From intimate dinners to full-on fêtes, the holidays are peak time for entertaining. And, because nothing sets the tone of a party like a festive cocktail, we enlisted the team at Hella Cocktail Co.—a Brooklyn-based cocktail company offering non-alcoholic mixes, syrups, and bitters—for their favorite recipe of the season.
Their pick? A large-format (serves 12 people) punch inspired by the rum swizzle, a traditional rum-based Caribbean cocktail. However, instead of being anchored by rum alone, Hella's version centers on scotch, and also includes pineapple juice, lime juice, honey syrup, club soda, and the company's own Hella Smoked Chili Bitters.
“During the holiday season," Tobin Ludwig, one of the brand’s three founders, told DEPARTURES, "a lot of the imbibing is dark flavor-focused, like apple and cinnamon and egg nogs. We wanted to keep it on the brighter side, and give a recipe that’s a nice slice of the tropics in the middle of winter. The pineapple and lime create this transportive flavor profile, and the Smoked Chili Bitters add some heat and additional smoke to the drink."
The company's Smoked Chili Bitters in particular—made with Pasilia de Oaxaca chilis, a long pepper that’s dried and smoked in Oaxaca, Mexico—add a unique flavor that's spicy, smokey, and savory at once. "It was like love at first taste with this pepper," Ludwig says. "It’s one of the most special ingredients and one of the most rare ingredients that we use."
Read on for the recipe.
Hella Cocktail Co. Holiday Punch
18 oz scotch
6 oz aged rum
24 oz pineapple juice
9 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
6 oz honey syrup*
2 oz Hella Smoked Chili Bitters, or more to taste.
24 oz club soda
How to make it
In a large pitcher or punch bowl—at least 1 gallon volume—combine spirits, juices, honey syrup, and bitters. Stir well and chill. Prior to serving, stir in club soda and add a large piece of ice, or garnish the punch with any fruit you’d like. For the holidays, we find a whole pineapple particularly festive. Serves 12.
*Honey Syrup Recipe
In a glass jar or bowl, combine 5 oz honey with 5 oz hot water. Stir until honey is completely dissolved. Makes about 7 oz. Keep refrigerated; the syrup will last for about five days.
Hella Cocktail Co. is a member of the American Express® Platinum Collective, an advisory board that helps create experiences and benefits for Platinum Card® Members.