Sippin' Santa has officially hit Toronto with boozy tiki drinks and a giant steam-spewing Moai statue, and it's kind of the best thing ever—if you like getting drunk off rum cocktails.
From the outside, the bar looks dead—depressing, even—making the barrage of Christmas decor and Santa-on-a-surfboard imagery unpredictable yet totally welcome.
Making its debut in Toronto, Sippin' Santa follows in the footsteps of its sister event Miracle (which is happening this year on Ossington), marking the 27th city in North America to participate in this totally ridiculous but awesome franchise that mashes two very kitschy commercial extravaganzas together. Toronto's version is a joint project between Nick Kennedy, Alfred Siu, and Alana Nogueda, the respective owners of Civil Liberites, Project Gigglewater and Shameful Tiki Room, with an M.O. of "50-50 Christmas-Tiki".
It's pretty clear that Nogueda's expertise in this popular cross-cultural aesthetic takes the reigns here, and if you've ever been to Shameful Tiki, you'll find that the two projects feel pretty similar, with sultry red-lit vibes and the occasional volcanic smokeshow.
You'll be greeted by a giant Moai head that spews smoke every now and then.
Walls decked out in Christmas gift wrap and shiny tinsel meet a thatched roof bar and hanging vinyls of classic Hawaiian tunes like Billy Vaughn's Pearl Shells, or Aloha Hawaii by the Waikiki Boys.
In terms of cocktails, expect big and boozy drinks served in some hilarious mugs that would definitely make the OG of tiki cocktails, Jeff "Beachbum" Berry proud.
The signature Sippin' Santa ($16) is a mix of aged Demerara rum, Amaro, lemon juice, OJ and gingerbread mix in a hefty sunglass-clad Santa mug.
The Shaka Kalikimaka ($17) is a frozen slush and is definitely my favourite—mostly because it has 3 oz of alcohol—made with London dry gin, Allspice dram, orange and cognac liquer, and cranberry syrup.
The Papa Noel ($17) offers up tequila, apricot brandy, pineapple juice and cardmom bitters in a pearl diver glass (mini wooden surfboard included).
For groups of two to four people is the Jingle Bowl ($45), an epic shareable made with rum, apple brandy, amaro, a mix of fruit juices and angostura bitters, with a total of 7 oz of alcohol.
There are some Christmas cookie platters and other snacks for sale, but let's be real, the booze is the main atraction here. It should also be noted that $1 for every drink sold goes to Nellie's Women's Shelter.
Rather than embrace the coldness of winter, a better idea might be to live in denial and embrace the fantasy of Christmas in the tropics at Sippin' Santa. Forget the North Pole and sleighbells ringing, Kris Kringle needs a vacay and a cocktail, and so do you.
by Tanya Mok via blogTO