How We Do Friendsgiving: Daniel Kutch + A-K Hada

Nov 17, 2021Story: MARTINI & ROSSI® Art: Lizzie Munro

In light of the past year-and-a-half, getting to gather with dear friends over food and drink bears special significance in 2021—and makes this year’s Friendsgiving one worth celebrating properly. In this spirit of “going big,” why not cap off the occasion with a large-format cocktail that epitomizes the communal table? Here, Daniel Kutch, MARTINI & ROSSI East Coast brand ambassador, and A-K Hada, North American ambassador of rums for BACARDÍ, describe their favorite elements of this holiday that brings together one’s “chosen family,” as Hada puts it, and offer their recipe for an autumnal punch that leans deep on the best of fall’s flavors, for a festive drink meant to be shared.

What’s one thing you love about Friendsgiving?
Daniel Kutch: It feels like one of the least commercially driven holidays that really relies on gathering loved ones around sharing food, drinks and appreciating each other’s company.
A-K Hada: I don’t always get to go home to my actual family for Thanksgiving, so I love being able to celebrate with my chosen family! A lot of my friends are chefs and bartenders, so the food and wine and cocktails are always delicious, and often a tad nontraditional.

Tell us about this punch—what’s your inspiration behind this recipe? How do Martini & Rossi Ambrato and Bacardí Ocho play into the flavor profile of the finished drink?
DK: M&R Ambrato has a nuanced flavor profile, with the addition of Moscato d’Asti to the vermouth’s wine base. This adds some natural sweetness, [while] aromatics from the grape pair really well with Roman chamomile and Chinese rhubarb. Once we add in the orchard fruit flavors and some spice/vanilla components of Bacardí Ocho, it becomes a delicious autumn-inspired tipple.
AKH: The fall season always has so many wonderful flavors to offer. We went fairly classic with orchard fruit, herbal tea and rosemary. Martini & Rossi Riserva Speciale Ambrato has gorgeous honey and spice notes that really bring out the richness in Bacardí Ocho. They’re two of my favorite spirits to pair together.

What are key supplies to have on hand for entertaining and drink-making?
DK: Aside from the necessities like citrus, garnishes, glassware and ice—don’t forget to serve snacks, and have nonalcoholic options for your friends.
AKH: A punch is always a good call for entertaining because it’s festive and everyone can serve themselves. Aside from the liquid itself, the key to a good punch is also quality ice. The larger the cubes or blocks, the colder and better-diluted it will be.

"A punch is always a good call for entertaining because it’s festive and everyone can serve themselves."

Any tips for creating cocktails at home during the holiday season?
DK: Use more vermouth! The category has so much range, from extra-dry to sweet, with a lot of flavors that will blend nicely with ingredients we love during the holiday season (apple, cinnamon, cranberry, etc.).
AKH: Balance is key to making a great cocktail. My tip, if you wanted to take it up a notch, would be to find a classic cocktail that you know you love and get creative with the sweetener! An Ocho Old-Fashioned is delicious, but an Ocho Old-Fashioned with cinnamon syrup and pecan bitters adds a little something special. Can never go wrong with a great Champagne cocktail, too!

Favorite side?
DK: “Dressing”—not stuffing from inside the turkey.
AKH: Does gravy count?

The main event or leftovers?
DK: Main event.
AKH: Main event!

After-dinner activity of choice?
DK: Nap, unavoidable.
AKH: Watching whatever movie is playing on cable. I feel like it always ends up being The Mummy.

Best kind of pie?
DK & AKH: Pecan.

Dream Friendsgiving guest?
DK: Alex Trebek (past), Seth Rogen (present).
AKH: Celebrity guest? Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Orchard Tea Punch
A-K Hada and Daniel Kutch | New York

This celebratory punch reads like a list of fall’s greatest hits: orchard fruit, rosemary, spice, all on an autumnal foundation of vermouth di Torino and aged rum. Martini & Rossi Riserva Speciale Ambrato lends honey notes and floral aromatics, while Bacardí Ocho brings the richness. As Hada says, “They’re two of my favorite spirits to pair together.”

Shop this recipe
Servings: 16 to 20

1 liter Bacardí Ocho
750ml Martini & Rossi Riserva Speciale Ambrato vermouth
500ml grapefruit and apple oleo saccharum (see Editor’s Note)
250ml rooibos tea, steeped and cooled
750ml French perry or pear cider

Garnish: lemon wheels studded with cloves, rosemary, and fresh grated nutmeg.


1. Refrigerate all ingredients so they are well-chilled when you combine to make the punch.
2. Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl over one 5-by-5-inch ice block, or several large cubes of ice.
3. Top the punch bowl with spiced lemon wheels and rosemary garnishes.
4. Stir and ladle punch into individual cups over a single ice cube, and add freshly grated nutmeg to each serving.

Grapefruit and Apple Oleo Saccharum

Combine 500 grams grapefruit peels and 1000 grams granulated sugar in a nonreactive container, and let rest overnight. After the sugar–grapefruit peel mixture has rested, in a pot over medium heat, combine the mixture with 1000ml freshly pressed green apple juice, stirring just until the sugar is dissolved. Strain out the peels, then bottle.


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