Miracle on Cherry Street
Christmas exploded inside the downtown Winston-Salem Marriott, and it is visible from the sidewalk.
Butcher & Bull, the popular steakhouse located inside the hotel, is one of 100 locations across the country chosen to participate in the “Miracle” franchise, a Christmas-themed pop-up bar that serves holiday cocktails in a festive setting. This year, the elaborate pop-ups can also be found in Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Romania and Switzerland.
The entire event is over the top—think multiple Christmas trees (some made from cleverly upcycled materials such as wine bottles), garland galore, dozens of wrapped presents hanging from the ceiling, multicolored lights strung from the rafters, Christmas-themed artwork on every wall, and Christmas songs and movies on repeat. There’s even a life-size cardboard cutout of Chevy Chase from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation that you can take selfies with. The restaurant’s private dining spaces are also bedazzled with seasonal cheer, making them the perfect place for meetings, family get-togethers and holiday parties.
The Miracle concept started in New York City in 2014. On the advice of his mom, Mace Cocktail Bar owner Greg Boehm put the construction of the bar on hold for the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas and instead transformed the unfinished space into a temporary winter wonderland. The idea was a hit, and before long, other bars and food service establishments wanted in on the fun. Out of that, the idea for Miracle—which happens only during the Christmas season for one month—was born.
While the kitschy decor is definitely a major draw, the stars of the show are the creative cocktails. Miracle provides the recipes for a professionally-developed holiday cocktail menu, along with merchandise such as special glassware that is available for purchase on-site. Then it’s up to the staff at each location to bring it all to life.
Being a dedicated investigative reporter, I brought friends and sampled several options in the name of research. Consensus favorite: the “Yippie Ki Yay F****r!”—A creamy concoction of Barbados rum, Cachaca, Trinidad Overproof rum, purple yam and coconut orgeat (a made-in-house almond-based syrup that blew my mind) and pineapple. A close second was the “Bad Santa” (rum, black chai tea, date-infused oat milk, vanilla syrup and Batavia arrack—a distilled alcohol made from the fermented sap of coconut flowers or sugarcane). We also loved the “Jingle Balls Nog” (the best American eggnog I’ve ever tasted) and the “SanTaRex” (rye whiskey, Oloroso sherry, spiced apple cider, lemon juice and baked apple bitters), which comes served in a fun dinosaur mug that will make you feel like a little kid on Christmas morning. We finished up with a few shots—you can choose “Nice,” “Naughty,” or “Mistletoe.” I opted for the Mistletoe (rye whiskey and gingerbread spices) since I went heavy on the creamy drinks earlier. Shout out to bartenders extraordinaire Jay and Megan for the holiday cheer, for educating us on some new spirits and for making us feel special!
Chef Richard Miller created a special snack menu of more than a dozen items to go along with the cocktails. Some of these menu items included “Reindeer Food” (a charcuterie board of meat, cheese, pickled goodies and condiments), “Bad Santa Chili,” “Blue Christmas Wings” and “Elf Ornaments” (fried macaroni and cheese balls served with tomato jam and pea sprouts). A few entrée plates have also been revamped with a Christmas twist – for example, the “Backyard Christmas Party” (ribs, Frito macaroni and cheese, coleslaw) and the “North Pole Steakhouse” (a hearty bistro steak served with fries). Butcher & Bull is one of just three North Carolina locations with Miracle bars. The other two are located in Asheville at The Golden Pineapple and Raleigh at The Haymaker.
“We are thrilled to host Miracle on Cherry Street and help bring this holiday experience to downtown Winston-Salem,” said general manager Kolby Huffman. “From over-the-top decorations to extravagant cocktails and the special themed food menu developed by our executive chef Richard Miller, Butcher & Bull is set to transform into a true winter wonderland this December. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Miracle and help give locals a way to celebrate the season like never before.”
Davina van Buren is an award-winning travel and food writer. Follow her on social media @HighPointFoodie.