Sippin’ Santa Brings a Christmas Tiki Pop-up Experience

Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on December 6, 2023.

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Christmas popup bars are a dime a dozen these days, and we almost always treat new concepts with a bit of suspicion.

But when we heard the international charity pop-up, Miracle Bar, was launching a second concept, we were interested. When we heard that it would be called Sippin' Santa and was going to be tiki themed, we were in.

Naturally, we went to this one as quickly as we could after it open for the season. With tiki classics, unique house creations with tropical themes, and profits going to charity, this certainly makes for a different kind of pop-up bar that we hope will return in future seasons!

Tiki Christmas Cocktails at Sippin' Santa

Sippin Santa Pittsburgh

Walking into Sippin' Santa, you'll instantly feel transported to a tropical island with a tiki bar on the beach.

Palm-based decorations are aplenty with tasteful and not overblown in the slightest Christmas decorations scattered about. Is this one going to give its sister bar, Miracle on 6th, a run for its money in the decor department? Absolutely not. But for its first year, this one started out with a decent design that we expect will be added to in future years (if the concept comes back for a season two, of course).

So, how about those cocktails?

Hot Buttered Rum and Jingle Bird

During our first visit, we sampled three- the Sippin' Santa, the Jingle Bird, and the Ho Ho Hot Buttered Rum. 

The Ho Ho Hot Buttered Rum featured navy strength rum with spiced honey butter, vanilla, and passionfruit for a tropical take on the classic winter drink. Admittedly, while the flavors were on point here, the drink felt like it was not as heavy in the body (or alcohol) as what we would've expected from navy-strength rum. Good flavor? Absolutely. Strong? Well, that is up for some debate and made us do a double-take.

The Jingle Bird was the house riff on the tiki classic Jungle Bird- a personal favorite of ours for tiki. This version contained bourbon, pineapple rum, Campari, lime, pineapple, and a proprietary “jingle mix” of fruits. We never quite got a straight answer on what the jingle mix contained, but the flavors of this one came together for a nice, acidic drink that transported us straight to a beach. 

Sippin Santa Cocktail with Surfin Santa Mug

The namesake, Sippin' Santa, was our favorite of the bunch. This one contained aged Demerara rum, amaro, lemon, orange, and a gingerbread mix. The amaro and rum were balanced perfectly with the citrus, and the gingerbread flavor was a minor secondary note that came out, to us at least, with just the right amount of flavor that otherwise could've overpowered the drink if used too heavily. As a bonus, the Surfin' Santa mug that it came in is an absolute joy, and we left with one as a souvenir (many mugs are available for purchase).

As with most tiki experiences, our only regret is that many of the cocktails we wanted to try contained falernum or orgeat (both with nuts) that we avoid due to Angie's tree nut allergy. Many of these honestly caught our attention the most (like Merry Spritzmas and Sharkey's First Christmas, containing falernum and walnut liqueur, respectively), but because we were sharing, we had to miss out what is likely the best parts of the pop-up.

Still, as lovers of all things tiki, we are pleased to see a concept blend the vibes of a tiki bar with Christmas. This is truly a different pop-up than all others out there!

Sippin' Santa is located at 490 Wood Street in 2023.

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