By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Nov 21, 2022 at 1:02 PM

Snuggle up with some holiday cheer as OnMilwaukee shares stories of everything merry and bright in the spirit of the season.

The OnMilwaukee Ho Ho Holiday Guide is brought to you by Educators Credit Union, Harley-Davidson Museum and MillerCoors

Everyone knows the best way to spread Christmas cheer is by singing loud for all to hear. But if there’s anything that comes even remotely close, it’s probably the “Elf”-themed holiday pop-up which will take place at Lost Whale, 2151 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., Tuesday, Dec. 6th through Saturday the 31st.

“'Elf' is singlehandedly our favorite Christmas movie," says co-owner Trip Duval, as we discuss the bar's festive decor, which will be inspired (of course) by key scenes in the movie. 

Elf Pop-UpX

For instance, you can be assured that the stars atop the Christmas trees are the direct result of running and leaping off of couches. And the snowflakes which hang from the ceiling were all meticulously hand-cut from real paper and hung in the dead of night while the mall the bar was closed.

Suffice it to say, there's a little bit of magic (and a whole lotta tinsel) everywhere, even in the decor that you might ordinarily overlook.

For instance, few people know that the portrait of Duval's "Great Uncle Charlie" which hangs on the back wall, is really a portrait of Santa Claus (and not-at-all like the imposter from the movie who sits on his throne of lies).

Santa at Lost WhaleX

In fact, what most people don't know about Santa is that he leaves the comforts of the North Pole's candy cane forest and spends the balmy months of June and July whale watching along the coast of Washington State.

Festive tipples

And – of course – there will be cocktails.

"There are so many good food related moments in the movie," adds Duval. "So, we decided to  to turn them all into drinks.”

As a result, you can be assured that all of the cocktails on the menu are comprised with ingredients from all the main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup. 

Here are some of the festively quaffable options on the menu:

This riff on a mai thai is sure to get the holiday spirit running through your veins thanks to a bit of rum, some housemade chestnut orgeat, cream sherry and root beer bitters. Best of all, it will be served poured atop a big ole handmade snow ball.

Son of a nutcracker

Is there anything more festive than an arctic puffin? Maybe not. But a grasshopper might be easier to drink. Lost Whale’s will feature the usual players like brandy, creme de menthe, creme de cacao plus house coconut blend and orange bitters. And yes, it will come topped with housemade whipping cream. But that’s not all, you’ll also get a bonus fudge pop tart and candy cane as garnish.

Arctic PuffinX

Oh, well. You’ll probably also smell like meat and cheese after you enjoy this quaff made with Old Forester 100 proof bourbon, Wisconsin maple demerara syrup, trinity and blackstrap bitters and a whiff of cedar smoke. After all, it’s served up with a festive garnish of a cheese curd and a Slim Jim.

You sit on a throne of liesX

You’ll look so nice in your purpley holiday dress sipping on this warming tipple made with Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition Irish Whisky spiked with Stone Creek coffee and single bean origin hot cacao. It’s ultra creamy thanks to a bit of oat milk and chipotle cacao and cherry bark vanilla bitters offer complexity. It's literally overflowing with house-made whipped cream, rainbow sprinkles and mini marshmallows.

World's Greatest Cup of CoffeeX

If you think you should skip this round of holiday cheer, think again. Like cookie dough, it's made the old fashioned way with real eggs before being spiked with house-made spiced rum, Spanish brandy and all the warming spices you’ve been craving. Best of all, it’s topped with gobs of red and green M&M’s. 


Everyone’s a member of the cotton-headed ninny muggins club when they sip on this gin and juice. Gin meets fresh lemon juice and winter-spiced cranberry in this cocktail enhanced by Jamaican #1 bitters, Spanish Reserva Cava and topping of cotton candy harvested fresh from the sea of twirly-swirly gumdrops.

Cotton Headed Ninny MugginsX

The Lost Whale "Elf" pop-up is open Dec. 6 through the end of the year. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.