Last Updated on December 2, 2019 by Jeremy
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We have to be a bit honest in saying that the concept of a pop-up bar is becoming a bit overdone these days. In 2018, we had no fewer than six holiday pop-up bars in Pittsburgh and 2019 looks to be no different.
Thankfully, the new bars coming into the pop-up scene this year are being led by some of the city's finest bartenders. Chrismukkah in East Liberty is one such bar as it is managed by the team behind the bar program at Federal Galley (one of our favorite restaurants in the city).
Naturally, we went to this one as soon as they opened!
Chrismukkah Follows the Pop Up Mold With Delicious Cocktails
When you arrive at Chrismukkah, the first thing you'll notice is the space isn't filled with over-the-top decorations that span floor-to-ceiling like other pop-up bars. Instead, this one offers tasteful designs to celebrate both Christmas and Hannukah along with a welcoming seating area complete with holiday movings playing on the left-hand side a working fireplace on the right-hand side.
Minimal comforts are all we need to be happy, so we have no complaints about the theming here.
During our visit, we were able to sample four of the eight cocktails on the menu- Peace, Love and Jewish Donuts, Christmas Morning, Mother Ginger, and, our personal favorite, the Mala Ka-Tiki Maka.
Peace, Love, and Jewish Donuts featured vanilla-infused Boyd & Blair vodka with strawberry jam, lemon, and an egg white and was quite strong on the strawberry and vanilla flavor (just as a good jelly donut should be). Out of all of the cocktails we tried, this one seemed the smallest by volume- partly amplified due to the tall stemware it was served in. Ignoring this, it had some rather strong flavors that we quite enjoyed.
The Christmas Morning featured whiskey, cereal milk, and sugar cookie syrup and Angie equated it to that last sip of milk from your bowl of cereal, but boozy. While this one also had some great flavors, we have to admit that the creaminess of this one did not go that well side-by-side with the tartness of the donut cocktail- so we would recommend timing your order of this one appropriately, perhaps as an end of evening order on its own.
The Mother Ginger was a spirit-forward cocktail with ginger-infused bourbon, cinnamon syrup, and bitters, and was like a holiday-inspired Old Fashioned. Simple, to the point, and a robust ginger flavor all around.
But the real gem of all of these was the Mala Ka-Tiki Maka. This tiki-inspired drink had so much going on that you just need to check out the ingredient list in the menu below to see it all. The spam-washed rum, absinthe, arrack, and an assortment of flavors came together for a really well-developed cocktail that had a lot of depth. Insofar as you are not averse to any of the individual components (neither the spam nor absinthe were overwhelming, don't worry), this is the cocktail to get.
Another aspect of this bar that we love is that every cocktail is $11. While not the cheapest craft cocktail bar out there, we respect that the price is an approachable figure all the same (especially when you consider part of proceeds are going to charity- more on that below).
Beyond this, the bar also offers a limited amount of beer, shots, and other libations for those who are not in the cocktail mood; however, we have to admit that the selection is quite limited. So if you are visiting this one looking for something outside of cocktails, I would not go in expecting much.
Proceeds Go to Two Area Houses of Worship
Much like other pop-ups, Chrismukkah is raising funds for a good cause. 25% of proceeds are going to be donated to Tree of Life Synagogue and 25% to East Liberty First Presbyterian Church.
So if you prefer drinking for a cause this holiday season, a trip to Chrismukkah in Bakery Square should be on your radar. It is hard to say no to supporting local spots like these!
Overall, while this one follows the mold of traditional holiday pop-ups, it delivers with a more relaxed ambiance and a cocktail menu comparable to what you'd expect from Federal Galley. If you've tried the cocktails there and have been fans (like us), a trip to this one is for you. If you haven't and simply love good cocktails, well, you'd do right by visiting this one all the same.
Chrismukkah is a holiday pop-up bar in 2019 that is located at 19 Bakery Square Blvd in East Liberty/Shadyside. The pop-up is located in the same building as Millie's Summer of Soft Serve from earlier in the year.