The holiday season is one of my favourites for all the joy in the air and drinks in my cup. I thrive on a good cocktail, and more so when it is themed. For example all the ones at Miracle in Gastown, the Christmas Cocktail Popup hosted by Gastown’s Clough Club.
The Miracle Pop Up is its own entity in its 10th year, and any business can sign up to host it. Doing so comes with the pre-set drink menu and recipes, plus all the mugs and glassware, which really make the occasion. Where the personality of each establishment comes through is on how they execute through decor and food. And Clough Club and the Freehouse Collective Team have done a great job bringing this vision alive.
The Popup runs from November 23rd to December 31st, 2023 and we were here on the first night to capture all the fun.
Walking in the space screams Christmas with the scent of gingerbread hitting your nostrils. The entire lounge, including the back room spaces of Clough Club have been transformed.
The back end bar is the Grinch’s Lair kept a little colder and with little decoration. Nods to the Grinch can be seen through the greetings, the lop sided tree, and the infinity mirror bathe in green.
By comparison Santa’s workshop was bustling with a fulsome well decked tree outfitted with plenty of presents, a cloths line of red and white suits and accessories hanging on the wall. And plenty of wrapping paper and decorations to wrap any gift for any kid.
Guests can plant themselves in either spaces and order from the travelling servers, or they can hover in the main room for a more neutral Christmas scene with immediate access to the bar.
Where other places have 4-5 different cocktail offerings to choose from Miracle has a list of 13 and 2 different shots. You definitely can’t try them all in one sitting, thus encouraging you to return for more.
I would order based on vessel and in this case it was the festive unicorn and the T-Rex wearing a Santa cap.
The Marshmallows & Unicorns was exactly that, served in a unicorn mug. It tasted sweet and creamy like marshmallows and it even came with one skewered into a mound of crushed ice. Gin, vanilla liqueur, velvet falernum, cherry liqueur, cardamon, black pepper, marshmallow, lemon, egg white, tiki bitters, and soda.
Looking for a pick me up? Rudolph’s Replacement has you. Not your typical coffee cocktail, but more like a coffee dessert cake in a cup. Vodka, coffee liqueur, white creme de cacao, orange curaçao, chai, almond milk, and aromatic bitters.
The Carol Barrel reminded me of toasted pecans with the aftertaste of whiskey. Irish whiskey, banana liqueur, Jamaican navy strength rum, Guinness punch, lime, aromatic & chocolate bitters, and nutmeg. However, after doing some research online, I think either cocktail was put into the wrong glass or we got the Koala Kooler instead. The “Carol Barrel” should be served in a novelty barrel mug
Yippee Ki Yay Mother For!. was tropical with Barbados rum, rhum agricole, Trinidad overproof rum, ube & coconut orgeat, and acid-adjusted pineapple juice. I love the use of more exotic flavours like ube in this.
The Krampus is a fun one. Served in a mug that has you sipping out of this demon’s gaping mouth. Naturally it is more spirit forward with plenty of spice and heat. Reposado tequila, oloroso sherry, allspice dram, mezcal, ginger, hibiscus, lime, and hellfire bitters.
My favourite cocktail of the night, taste wise was the Christmapolitan. Not overly sweet, but complex and fruity. A mix of vodka, elderflower, dry vermouth, spiced cranberry sauce, lime, and rosemary; finished with an absinthe mist. Great paired with the food below.
In hindsight I should have actually read the menu and ordered the cocktails based on ingredient list. There were so many unique mixes I would have liked to try instead. Like the “ Elfing Around #2” with cognac, red wine, and champagne combined. And the “Christmas Cricket” with coconut and pandan, which I typically gravitate towards. Another missed opportunity was with the “Secret Santa”, I should have asked the server what this was, like the menu mentioned.
But we couldn’t miss out the shots. Here, you don’t have to wait for Santa to make a list, you can choose if you are naughty or nice.
The Nice Shot is an easy blend of rye whiskey and gingerbread, where the rye whiskey already has baked notes to it that parallels the warming gingerbread fragrance well.
The Naughty Shot is more potent in taste and ABV with tequila, habanero, ginger, and hibiscus. Do this one if you looking for more bang for your buck.
As for food, the smaller menu promises nostalgia and retro good times. Starting with the Pecan and cheddar cheese ball. A giant ball of spreadable cheese you gouge into with a buttery Ritz cracker, and have with accompanying fried sage. Easy snacking.
The Holiday Dinner Dog is a must in my books. Exactly as it sounds, a hotdog dressed like thanksgiving dinner. Starting with a Turkey sausage in bun topped with mash potatoes, gravy, and cranberry, sitting on a bed of stuffing. This isn’t the type of hot dog you pick up, but slice into instead. Everything is as comforting and homey as expected. With the bun being non-consequential, but needed for the novelty and name to work.
Kevin’s Mac N Cheese is a nod to Home Alone, the movie. With “Scooby Doo (spiral) pasta” and truffle white cheddar sauce. A very rich and gooey serving with an excess of butter and cheese. You definitely want something on the side to help break up all this sumptuousness.
And for dessert Gingerbread Dunkaroos. Basically all butter cookies with vanilla frosting topped with crushed candy cane as dip. Nothing about this really read “dunkaroos”. The cookies weren’t shaped like kangaroos, but giant stars. And this wasn’t as travel ready with small bites and dunks as the referenced snack item is. Tasty as you can choose the amount of frosting you want. I wonder if there is a spiked creamy milk-like cocktail to pair with this.
A fun and easy way to spread some holiday cheer with photogenic highlights. And an ideal destination for work gatherings with colleagues, Friendsmas with the crew, or an escape from the holiday rush, Miracle in Gastown will provide the perfect setting to get the bells jingling.
Reservations, group bookings, and tickets are now available for Miracle in Gastown. Early seatings will be by ticket only with 90-minute bookings available with food, drink, and optional glassware purchase. Late evenings, Clough Club will be open for drop-in seasonal fun with the Miracle in Gastown cocktail and food menus available for a la carte enjoyment.
Visit freehouse.co for tickets, bookings, and full event information.
212 Abbott St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2K8