Craft cocktail holiday pop-up, Miracle, returns to The Ordinarie

Back for its third year in Long Beach, Miracle Pop-Up at The Ordinarie is back in full cheer, outfitted with all the excessive, over-the-top holiday decorations and specialty cocktails.

And, this time with people.

In 2020, in light of coronavirus-related restrictions, the bar had relegated its Miracle experience to a to-go only model, which offered patrons only a few minutes to enjoy the holiday display as they walked through the bar to pick up their cocktails.

“It’s wonderful to be back doing Miracle with people inside this year,” owner Christy Caldwell said. “Last year I think they shut us down a week or two before, and we were ready….It’s just something fun for the holidays, hopefully, it’ll be a good one this year after everything.”

To the uninitiated, the holiday spectacle at The Ordinarie is an annual event, made possible because of a special partnership with Miracle Pop-Up, a Christmas-themed pop-up service founded in New York that provides bars with original, specialty holiday cocktails on one condition: They decorate the hell out of their space.

The Ordinarie doesn’t disappoint: Multi-colored tinsel, wrapping paper, presents, string lights, paper snowflakes and glittery baubles cover nearly every surface at the bar. Staff wear Christmas sweaters. There’s a giant inflatable Santa archway at the door. The works.

“It’s like Christmas threw up all over the walls—but in a good way,” said Jamie Caldwell, who leads the three-day charge on decorating every year.

With bars providing the ambiance, Miracle Pop-Up supplies the cocktail recipes and specialty mugs and patrons get a dose of holiday cheer you can’t find most anywhere else. Though there are over 100 participating bars in U.S. and Europe, The Ordinarie is the only one in Los Angeles County.

The holiday menu features 10 craft cocktails and two specialty shots. All the specialty mugs and glasses with which the drinks are served are back again, though the cocktail recipes change each year.

“Running a pretty heavy craft cocktail program, at the best of times, it’s always interesting to switch your entire concept over to a whole new thing for Christmas,” Caldwell said. “Miracle itself came from craft cocktail bars in New York. So the people putting it together like Joann Spiegel and Greg Bohem, these guys have a pedigree in craft cocktails. So at least it’s reassuring that I know there’s been a lot of thought put into these cocktails.”

The Ordinarie puts the time in to create the recipes as well, with some of the syrups and sauces requiring days of advance preparation.

“….because you’re batching things on big [scales],” Caldwell said. “We definitely do a lot of we do a lot of checking in the time leading up to it to make sure everything balances with the ingredients and the syrups that we’ve made. But we’re pretty happy with the drinks this year. There seems to be something for everybody.”

This year’s version of the “Yippie Ki Yay Mother F****r!” is a rather boozy, but delightful three-rum concoction with an inky-colored ube (a purple yam typically used in desserts) and coconut orgeat and acid-adjusted pineapple juice served in a charming “Santa pants” mug.

The “Yippie Ki Yay Mother F****r!” cocktail at Miracle at The Ordinarie in Downtown. Photo by Cheantay Jensen, Nov. 24 ,2021.

Stout sippers ought opt for the rye whiskey-based Snowball Old-Fashioned spruced with gingerbread, aromatic and wormwood bitters and orange essence.

This year’s “Christmapolitan,” is a winter spiced cranberry cosmopolitan with vodka, elderflower, dry vermouth, lime and a spice cranberry sauce. Garnished with rosemary and spritzed with absinthe mist, the aroma of the cocktail emulates the piney fragrance of a Christmas tree.

The “Christmapolitan” cocktail is garnished with a sprig of rosemary and a spritz of absinthe mist. Photo by Cheantay Jensen, Nov. 24, 2021.

The popular SantaRex mug now holds a Midori sour reminiscent libation with blanco tequila, mezcal, melon liquer, almond orgeat, lime and tiki bitters (last year it was a minty-spicy-tequila cocktail).

Though the Ordinarie may be back to business as usual, the bar strongly recommends patrons make reservations to enjoy the bar. There will be walk-in opportunities for the bar and patio, but all guests (including reservations) will be subject to a 90-min stay. Parties of six or more are permitted a two-hour stay.

Patrons can make reservations online, click here, or on Rezy.com by searching “The Ordinarie.” Miracle Pop-Up will run until Dec. 30.

Miracle at The Ordinarie will be available Tuesday through Sunday from noon to midnight. The Ordinarie is at 210 The Promenade N.

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Cheantay Jensen is reporter and award-winning videographer who covers entertainment, art, food and culture for the Hi-lo section of the Long Beach Post. And sometimes breaking news, you know, just to keep things interesting.
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