Bostonians typically enjoyed Hub Punch mixed with soda water, ginger ale or lemonade. The Willis
brothers consulted a variety of historical accounts of Hub Punch to craft a spirit that pays homage to the
traditional recipe and spirit of pre-Prohibition Boston. Hub Punch is fruit-forward, with the botanicals
providing tea-like undertones ideal for mixing with both dry and sweet mixing agents.
Bully Boy uses only bottles handmade in Boston. “It all serves as dual-purpose, to tie to the
history of spirits in Boston and that we are local,” says Dave Willis.
But being local isn’t the most important criteria, he adds. First and foremost, people want to
buy something that is of the highest quality.
CLASSIC AND SIGNATURE COCKTAILS
There aren’t many challenges to using craft spirits. More thought, however, should be put
into what is mixed, shaken or stirred with the spirit. Many craft spirits are great on their own,
because they have layers of flavor, spices and floral elements. Mixers or bitters should be chosen
to complement the spirit, and carefully measured so that it doesn’t get lost.
Julia McElroy, head bartender at Grand Isle, New Orleans, takes traditional classic cocktails
and uses craft spirits to inject new flavor profiles. For example, her mint julep is muddled mint
leaves, Angel’s Envy bourbon and 18. 21 Bitters Lemon Basil Rich Simple Syrup. “Many classic
cocktails are simple in their concept, so there’s no need to add too many ingredients to reinvent
them. Rather, simply enhance them,” she says.
She also creates signature cocktails such as Southern Breeze. The recipe uses Cathead Honeysuckle
Flavored Vodka, freshly squeezed lime juice, freshly squeezed lemon juice, housemade blood orange
syrup and 18. 21 Bitters Watermelon Mint Shrub. “Even though I’m making a signature cocktail, I want
the guest to enjoy the drink and taste each ingredient,” McElroy says.
Stephanie Rich, general manager at Red Lion Grog House, Indianapolis, has a drink special
every night, with Tuesday dubbed Hotel Tango Tuesday. She features Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery’s
gin, rum and vodka, and patrons can order any kind of drink.
“It made sense for us to feature Hotel Tango, because guests were asking for their spirits when
we didn’t stock them,” Rich says. “It was a no-brainer that we had to start offering it. Making it a
weekly special just makes sense, to highlight the spirits even more.”
oPPosi Te, ToP: The southern
breeze uses Cathead honeysuckle
flavored vodka, freshly squeezed lime
juice, freshly squeezed lemon juice,
housemade blood orange syrup and
18. 21 bitters watermelon Mint shrub.
oPPosi Te, bo TToM: The smokey
is Corsair Triple smoke american
Malt whiskey, vya vermouth, cherry
liqueur and and orange, from eureka!
above lef T: bully boy Distillers
has a 150-gallon still, which yields
approximately 120 bottles.
above righ T: Craft spirits can be
used in recipes such as chocolate fudge
cake with bully boy ice cream, espresso
sauce and bourbon sugar.
roB BeNeS, A CHICAgo-BASeD HoSPITAlITy INDUS Try wrITer, rePor TS oN reCIPe DeveloPMeNT, BeverAge ProgrAMS, BUSINeSS TreNDS,
eqUIPMeNT AND CHeFS For TrADe, eDUCATIoNAl AND CoNSUMer PUBlICATIoNS.