial success of Miracle and the subsequent growth over the past several years has been an absolute thrill,” says Miracle manager Joann Spiegel. “We’re so pleased that bar-goers have taken a liking to our nostalgic idea of holiday cheer, and we’re very proud of both the cocktail lineup and the bar partners we have for the 2017 season.”
Spiegel, together with bartender Nico de Soto of Mace and Danico, have created the roster of Christmas concoctions served at all Miracle locations. Drinks, 12 in all, include the Snowball Old Fashioned (gingerbread bourbon, wormwood bitters and lemon zest), How the Gimlet Stole Christmas (gin, sage, pine and caraway cordial), and the Run Run Rudolph (blanco tequila, coffee liqueur, iced hot chocolate and Mexican spices). All cocktails are served in custom Miracle glassware, from mugs to coupes, highballs and rocks glasses. To complete the festive feel, each location decks their halls with lights, garlands, ribbons and tchotchkes inspired by nostalgic vintage Christmas decorations, with a soundtrack of holiday songs playing throughout the season.
Meanwhile, at Todd English’s MXDC Cocina Mexicana in Washington, DC, the season is being marked via the 25 Tequilas of Christmas promotion. Anthony Tavara has put together a selected menu of tequilas to be served day by day leading up to December 30th. Blancos, reposados, añejos, and extra añejos, as well as a selection of housemade Margaritas and Palomas, are featured at a discounted price.
The Todd English restaurant’s standard range of drinks shows just how far the basic tipples have evolved. Margaritas are made with roasted pineapple syrup, MXDC cinnamon-spiked cordial, blackberry-cilantro syrup, and habaneros. Palomas include variations made with strawberry mint soda, pineapple soda, and cucumber-jalapeño soda.
In the case of San Francisco’s No. 209 Gin year-end promotion, 12 new holiday themed drinks served at 12 different bars are the core of the joint celebration. 209 has marked other holidays throughout the year in cooperation with local bars and bartenders, but this one raises the bar somewhat, with drinks including ingredients such as a sous vide beet-infused gin and a house-made cranberry jam. Pushed on social media, the promotion includes bars Belga, Blackbird, Boulevard, the luxe St. Regis, gin palace Whitechapel, and 7 others.