By Niki D’Andrea
Christmas isn’t always all about kids. Sometimes, it can be very adult-oriented and caters more to spoiling your inner child than to making toddlers sit on a stranger’s lap while asking for presents in a crowded shopping mall. To wit: Miracle by Blue Hound, a holiday-themed pop-up cocktail concept. Miracle Pop-Ups are hosted by bars around the U.S., but the Blue Hound location is the only one in Metro Phoenix. It’s worth the journey from anywhere in the Valley, though with a cocktail menu that’s this booze-forward, you’ll want to take an Uber or a Lyft (and then pretend you’re in Santa’s sleigh).
There are 12 cocktails on the menu, each infused with wintry flavors like cranberry, pumpkin, brown butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and gingerbread syrup. Every single tipple tastes like Christmas. Our three favorites are detailed below; however, every single drink on this menu is eminently quaffable and worth its toll on your liver.
Let’s start with the Jingle Balls Nog ($15). This frothy, creamy concoction consists of cognac, Pedro Jimenez Sherry, brown butter, cinnamon, cherry, vanilla, almond milk, cream, sugar, egg and nutmeg. It’s served warm, in custom 8 oz. mugs, and goes down dangerously smooth. We recommend resisting the urge to chug this one and sipping it instead. Otherwise, visions of sugar plums may be dancing in your head while you’re still awake.
Too shy to sing loudly along to “Last Christmas” in a public place? Or maybe you’re holding back from getting in on the argument about whether or not the song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is about an annoyingly whiny guy drugging a girl’s drink and pleading with her to stay with him? The Christmas Carol Barrel ($18) will loosen up your tongue with a truth elixir of aged rum, Aquavit, amaro, pumpkin pie, lemon and angostura bitters.
If you love cranberries, the Christmapolitan ($15) might ruin you on the fruit forever – in a good way. One sip of this mix of vodka, elderflower, dry vermouth, spiced cranberry sauce, rosemary and lime with an absinthe mist, and you’ll forever turn up your nose at canned cranberries.
There’s so much more to love about the Miracle menu – including holiday food items like the “Gobble, Gobble!” (a crispy turkey leg served in a skillet with sweet potato puree and tart cherries) and the “Hammy Sammy” — the best ham sandwich I’ve ever had in my life, stacked with Serrano and Black Forest hams and oozing three cheeses (brie, havarti and Tillamook cheddar) on Noble bread with a tingly kick from poblano relish. The décor throughout Blue Hound is also festive to the nth degree, with hundreds of elves hanging on shelves like creepy contortionists, a mini train circling overhead, and Christmas lights sparkling everywhere. Even the drinks are served in signature seasonal drinkware (available for purchase).
We don’t need snow to enjoy Christmas cocktails. We just need a Miracle.