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        Christmas came early: Miracle pop-up bars bring holiday cocktails, ugly sweaters to South Florida

        As results poured in on Election Night, Death or Glory co-owner Annie Blake stood inside her Delray Beach cocktail bar, up to her eyeballs in tacky Christmas decorations. Blake kept the TV off and distracted herself by hanging dollar-store tinsel, followed by a pair of inflatable humping reindeer.

        “On top of everything else we have election stress this week, so I decided to tune it out and blow up some naughty reindeer,” Blake says. “The pandemic is still here. Everyone just wants 2020 to be done with. Why can’t we just escape to Christmas already?”

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        Blake has transformed her classy drinking den into the pop-up Christmas bar Miracle three weeks earlier than usual. Although the bar usually unveils its Miracle pop-up after Thanksgiving, Blake raced to bring it back sooner, convinced that locals like her craved a Christmas-size distraction from the COVID-19 pandemic, economic woes and a hotly contested election.

        “We’re brightening the mood by going as over-the-top as possible,” Blake says of Miracle.

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        Decorations are seen at Death or Glory's Christmas pop-up Miracle in Delray Beach on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020.
        Decorations are seen at Death or Glory's Christmas pop-up Miracle in Delray Beach on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

        Now through Dec. 31, Death or Glory will be a Christmas party palace, decked out in plastic Santas and cheesy holiday movies (“Home Alone”), a snow machine and mischievous reindeer.

        There’s also a lineup of new cocktails with names like “Santa-Rex” (tequila, Branca Menta liqueur, cacao blanc, serrano chili syrup coconut in a T. Rex-shaped mug) and “Fruit Cake Flip” (brandy, overproofed rum, amaretto, fruit cake syrup, whole egg). All cocktails cost $13.50, and takeout is available.

        Yes, there will be ugly Christmas masks to go with ugly Christmas sweaters this year, Blake says. The bar plans to sell red face coverings embroidered with snowflakes, poinsettias and Peanuts characters to drinkers who arrive mask-less. She says customers can socially distance without masks at the tiki bar outside but those indoors must leave masks on in between sips.

        Bartender Ayn Koder pours a Christmapolitan at Death or Glory's Christmas pop-up Miracle in Delray Beach on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020.
        Bartender Ayn Koder pours a Christmapolitan at Death or Glory's Christmas pop-up Miracle in Delray Beach on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. (John McCall/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

        Miracle at Death or Glory is open 4 p.m.-midnight Tuesday-Thursday, 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday, 3 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturday and noon-9 p.m. Sunday. Call 561-808-8814 or go to DeathorGloryBar.com.

        Not to be outdone, two more Miracle bars will pop up in West Palm Beach and Wynwood Nov. 24-Dec. 31. And in downtown Fort Lauderdale, clubby O Lounge will morph into the Christmas-themed Ho Ho Ho Lounge Nov. 27-Dec. 26.

        Here’s where you’ll find holiday cocktails that will get you as blitzed as Santa’s reindeer.

        Ho Ho Ho Lounge

        5 p.m.-midnight Nov. 27-Dec. 26 inside O Lounge, 333 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-523-1000

        Unlike Miracle, which strikes a balance between tackiness and holiday nostalgia, Ho Ho Ho Lounge is billed as a “sexy, naughtier, classier” party, says Aaron Abramoff, director of operations for the Restaurant People, which run O Lounge. The pop-up will spill out onto O Lounge’s courtyard for patio seating. O Lounge will be reminiscent of a winter castle, Abramoff says, adorned in oversize roof ornaments and rows of faux Christmas trees and snow. Servers will be dressed as sexy elf helpers, DJs will spin holiday sounds Wednesday-Sunday, and there will be a menu of Christmas desserts. “Ours will be less corny but with decorations on a grander scale,” says Abramoff, adding that the pop-up will limit seating capacity to 50 percent. Cocktails ($12-$15) include the Uncle Eddie (bourbon, maple syrup, cinnamon) and Jingle Juice (vodka rocks with pomegranate and rosemary).

        Miracle

        Noon-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday and noon-midnight Friday-Sunday, Nov. 27-Dec. 26 at Gramps, 176 NW 24th St., Miami; 305-699-2669 or MiraclePopUp.com

        11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday, Nov. 24-Dec. 31 at Grandview Public Market, 1401 Clare Ave., West Palm Beach; 561-323-4103 or MiraclePopUp.com

        Both pop-ups will showcase over-the-top decorations and lights, along with holiday cocktails served in tacky glassware, such as frosted Santa mugs. Drinks will include Bad Santa (rum, black chai tea, date-infused oat milk, vanilla syrup, served hot); Jingle Ball Nog (cognac, cream sherry, vanilla, and nutmeg); Gingerbread Flip (rye whiskey, gingerbread syrup, whole egg, gingersnap cookie crumbs); Run Run Rudolph (Prosecco, gin, mulled wine puree, lemon, cane syrup); and Christmapolitan (vodka, elderflower, dry vermouth, spiced cranberry sauce, lime, rosemary, absinthe mist).

        Specialty holiday cocktails with cheeky names such as "Bad Santa" are on the menu at Miracle, a Christmas-themed pop-up in Delray Beach, Miami and West Palm Beach.
        Specialty holiday cocktails with cheeky names such as "Bad Santa" are on the menu at Miracle, a Christmas-themed pop-up in Delray Beach, Miami and West Palm Beach. (Miracle / Courtesy)
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