If you’re a Christmas fanatic, and you haven’t been to Miracle on Jefferson yet, you’re in for an epiphany. Miracle itself is a holiday experience with pop-ups all over the globe. But the Copper Spoon team brought it to Downtown Fort Wayne, where Miracle on Jefferson takes over the Sidecar each holiday season, adding their team’s own personal flair.
Adorned with flamboyant Christmas decor, the Miracle tent is the perfect spot to get the most feliz out of your Navidad. The immersive pop-up is surprisingly cozy (for being inside a tent), complete with fireplace, all the holiday hits, and the highest caliber Christmas-inspired cocktails this side of the North Pole. Each drink is served in festive, often-silly drinkware, adding to the overall aesthetic and laid-back vibe.
It’s a great way to loosen up before caroling, or the perfect nightcap to a day of festivities.
I came a-wassailing to talk with Copper Spoon owner, Gary Skeel, about Miracle and how his team is bringing the Christmas spirit to Fort Wayne, one libation at a time.
Molly: For starters, I want to say that I love Miracle on Jefferson and the mix of kitschy holiday memorabilia and artful cocktails. It’s such a fun juxtaposition. For anyone who hasn’t been before, can you describe the Miracle experience?
Gary: It’s really a way to embrace the holidays. The Copper Spoon team, we’re all local, like a small family. But Miracle is actually part of something bigger. It’s a global franchise with pop-ups operated at the local level by restaurants and bars all over the world.
At the heart of it, Miracle is all about embodying the spirit of Christmas, making those fun holiday cocktails, and giving back.
At the end of the season, we’re able to donate to our local food bank. And then every year, the Miracle franchise also picks an organization to give back to. This year, it’s the Seva Foundation, which is a global non-profit that provides eye care to people in need. It’s pretty cool, and it’s something new each year.
It’s all about the holiday spirit of giving. I think that’s what America is all about.
Molly: That’s great! I had no idea you donated to Community Harvest. Can you talk a little more about that?
Gary: Yeah! We’ve done that a couple of different ways. We run collection services for them, gathering canned and dry goods. And at the end of the year, we write them a check for a charitable amount. That number isn’t based on anything specific. We just donate what we can.
We felt like it was important to make a local impact, not just on a global scale. You can’t forget about home, you know?
Molly: That’s excellent! What inspired you and the Copper Spoon team to bring Miracle to Jefferson Boulevard?
Gary: For us, it was a matter of utilizing the space we already have. We have the Side Car that’s only open when weather permits. So we started thinking of ways to operate in that space with a heated tent during colder months.
It just so happened that we had a few bartenders who had worked Miracle pop-ups in other cities. They were really enthusiastic about how much fun it was to work, and they really thought Fort Wayne would support it.
It didn’t take much to get the ball rolling from there. It seemed like a great way to fill the void that the Sidecar leaves behind each season. The Miracle brand was polished, and the concept was easy to implement. It was something new that we didn’t have to overthink. All we had to figure out was how to decorate.
Molly: It’s such a popular destination throughout the holidays. Why do you think it’s so appealing to your customers?
Gary: I think what makes it special is that the holiday season is so short, you know? Some people may only have one chance to make it downtown to experience all the holiday festivities, so they really want to pack it in. They might have dinner reservations, they might have just finished with some holiday shopping, or maybe they’re downtown for Night of Lights or Festival of Trees—they end up making Miracle a stop on their list.
It’s also just really fun. It’s like we threw up Christmas in that tent. It’s everywhere! There’s glitter, and lights, and decorations, and Christmas music… There are people who come all dressed up. Everything and everyone around you embraces the spirit.
Molly: What’s your most standout Miracle memory since you started?
Gary: You know, there isn’t one specific memory that grabs me, but I remember in 2020 when COVID hit, they were starting to let up on restrictions around the same time we were thinking of opening up.
There was so much uncertainty, but being in a tent was actually a little more acceptable. We had to social distance, but we still had a lot of people who wanted to come. They really wanted to be out.
The turnout was so great that we had to cap our capacity. Even with all the masks and extra rules, we had a really great Miracle season. So for me, that was really memorable: how people showed up and wanted to celebrate together.
Molly: If I’m correct, the menu varies year-to-year, right?
Gary: Yeah, Miracle alters their menu and recipes every year. The menu, created by Cocktail Kingdom, comes from Miracle’s headquarters in New York. We always taste them all before to make sure they’re right for us, but we never really have to do a lot of tweaking. They know what they’re doing.
Molly: How cool! Cocktail Kingdom is pretty legendary in the world of mixology. No wonder all the drinks are delicious! What’s your favorite drink on this year’s menu?
Gary: This year, I’d say the Christmas Cricket is my favorite. It has chocolate notes and tequila, which sounds so weird, but it works so well together.
Molly: Alright, last question—how long does your holiday season run, and do you think Miracle on Jefferson will be back again next year?
Gary: We’ve fine tuned our schedule over the years based on demand. We used to tear it all down and redecorate for New Year’s, but it took so much time, and we found that people still wanted to see the holiday decor. So this year, you can find the Miracle theme up through New Year’s Eve, which is our official last day.
We hope to have a long running relationship with Miracle. It’s a great use of our space. So as long as people keep enjoying it, we’ll keep doing it.
Check out Miracle on Jefferson for yourself! They’re open Tuesday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. — closed for Christmas Eve and Christmas day.
Molly Conner is a Fort Wayne native and freelance writer. Having lived in Downtown Fort Wayne throughout her twenties, she loves watching her stomping grounds grow. With her love of storytelling and community in tow, she’s eager to tell Downtown Fort Wayne’s story piece-by-piece—exploring the people, spaces, and organizations that make it thrive.