Miracle Cocktail Bar Pop-Ups Return to Houston & Galveston With Much-Needed Cheer
With COVID and the resulting business closings and layoffs — both temporary and permanent — it’s inarguable that 2020 has been a gloomy year. Before the end though, there’s some hope for cheery drinks in festive settings by way of the Miracle cocktail bar pop-ups. Since 2020 is the third year of the holiday cocktail bar pop-up in the Greater Houston area, it’s now a tradition that’s earned local fans. As was the case last year, the host bars are Johnny’s Gold Brick at 2518 Yale in Houston and Daiquiri Time Out at 2701 Market in Galveston, two of only seven locations total across Texas. (Unfortunately, Houston got passed over again as a host for Sippin’ Santa, the tiki-themed holiday pop-up that Lei Low hosted in 2018.) Both bars will be transformed into Christmas wonderlands complete with wall-to-wall, ostentatious decorations, holiday music and signature cocktails that will keep the festivities going until December 30.
The Miracle bar pop-ups, noted for cocktails and shots in kitschy holiday glasses (available to purchase and take home) spiked with ingredients such as baking spices, honey and juices, started seven years ago in New York City. Since then, Miracle has grown to over 100 locations around the world.
Locally, the bar closings ordered by Governor Greg Abbott more than three months ago cast a factor of uncertainty on whether the Miracle pop-ups are be feasible this year. Unlike some Texas bars that got re-licensed as restaurants and reopened, until very recently, Johnny’s was closed but it is reopening. It’s key to survival was its Peacemaker Po’ Boys pop-ups, which allows it to offer to-go cocktails and spirits. However, the bar made a Facebook post that indicated its reopening as “Johnny’s Bar & Grill”.
Daiquiri Time Out posted that it is reopening on October 1, so this year’s Miracle pop-ups look like more of a sure bet. Daiquiri Time Out’s hours are Monday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Miracle’s returning annual cocktail favorites include the Snowball Old-Fashioned with bourbon, gingerbread syrup and wormwood bitters, the Christmapolitan, a holiday twist on a Cosmopolitan with vodka, St. Germain and spiced cranberry sauce, and Yippie Ki Yay Mother F****r! Named for Bruce Willis’ rallying cry in Die Hard, the complex cocktail includes sweet potato-infused dark rum, marshmallow orgeat and cachaça, among other ingredients.
New cocktails for 2020 are Jolly Koala with gin, vermouth and pine-cardamom-sage cordial; the On Dasher, with bourbon, mezcal, sweet vermouth, spiced hibiscus, burlesque bitters, and lemon; and the Fruitcake Flip with brandy, Jamaican overproof rum, amaretto, cherry bitters, a whole egg and, believe it or not, actual fruitcake.
Phaedra Cook has written about Houston’s restaurant and bar scene since 2010. She was a regular contributor to My Table magazine (now closed) and was the lead restaurant critic for the Houston Press for two years, eventually being promoted to food editor. Cook founded Houston Food Finder in November 2016 and has been its editor and publisher ever since.