Recurring events include singers from the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington every Sunday at 9 p.m., holiday crafting sessions on Mondays from 6 to 8, holiday movie marathons on Tuesdays, and a "Bad Santa" happy hour on Fridays from 5 to 8, which includes photos with "Santa," liquor tastings and a punch of the week.
The decorations are "going to be intense," says bartender JP Fetherston, who expects model trains to appear alongside the usual tinsel, holly and garlands. "It's going to be completely decked out. It's not going be classy. … It's going be goofy and fun." Mockingbird Hill owner Derek Brown is more direct: "It's going to be like vomiting Christmas in here." It won't all be Santa and evergreens: The back room is being turned into the Hanukkah Hangout, with its own decorations and events, such as a Manischewitz pong competition.
The idea was hatched two months ago when Greg Boehm, a partner in a New York City bar called Mace, visited D.C. He hung out with Angie Salame, a partner in Mockingbird Hill, and they talked about how, last November and December, before Mace had its official grand opening, it operated as a holiday-themed pop-up bar called the Miracle on Ninth Street. Salame, like the rest of the staff at Mockingbird Hill, loves the holidays, and wanted to replicate the idea in Washington, with Mace's cooperation. "This was their idea, and this is totally hand-in-hand with them," Fetherston says. Boehm is sending Mockingbird Hill some seasonal glassware that was made especially for the Miracle on Ninth Street, and Brown is hopeful that Mace bartender Nico de Soto can come down to serve his own holiday drinks.
Fetherston's holiday cocktails are going to be a big draw: While some bars may put two or three seasonal drinks on their menu at this time of year, the Miracle on Seventh Street has 10 cocktails and a shot. "All cocktails are starting from some flavor or ingredient that's typically Christmas," Fetherston explains. Gretchen, Stop Trying to Make Fetch Happen blends mace, nutmeg and spices in a cranberry syrup with sherry and orange curacao, topped with sparkling wine. The pleasantly fruity and fizzy result is loaded with cranberry and spices, complemented by orange in the nose. (The name was a tribute to "Mean Girls" and its famous "Jingle Bell Rock" talent show scene.)
A drink called I Don't Mind You Shooting Me, Frank, But Take It Easy on the Rum – bonus points for getting that reference – is made with rum and lime juice, but tastes like an After Eight chocolate mint, or perhaps a tiki concoction spiked with a candy cane. Speaking of tiki, the sherry-based Mele Kalikimaka comes in a repurposed tiki bowl for two, decorated with seasonal figurines instead of palm trees and leis. The concoction "mirrors ingredients you get in plum pudding," Fetherston says, including a roasted plum syrup, brandy, mulling spices and clarified milk, "but we didn't want to make it too creamy." The result is silky smooth, with notes of dark fruit and seasonal spice, and not heavy at all.
The best of the Hanukkah-inspired drinks is Can I Interest You in Hanukkah?, a dead-on chocolate egg creme spiked with sherry and whiskey bitters and named for a Stephen Colbert/Jon Stewart duet from the "A Colbert Christmas" holiday special.
Beyond libations, there's a holiday food menu too, including venison jerky, grilled turkey or ham sandwiches, homemade gingerbread cookies and a platter that combines fresh chocolate cookies (baked by Kelly Follmer) paired with Scotch Milk, an old-fashioned mix of one part Scotch and two parts milk. The frothy drink is smooth and slightly sweet, like eggnog with toffee and a little bit of smoke from the whisky. For Derek Brown, it's the perfect holiday pairing. "What makes people happy? Scotch, chocolate chip cookies, and Christmas."
Mockingbird Hill, 1843 Seventh St. NW. www.drinkmoresherry.com. Open at 5 p.m. daily.
The full cocktail menu follows:
Miracle on 7th Street Cocktail Menu
Cocktails are $12 except where noted.
1) Gretchen, Stop Trying to Make Fetch Happen
Moscatel Sherry, Dry Curaçao, Spiced Cranberry Syrup, Sparkling Wine
2) I Don't Mind You Shooting Me, Frank, But Take It Easy on the Rum
Rum, Crème de Menthe, Lime, Candy Cane
3) Yippie Ki Yay, Motherf****r!!!
Trinidad Rum, Cachaça, Dry Curaçao, Roasted Chestnut Orgeat, Lime
by Nico de Soto of Mace, NYC
4) I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Pink Peppercorn-infused Dry Gin, Suze, Dolin Rouge, Conifer
5) A Merry, Messy Kwelfnuve Kweznuz
Rye, White Port, Fernet Branca, Aromatic Bitters
6) Francisco, That’s Fun to Say
Mezcal, Chocolate “Milk,” Green Chartreuse Marshmallow
7) You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out!
Blended Scotch, Pisco, Drambuie, Lemon Curd, Pistachio "Orgeat," Gingerbread Cream
8) Can I Interest You in Hanukkah?
PX Sherry, U-Bet Chocolate Syrup, Xocolatl Mole & Whiskey Barrel Bitters, Cream, Soda
9) Here We Come A-Wassailing
Mulled Brown Ale, Cream Sherry, Spices, Brown Sugar, Roasted Apples, Sops
10) Mele Kalikimaka $27
Amontillado & Cream Sherry, Brandy, Roasted Plum Syrup, Bitters & Spices, Grapefruit, Clarified Milk
In a tiki bowl for two
11) Nog Shot $4
Shot of Baltimore Egg Nog. You know this is a great idea ...