By Bonnie MacPherson
If your cherished childhood memories of Christmas include excursions to view elaborate displays of brightly colored string lights and Christmas decorations, there is a special place where you can recapture those magical moments of wide-eyed wonder and astonishment while sipping a Christmasy cocktail.
In Ludlow, Vermont, Main + Mountain Bar & Motel Proprietor Justin Hyjek takes great enjoyment in watching guests walk into his cocktail bar on Main Street during the holiday season. Their expressions of amazement reveal how they are instantly transported through time to the Christmases of their youth.
Main + Mountain closes for stick season every year and reopens in time for the holidays (and the start of ski season) as Miracle on Main Street, a Christmas cocktail pop-up bar. It takes Hyjek and a half-dozen “elves” 40 to 60 hours to prepare for the transformation.
“We try to go over-the-top outrageous with lights and decorations,” said Hyjek. “We make it as kitschy as we possibly can.”
Once people get past the initial reactions of delight, they often ask what the popular cocktail bar does for other holidays like Easter and Valentine’s Day. Hyjek explains that it is only Christmas that gets this special attention at Main + Mountain.
The outside patio along Main Street receives the same decorating overindulgence as the inside. “Outdoors is my area,” said Hyjek. “I turn into Clark Griswold from ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.’
A menu of specialty holiday cocktails is available to be enjoyed indoors or on the patio around propane-fueled fire pits and Solo woodburning stoves. Cocktails are also available to-go and holiday drinkware is available for pur- chase as keepsakes or for giving as gifts. Cocktails found on the pun-filled specialty menu include the Christmapolitan, Elfing Around, Santa’s Little Helper and Snowball Old Fashion. There are also Naughty and Nice shots served in miniature Santa-head ceramic mugs, and the quirky Grandma Got Run Over By a T-Rex is served in a ceramic green dinosaur wearing a Santa hat.
Hyjek is quick to reveal that Miracle on Main Street was not his idea. Miracle is a collaboration with a professional barware business called Cocktail Kingdom. Hyjek met a representative from the company while attending a cocktail conference in Scotland several years ago. Miracle is a franchise that is available on a limited geographical radius and Miracle on Main Street is the only one of its kind in Vermont. This holiday season marks Miracle on Main Street’s fourth year of creating the ultimate Christmas must-visit destination.
“I can’t wait to see everybody, and spread the holly-jolly spirit,” said Hyjek.
Miracle on Main Street, a Christmas cocktail pop-up bar, opens on Friday, Nov. 25 and runs through Saturday, Dec. 31.
For more information, visit mainandmountain.com or follow @MainandMountain on Instagram.