It’s a Christmas Miracle at Blue Hound’s Miracle Bar

Blue Hound Kitchen and Cocktails has made the season bright this year by teaming up with The Miracle Bar pop-up, a fun and festive NYC export. Blue Hound is the only Miracle out of 90 in the valley, though our Tucson buddies have one at Elvira’s, too.

The Miracle Bar overlay, with its elfs on a shelf, toy trains, jaunty barware, and Christmas Story lamp scattered amidst about a million twinkling lights sets the tone for a fun evening. Plus, Christmas or not, this bar doesn’t fuck around. All the drinks are still made with the best spirits… while in the best spirits. We look around and nearly everyone is in a Santa hat.

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Phil Clark, the award-winning Best Bartender in Arizona Phil Clark, makes sure that every Miracle drink has his unique spin and is top quality. “It’s really difficult to execute a good cocktail menu when you start cutting corners,” Clark says, not mentioning anyone by name, “People notice.”

We sure do!

Clark brings us an assortment of beverages, each one in a cuter glass than the last. “People keep stealing the glasses,” he sighs. (You guys don’t have to steal though, the barware is available to purchase, just ask your server in the ugly Christmas sweater.)

We begin with a holiday classic. “The eggnog is so popular,” Clark says, setting down mugs filled to the brim with this boozy, creamy, Pedro Ximenez sherry loaded concoction.

A lot of other stuff goes into it, too. Some are usual suspects, some are not. Clark begins listing off ingredients; cognac, brown butter, cinnamon, vanilla, almond milk, cream, sugar, egg, nutmeg…

You might be like, lol hold up, there’s egg in eggnog? In this economy?

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PSA; Yeah. There is in fact egg in eggnog. If you think you hate eggnog, please try real eggnog. The kind that actually contains egg and cream. Chances are you love eggnog, you’ve just never tried it properly.

But back to that sherry. Can we talk about this sherry Clark uses?

He brings out the bottle and pours some out for his homies (that’s us!). It’s deep in color and the sweet smell hits us immediately. “It looks like motor oil but it tastes like raisin bread,” he assures us. We sip. It’s a score. It tastes exactly like the best raisin you’ve ever had in your life, but boozier. It goes down too easily, so we move on to food.

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Recently, Blue Hound hired Chef Dushyant Singh, formerly of Artizen at the Camby, and he’s bringing some inspired tastes to the menu, like the Oh My Gourde, a plate full of savory delicata squash rings covered in everything spice and apple butter with the slightest touch of bourbon maple. They are perfect. THEY. ARE. PERFECT. They have a slight crust from the seasoning and overall they’re tender and warm like Christmas is cuddling you from the inside out.

kd9a6752We tuck into the Hammy Sammy after that, a stack of serrano and black forest ham, brie, havarti, cheddar, and poblano relish on local favorite, Noble bread. The pickled vegetables it comes with are just a bonus to break up the richness.

Chef brings out two show-stopper plates next, the Gobble, Gobble; a flash fried crispy turkey leg (deboned for us, the way it should be) that takes 45 hours to make start to finish and is paired with tart cherries and a sweet potato pureé and The Selfish Bowl; a combination of shellfish, chorizo, preserved lemon chermoula, and Blue Hound pale ale served with a side of grilled Noble bread.

Okay, super quick, let’s talk about chermoula. It’s a Moroccan herb sauce that you usually see served with fish or other seafood, but chef brought us out some to try on its own and I am here to tell you it pairs well with bread as a little pesto-like dipping sauce, too. And I’ll die on this mountain.

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We now turn our attention to the Koala-La La La, La La La La. For a long time, um, like twenty-nine years, I was pretty sure eucalyptus was poisonous. I have NO idea why. This drink proved me wrong. A combination of Botanist gin, pine infused dry vermouth, lime, eucalyptus syrup and orange bitters, this is the MIracle Bar’s answer to the Gimlet. Bonus: it’s cute as hell, each glass comes with its own koala and I am still alive to tell you about it.

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“We’ve been so busy,” Clark admits, “We’ve been having to prep in the middle of shifts, sometimes we’re here until 4am prepping…” Prepping for what you may ask? It’s the little details, like how Clark infuses the butterscotch rye himself for the Snowball Old Fashioned (and yes, you can taste the difference).

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kd9a6773He explains the laborious process to us, including the science behind it. “You have to freeze the rye…” he begins, making it seem like we could even try to recreate one of his drinks ourselves, but we all know it’ll come out wrong. It’s much easier to go to the Blue Hound Miracle pop up and sip on, say, the Run Run Rudolph the way Clark makes it, with a mulled wine pureé mixed with gin and lemon before he tops it off with prosecco. (This may have been our favorite drink.)

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Before we go, Chef Singh brings out a holiday tin filled with cookies and Corn Flakes and a mug of cereal milk. Extremely our jam. The milk is cold and the cookies are classic, we dig right into the chocolate chip.

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“I saw a guy pour the milk into the tin to get to the last of the cereal,” Clark says, “I was like, do you want a spoon?”

To be honest, WE kind of did.

The Miracle Bar Pop Up at Blue Hound is running until December 30th.

 

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