Thirsty Thursday: The Latest Holiday Craze… Pop-Up Bars

Now you see it. Now you don’t.

That’s how it is for pop-up stores, which fill a space for a short time and then pack up and close for good or move to another location. This holiday’s biggest pop-up trend is the pop-up cocktail bar, complete with winter themed drinks. Many of them have a charitable component, making doing good as easy as drinking something good.

A Midwinter’s Night Dream, New York City

The regular hotel bar inside NYC’s NYLO hotel on the Upper West Side is popping up as a Shakespearian/holiday themed bar with drinks like Puck’s Shadow and the Nymph’s Nectar made with gin, passionfruit, grapefruit and lime. The dream ends on Jan. 1 and when hotel guests wake up on Jan. 2, the hotel bar will go back to being just a hotel bar.

Miracle on Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh

This little Miracle is part of the franchise of Miracle pop-up cocktail holiday bars with locations in Paris, Athens, New York City, Atlanta, Seattle, and of course Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Some of the proceeds from Miracle go to charity, according to CBS Local. Festive drink’s like this Snowball Old Fashioned made with bourbon, Becherovka, spiced syrup and Angostura bitters are accompanied by simple foods like bologna sandwiches and fries. The pop-up holiday cocktail bar closes New Year’s Eve.

Sippin’ Santa’s Surf Shack, New York City

Warmer weather is what patrons of Sippin’ Santa’s Surf Shop in the East Village in New York City want for the holidays. Through Dec. 24, drinks like Hawaiian Milk Punch made with bourbon set a tropical mood. You can even watch beach movies from the ’60s.

Christmas Village, Philadelphia

And some pop-ups go the more traditional route. The pop-up Christmas Village at City Hall in Philadelphia features authentic European food, ornaments and arts & crafts from all over the world. This temporary village also serves mulled wines from the local Chaddsford Winery served in Christmas Village collectors mugs. The Christmas Village runs through Dec. 24.

Thirsty Thursday: Spiced Rum Fig Kombucha Cocktail Recipe

This Spiced Rum Fig Kombucha Cocktail is just another example of how we should truly embody the idea of balance, even in the most casual of moments in life.


  • 3 teaspoons fig simple syrup (see below)
  • 2 ounces spiced rum
  • 2 ounces fresh squeezed orange juice
  • Whole ice and crushed ice
  • Kombucha
  • for serving: fresh fig, quartered


Add the fig syrup, spiced rum, orange juice and a few whole ice cubes to a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously.

Strain into a glass with crushed ice and top with kombucha. Serve with a fresh fig.

Thirsty Thursday: Buddha’s Hand and Thai Basil Cocktail


  • 1 oz Hangar One Buddha’s hand vodka
  • 1 1/2 oz Manzanilla sherry
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz Buddha’s hand cordial
  • 1/2 oz sparkling water
  • 5 large Thai basil leaves
  • 5 strips of candied lemon peel
  • Thai basil flower for garnish

Buddha’s Hand Cordial:

  • 2 tablespoons Buddha’s hand zest (~1 medium Buddha’s hand)
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup

Candied Lemon Peel:

  • 2 lemons
  • 6 oz simple syrup (~ 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water)


To make the Buddha’s hand cordial:

  1. Soak the Buddha’s hand zest in the simple syrup for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove the zest. Set aside.

To make the candied lemon peel:

  1. Use a vegetable peeler to cut strips of lemon peel from top to bottom. Try to remove as little of the white pith as possible. Cut the peel into narrower strips, approximately 1/4-inch wide. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring your simple syrup to a simmer. Add the strips of lemon peel and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Your candied lemon peel is all done, and can be stored in the simple syrup until you are ready to use.

To make the cocktail:

  1. Pick 5 large Thai basil leaves. Set aside the top portion of the sprig (the flower) for garnish.
  2. Stack the leaves on top of each other and use a sharp knife to chiffonade into 1/4-inch strips. This will help to release the basil’s natural oils.  Add the strips to the bottom of your shaker.
  3. Next, add the lemon juice, sparkling water, candied lemon peel, and Buddha’s hand cordial to your shaker.
  4. Finally, add the vodka and the sherry. Briefly stir the ingredients together to incorporate. Add ice and give a quick shake for just a few seconds.
  5. Pour the entire contents of your shaker into a tall glass.
  6. The strips of Thai basil and lemon peel should disperse throughout the drink, clinging to the ice.
  7. If they clump together, feel free to use a barspoon to spread the strips throughout the glass.
  8. Garnish with a Thai basil flower.

These Infused Ice Cubes Pair Perfectly with your Labor Day Drinks

If you’re planning an outdoor get-together for the holiday weekend (as you should be), keep your drinks as refreshing as a dip in the deep end: Make infused ice cubes that slowly melt even more refreshing flavor into your cocktails.

It’s a trick we’ve seen at bars, and freezing them is easier than shaking a balanced cocktail. We took three classic summertime beverages and made an ice cube that pairs perfectly with each one (for each combination, use a silicon ice cube tray with 12 molds).

1. For shandies: Make simple syrup by boiling 1¾ cups of water with ½ cup of sugar until the sugar dissolves; let cool. Peel a lemon and cut the peel into 2-inch pieces. Place a strip of lemon peel into each ice cube mold, then top with the simple syrup. Freeze, drop a cube into the lemon-spiked beer drink, then toast your buddies.

2. For Pimm’s Cups: Make simple syrup by boiling 1¾ cups of water with ½ cup of sugar until the sugar dissolves; let cool. Peel and grate half a medium cucumber, then squeeze out the excess water. Place some of the grated cucumber, a fresh mint leaf and a raspberry into each ice cube mold. Top with simple syrup. Freeze, drop into the Pimm’s No. 1 cocktail, and pretend you’re at Wimbledon.

3. For mojitos: Make simple syrup by boiling 1¾ cups of water with ½ cup of sugar until the sugar dissolves; let cool. Squeeze 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice into the simple syrup. Place fresh mint leaves into each ice cube mold, then top with the lime simple syrup. Freeze and drop into the rum drink. Even if you’re already poolside, imagine yourself in the Caribbean.

Labor-Free Cocktails for Labor Day Weekend

If your summer cocktails have included muddled fresh herbs picked from your garden, shrubs from berries gathered at a pick-your-own farm, and juice hand-squeezed right before each drink is made, you’ve been working hard for your refreshment. You might want to take a break from the hard labor this Labor Day weekend and create cocktails that can be put together with just a few pours.

The makers of Ménage à Trois Vodka sent me labor-free cocktail ideas, and I shook a couple of them together in my kitchen the other night to see just how easy they were to make and how they tasted. I enjoyed both of these easy-to-make cocktails. Ménage à Trois’ vodkas are gluten free, and their fruit-flavored vodkas are made from all natural ingredients and real fruit, most of which comes from California where the vodkas are distilled.



  • 1 1/2 parts citrus vodka
  • 3/4 part blood orange juice (or regular orange juice if you want to buy it instead of squeezing your own to make it extra labor-free)
  • 3/4 part sparkling wine


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add vodka and juice.
  2. Shake and strain into a fluted glass.
  3. Top with sparkling wine.
  4. Garnish with an orange twist, if desired.

Midsummer Martini


  • 3 parts berry vodka
  • Extra-dry Vermouth
  • 3 fresh raspberries


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add vodka and two dashes of vermouth.
  2. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass.
  3. Garnish with raspberries.

4 Kentucky Styled Derby Day Drinks

The Kentucky Derby—always celebrated on the first Saturday in May—might be the fastest two minutes in sports, but that doesn’t mean your revelry should end that soon. Feel like you’re in the crowd at Churchill Downs in Louisville by sipping on one of these revamped julep recipes from top mixologists across the country. Even if you aren’t donning a fierce fascinator during the Run for the Roses today, these refreshing cocktails are sure to make your soiree a winner.

The Mile High Julep

1 3/4 oz TINCUP American Whiskey
1/2 oz Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur
1/2 oz Ginger Syrup
1/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
6 to 8 Mint Leaves

Combine all ingredients in a Julep tin, including hand-clapped mint. Add crushed ice and churn until mixed thoroughly and the outside of the tin has frosted. Garnish with a large mint sprig and some sugar sprinkled over the mint and the ice.

And for the bourbon averse, a refreshing rum julep.

Cruzan® Hats Off Julep

2 parts Cruzan® Estate Diamond® Dark Rum
1⁄2 part Turbinado Simple Syrup*
Pinch of Mint
3 Blackberries
Crushed Ice

Muddle Mint and Berries in a julep cup. Add Cruzan® Estate Diamond® Dark Rum and Turbinado Simple Syrup (recipe below) and fill with crushed ice. Take a hePy bouquet of Mint and rinse with water, then sprinkle Mint with powdered sugar for garnish with 3 speared Blackberries.

Turbinado Syrup

8 parts water
8 parts Turbinado Sugar

Combine 8 parts Hot Water and 8 parts Turbinado sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate. Will last for 30 days.

Silver Cup

1 3/4 oz TINCUP American Whiskey
1/2 oz Lustau Pedro Ximénez Sherry
1/4 oz Peach Street Distillers Peach Brandy
8 mint leaves

In a julep glass, muddle the mint leaves with the sherry, then add the rest of the spirits and pebble ice. Swizzle, then add more pebble ice (forming a mound) and three mint sprigs for garnish. Serve with a steel straw and a smile.

Try a bubbly take on the classic julep.

G.H.MUMM Mint Julep

2 parts G.H.MUMM Cordon Rouge
1 1/2 parts Absolut Citron Vodka
1 part Fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 part Simple syrup
1 finger pinch Fresh mint

Pour all ingredients, except G.H. MUMM Cordon Rouge, into a mixing glass.
Add ice, cover and shake vigorously for 7-8 seconds.
Pour G.H. MUMM Cordon Rouge into a chilled cocktail-martini glass and pour the cocktail over it.