With the holidays well underway, some people are getting into the spirit of the season.
You might be listening to Christmas music, getting your presents in order or checking out the tree on the Boston Common. But one other way to feel the spirits of the holidays — the word spirit used in the boozy sense — is by sipping on a festive drink. To figure out how to make a couple of them, we stopped by Miracle, an annual Christmas-themed pop-up bar at the Kimpton Marlowe Hotel in Cambridge, for a bit of a bartending lesson.
Miracle is a national holiday pop-up, which partners with local restaurants and other venues to open a Christmas-themed bar for the weeks leading up to the holiday. Nicola Dresser, director of catering at the Kimpton Marlowe Hotel, designs and decorates its iteration of Miracle every year.
“You plan, obviously a couple of months in advance,” she said. “We have a lot of tinsel, a lot of garland, a 6-foot Santa that you can take a selfie with.”
The idea is to give guests a novel and festive experience, she said, complete with themed drinks served in novelty mugs shaped like Santa’s pants or a T-rex wearing a Santa hat.
“People are really into experiencing something with their friends or having a great night out, something that they can take some great photos for their social media, experience a new cocktail in a great glass,” Dresser said. “Something that’s super festive that sets time aside for you to enjoy the holiday season with your friends, and something that's in the moment.”
Her first drink: The Christmapolitan, a take on the ’90s classic, the cosmopolitan, with a bit of festive house-made cranberry sauce.
Before she pours it, she sprays a coupe glass with a bit of absinthe.
“It's an anise-flavored spirit. And it comes from the wormwood plant. Very aromatic,” she said. “That's why we're going to use just a spritz. So we don't want to overpower the drink. You have a beautiful cocktail of all those great flavors.”
The second: A take on the espresso martini called Rudolph’s Replacement, with chocolate and chai flavors added to the usual coffee.
“This is going to give him [Rudolph] the energy you need to carry the sleigh,” she joked.
She adds a few dashes of aromatic bitters and just a bit of saline solution — salt and water, which home bartenders can mix themselves – to break up and bring out the drink’s richer flavors.
Both drinks can be made as mocktails, she said. For the Christmapolitan, add a bit of fruit-flavored seltzer instead of alcohol. And for Rudolph’s Replacement, use regular coffee.
“Go ahead and have fun,” she said. “If it doesn't come out just like the recipe, at least add a little bit of something else so it's enjoyable and fun to try.”
The Miracle pop-up bar is open at the Kimpton Marlowe Hotel, 25 Edwin H. Land Blvd. in Cambridge, through Sunday, Dec. 24, from 5 to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 5 to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Miracle pop-up bar’s Christmapolitan
2 ounces vodka
¼ ounce elderflower liqueur
¼ ounce dry vermouth
1 ounce spiced cranberry sauce
½ ounce lime juice
Garnish: Sprig of rosemary
In a shaker full of ice, mix the vodka, elderflower liquor, vermouth, cranberry sauce and lime juice until chilled. Spritz glass with absinth and strain cocktail into glass. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
Miracle pop-up bar’s Rudolph's Replacement
2 ounces vodka
¾ ounce coffee liqueur
¼ ounce white crème de cacao
¼ ounce dry curacao
¾ ounce chai-flavored syrup
2 ounces almond milk
3 dash angostura bitters
4 drops saline solution
Garnish: Slice of orange, dipped in cacao nibs and coffee grounds
In a shaker full of ice, mix the vodka, coffee liquor, crème de cacao, dry curacao, chai syrup, almond milk, bitters and saline until chilled. Pour into glass through a strainer and garnish with dipped orange slice.