For One Month, Hotel Vintage’s Lobby Transforms into Christmas-Themed Bar Miracle

And unto you, a pop-up bar is born.

By Kelly Clarke November 26, 2019 Published in the December 2019 issue of Portland Monthly

Image: Michael Novak

Ugly Christmas sweaters. Twinkle lights and gaudy wrapping paper. Fresh-baked cookies, live carols, and nog cocktails served in hokey mugs shaped like Santa’s big black boots. When it comes to the holidays, downtown’s Hotel Vintage goes all in. From Black Friday to New Year’s Eve, the hotel lobby’s Bacchus Bar hosts Miracle, the New York–born pop-up bar whose seasonal outposts from New Zealand to San Diego are devoted to kitschy Christmas chaos and fueled by festive drinks in vintage-style glassware. (Don’t sleep on the Run Run Rudolph mulled wine spritzer.)

Hotel Vintage debuted Portland’s Miracle last year; its second round promises a towering noble fir Christmas tree, a twerking Santa, and a special original cocktail from Nathan Elliott, who runs the bar program at Vintage’s house restaurant, Il Solito. Elliott’s Last Minute Gift aims to reclaim fruitcake, that much-maligned holiday has-been. He shakes bready blended scotch with baking spice–infused oak milk for a silky holiday drink that gets merrier with every sip, a whisper of the namesake cake’s boozy fruit flair provided by locally made amaro Calisaya and cherry brandy.

The bartender says he’s proud of his liquid fruitcake, but it doesn’t supplant his own family’s traditional holiday quaff. “Every Christmas Eve my mom and I drink Baileys on the rocks and watch A Christmas Story,” he says with a laugh, “usually two or three times in a row.”

Last Minute Gift

Makes 1 drink

Combine 1½ oz blended scotch (Elliott likes Monkey Shoulder), 1 oz spiced oak milk,* ½ oz Calisaya, ¼ oz Cherry Heering, ¼ oz simple syrup, and a dash of walnut bitters in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake lightly for 5 seconds. Strain into a double old-fashioned glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a skewer of dried amarena cherries, golden raisins, and other classic “fruitcake” fruits.

*Spiced Oat Milk
In a large container, combine one quart oat milk with 4 cinnamon sticks, 2 tbsp allspice berries, and freshly grated nutmeg to taste. Seal, shake thoroughly, and let sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Strain and store in fridge. Spiced oat milk will keep for up to 3 weeks.

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