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.