Thanksgiving Cocktails, Boston Strong, With Some Italians And An African Coming To Dinner

bullyThis Thanksgiving 2014, take it easy shoveling the snow and kick back and imbibe some clever cocktails for before and after the Thanksgiving feast. Save the wine for the meal!

Monsters and Critics has found some exceptional craft spirits and some mass market winners who have presented perfect cocktail before and after dinner drinks for any mixologist to tackle. We found a Panamanian rum, award winning tequila, South African cream liqueur, Italian classics and some popular vodkas to work with.

The best newcomer rum blended spirit we have discovered hails from Boston, Massachusetts. The state is having quite an explosion in quality craft distilleries and Bully Boy leads the pack. The latest release from Boston’s first craft distillery, Bully Boy Distillers, is a unique rum infusion called Hub Punch that revives the historic pre-Prohibition libation of the same name and pays homage to Boston’s rich distilling history.

Bully Boy Distillers is owned and operated by brothers Will and Dave Willis, who were inspired by their childhood home and fourth-generation working family farm. As homage to the farm, the distillery is named after Bully Boy, a favorite farm workhorse. Will and Dave’s great-grandfather named his beloved horse using a term coined by his college roommate Teddy Roosevelt – “Bully” – meaning superb or wonderful.  Their story begins during prohibition, where their farm was home to an enviable collection of local artisan spirits, which were stored in a vault in the farmhouse basement.

Their Boston Rum is made with blackstrap molasses, and is aged in a blend of used bourbon and red wine barrels, and the final product has a fruity complexity, a subtle vanilla note, and a bit of sweetness. Bully Boy Distillers uses a 600 liter copper pot still to create spirits with complexity and character. Their libations are handmade in small, numbered batches.  As I have noted in other spirits coverage, these used casks are worth their weight in gold, as craft distillers and the big boys from Scotland and France are vying for the same inventory.

The cocktail for Thanksgiving we fell in love with?

Inspired by the original Hub Punch recipe popular in the late 1800’s, Bully Boy Hub Punch, this barrel aged rum infused with fruits and botanicals, revives a historic Boston tradition that was a casualty of Prohibition. Originally concocted at the now defunct Hub Hotel, Bostonians typically enjoyed Hub Punch mixed with soda water, ginger ale, or lemonade.

To create Hub Punch, Bully Boy takes their aged Boston Rum and infuses it with citrus flavors and botanicals for a sweet yet complex flavor that’s perfect for pairing with at-home ingredients. This historical drink can be served as a single cocktail, or can be multiplied to create a batch big enough to accommodate all Thanksgiving guests.

Hub Punch Cocktail


  • 1.5 oz. Bully Boy Hub Punch
  • 3 oz. ginger ale
  • 3 oz. soda water

Combine ingredients and serve over ice in rocks glass. Garnish with mint.

The after-dinner drinks are sweeter and usually a great swap for a second piece of pie. Frangelico was made for the holidays, so fragrant, complex and sweet and can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks and in coffee. But it can make intriguing cocktails too.

Frangelico, a premium Italian hazelnut liqueur, has origins dating back over 300 years ago to Christian monks in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy. Tonda Gentile hazelnuts, grown in the Langhe are used to obtain the distillate for this delicious liqueur. This variety is known for being bigger, plumper and more uniform, with a skin that sheds easily – perfect for toasting without a bitter taste.

The hazelnuts, once toasted and distilled with alcohol, are married with cocoa, coffee and vanilla (according to the secret recipe) and transformed into Frangelico. The light golden liquid has intense hazelnut aromas, a rich texture and pronounced but delicate hazelnut flavor with hints of vanilla and dark chocolate.

Spicy Nut

spiced nut

Shake and serve up in a martini glass garnished with cinnamon and orange peel.



  • 3 Scoops Vanilla Ice Cream
  • 1 Cup Espresso
  • 1 1/4 oz. Frangelico

Pour Frangelico and espresso over ice cream and serve.

Nutty Irish Woman

nutty irish woman

  • 1 oz. Frangelico
  • 1 oz. Irish Cream
  • 1 Vanilla Bean pod

Pour Frangelico and Carolan’s into a rocks glass and stir with vanilla bean.


Tequila Partida was named Distillery of the Year in 2009 by Wine Enthusiast and one of the top five distilleries in the world in 2010 by Spirit Journal, The distillery has now become an award-winning brand. The estate-bottled tequila is 100 percent blue agave, made from plants that have aged from seven to 10 years.  Partida was founded by a San Francisco-based entrepreneur who appreciated fine Mexican tequila.

Their Blanco tequila is produced (and poured into bottles by hand) and the rest is set aside to age, six months for Partida Reposado, 18 months for Añejo, and 36 months for Elegante Extra Añejo. The result is a clean and crisp flavor. The blanco tequila is floral with notes of citrus; the reposado has subtle flavors of chocolate, hazelnut, and almond; the añejo has notes of cherry and honey fruit tones; and the extra añejo has notes of dark chocolate.

Seven Layer Cookie Cocktail

  • 3/4 ounceGodiva® Liqueur
  • 3/4 ounce coconut rum
  • 1/2 ounce Butterscotch Schnapps
  • 1/2 ounce Partida Anejo Tequila
  • 1/4 ounce Frangelico
  • 1/2 ounce Amarula Cream
  • 1/2 ounce Amaretto
  • *cookie crumbs, for garnish

Garnish rim of a martini glass with crushed cookie crumbs.
Shake all ingredients in a shaker with ice and strain into martini glass.

Babbo’s Toddy


Created by Erick Castro, Boilermaker, NYC

  • ½ oz. Campari
  • ½ oz. Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon
  • 1 oz. Sweet Vermouth
  • ¾ oz. Cinnamon Syrup*

*To make cinnamon simple syrup, bring 4 cinnamon sticks, one cup sugar and one cup water to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool.

Build ingredients into warm 8 ½ oz. mug and top with boiling water. Garnish with an orange slice.

*To make cinnamon simple syrup, bring 4 cinnamon sticks, one cup sugar and one cup water to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool.

Build ingredients into warm 8 ½ oz. mug and top with boiling water. Garnish with an orange slice.

vodka_bottleNew Amsterdam Vodka is a rising star in the spirits world, and despite some heat from pop star Pitbull who is suing over a drink name they used 9see below), the company makes a solid vodka that is smooth and tastes great neat too.

Black Diamond


  • 2 parts New Amsterdam Vodka
  • 1/2 part sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 part fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 part maple syrup


Shake ingredients very well with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish: lemon peel

The Amsterdam Mule


  • 2 oz. New Amsterdam® Vodka
  • 3 oz. ginger beer
  • 0.5 oz. simple syrup
  • 0.5 oz. fresh lime juice
  • Sprig of mint

Instructions: Pour vodka over ice. Add simple syrup & lime juice. Top with ginger beer and stir. Spank mint sprig (to release aromas) & add as garnish. Serve in Mule mug or metal mug

The Pit Bull

  • 2 parts New Amsterdam Vodka
  • 1/2 part fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 part ruby red grapefruit juice
  • 2 parts lemon-lime soda


Build ingredients directly into tall glass with ice and stir briefly. Garnish: grapefruit slice (optional). Call attorney.


Selvarey’s Cacao Rum is a smooth operator, a five-year potion aged in bourbon casks and infused with the finest Panamanian cacao. It was made for holiday drinks. Selvarey Cacao rum is unlike any flavored spirit. in that the quality of the ingredients elevates it to a mixer extraordinaire and a neat sipper to accompany Thanksgiving desserts (see above)!



‘Rey Café

selvarey-selva-cafeServed hot or chilled, as an after dinner treat or an afternoon pick me up, this delicately balanced coffee drink is delicious anytime.

  • 1.5 oz Selvarey Cacao
  • 1 oz Espresso, cold brew or strong coffee
  • 1 oz unsweetened coconut milk
  • 0.5 oz simple syrup or sugar to taste

Mix and serve hot or on ice. Garnish with grated cinnamon.

The Chocolate Pumpkin

selv la

This exceptional newcomer is from Beelman’s Pub in DTLA and is the perfect Thanksgiving Eve cocktail…

  • 2 oz Selvarey Rum White
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup
  • 3/4 oz pumpkin spice
  • Topped with 1/2 oz Selvarey Rum Cacao whipped with 3/4 oz cream

Frauds & Swindlers

  • 0.75 oz. Selvarey Cacao Rum
  • 1.50 oz. Selvarey White Rum
  • 0.25 oz. Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
  • Pinch of fresh mint

Melrose Umbrella Co. created this masterpiece! Stir all ingredients in an ice-filled mixing glass. Strain into a coupe. Garnish with a mint sprig.


Welcome the ultimate cream liqueur this season, made from a fruit!  Amarula Cream is a South African success story. Sweet, creamy, and vibrantly fruity on the palate, with notes of caramel, peppery spice, and citrus, it has an irresistible taste all its own.  Made from the marula fruit, a small, yellow, oval-shaped fruit indigenous to South Africa. Twice distilled and aged for two years in French oak barrels, the liquid is combined with fresh dairy cream to create Amarula Cream.

The fruit comes from the marula tree (Scelerocarya birrea).  By mid-February, the yellow-skinned, white-fleshed fruits are ripe for plucking. Elephants are crazy for this fruit and pick it if none has fallen to the ground.

Harvest time is from late January to March.  The fruit is crushed from the kernel, and the flesh separated from the skins before being fermented in the same way that pressed grapes are fermented to make wine. The ‘wine’ is double distilled and matured in small oak casks for 2 years before being blended with fresh cream.

Its oil-rich kernel is called the ‘food of kings’, its fruit is sky-high in Vitamin C, and locals believe its tree bark can aid expectant mothers in determining the sex of their unborn child.

In South Africa, drinkers typically enjoy Amarula neat or over-ice at the end of a long day or a big meal.  ​The Cointreau in this recipe compliments the light citrus notes of the Amarula incredibly well, and makes for an interesting take on a classic cocktail. With the holiday season around the corner, this is a fun drink to bring to the table for after-dinner sipping (see 7 Layer Cookie drink recipe above too!).

The Amarula Swinging Safari

The Amarula Swinging Safari

  • ◦Ice Cubes
  • 2 ½ oz Amarula Cream
  • 1 ¼ oz Cointreau liqueur
  • ½ oz Vodka

Add all ingredients into cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into a rocks glass.

And for those watching their weight, and sugar carbs there is SkinnyGirl, and some festive fun drinks for the people who are counting the calories.

Whether you’re spending Thanksgiving with family, or hosting your own Friendsgiving, no meal is complete without the perfect cocktail.
Here are the latest from Skinnygirl Cocktails and Sauza Tequila to help you toast to everything you’re thankful for with the festive Thanksgiving-inspired cocktails below.

Sauza Pumpkin Pie-tini

  • Sauzar Pumpkin Pie-tini1 ½ parts Sauza® Blue Reposado 100% Agave Tequila
  • 3 parts cream
  • ½ part Torani® Pumpkin Spice Syrup
  • 1 part simple syrup
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • Whipped Cream and cinnamon for garnish (optional)

Preparation: Shake all ingredients vigorously with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Top with whipped cream and cinnamon (optional). Enjoy!

Cranberry Orange Margarita

  • Cranberry Orange Margarita1 ½ parts Sauza® Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila
  • ½ part DeKuyper® Triple Sec
  • 4 parts cranberry juice
  • 2 parts orange juice
  • 2 oranges
  • ½ cup cranberries, frozen
  • 2 tbsp. sugar

Preparation: First make your garnishes. Freeze ½ cup of cranberries. Using a channel knife cut a long spiral from on orange (see if you can make it all the way in one try!) and cut into 6 inch pieces. Twist the peels around your bar spoon and reserve for garnish.

Zest the other orange with a spice grater to remove just the peel and none of the pith and combine with sugar.

Cut the zested orange into wedges. Rub a wedge of orange around half the rim of your glasses. Roll the glasses through the sugared orange zest.

In a shaker, combine the rest of the sugar and orange zest mixture with the cranberry juice, orange juice, Sauza® Blue Silver, orange liqueur, and the juice from the orange. Twist the orange peel over the drink and place on the prepared glass. Top with frozen cranberries and serve your cocktail! Salud!

Pumpkin Spice Sipper

Pumpkin Spice Sipper

  • 1 ½ parts Skinnygirl® Bare Naked Vodka
  • 1 part canned unsweetened pumpkin
  • ¾ part fat free sweetened condensed milk
  • ¾ part unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ tbsp pumpkin pie spice

Preparation: Shake ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

Turkey Day Toast


  • 3 parts Skinnygirl® Prosecco, chilled
  • 1 part grapefruit juice, chilled
  • 1 part cranberry juice
  • 1 part ginger ale
  • Grapefruit slice for garnish

Preparation: Mix all juice ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Top with Skinnygirl® Prosecco and ginger ale. Garnish with grapefruit slice and enjoy!