Perfect Holiday Drink Recipes from the Bully Boy Craft Cocktail Competition

Just in time for the holiday season, we have five amazing drink recipes that are sure to make you merry (if you’re of legal drinking age, of course). 

In November, JWU students competed in the annual Bully Boy Craft Cocktail Competition sponsored by Bully Boy Distillers. The Boston-based company produces a wide assortment of spirits, and students used their premium products to develop some truly creative recipes for three judges to evaluate. Five teams each created a recipe for consideration and, even though only one could take the crown, we think they are all winning recipes that you should try this holiday. 

Competition Winner: The Boston Stone

By Chris Spielhagen ’23

This whiskey cocktail is representative of our rich history in Boston. Few people are familiar with the history and location of the Boston Stone. Next to the Green Dragon Tavern is a 24-inch in diameter stone with a one-inch hole drilled into it. This is a historical landmark that was used as a measuring point for all of Boston. I wanted this drink to have the sense of the briny/salty air you would experience walking along the waterfront.

Three glasses of the Boston Stone drink being poured through a strainer


Kelp Simple Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4 ounces Atlantic kelp 

1½ ounces Bully Boy Whiskey
1 whiskey stone
½ ounce kelp simple syrup
1 ounce Fever Tree Tonic water
½ ounce Bully Boy Amaro Rabarbaro
½ ounce fresh lemon juice
1 piece Atlantic kelp, 2-3 inches long
1 piece Atlantic kelp, 2 inches long, for garnish


Kelp Simple Syrup
1. Bring sugar and water to a boil.
2. Add two ounces of dehydrated kelp and allow to steep.
3. Puree simple syrup, strain with a chinois, and add the remaining two ounces of kelp to the strained syrup.
4. Allow syrup and kelp to cool before transferring to a squeeze bottle

1. Pre-freeze one whiskey stone and fill one high-ball glass with ice to chill.
2. Add the two-to-three-inch-long piece of kelp, whiskey, amaro rabarbaro, simple syrup and lemon juice to a glass
3. Top shaker with ice and shake for 10-15 seconds, agitating the kelp with the ingredients.
4. Remove ice from high ball glass, place stone in glass and strain drink into glass.
5. Top off glass with Fever Tree Tonic Water.
6. Garnish with one piece of kelp across the top and inside of one side of the glass.

Chef’s notes: Utilize dehydrated Atlantic kelp and lemon(s). Use Fever Tree Tonic Water for best results. 

Purple Bully Smash

By Patrick Stewart ’23

I was reading about the humble beginnings of Bully Boy’s American Straight Whiskey on their website. It described how it was stored year-round in a poorly insulated metal warehouse. However, the extreme fluctuations in heat from season to season helped in the aging process of the whiskey. At first, it reminded me of my time working in the mountains of Northern California and how it would be blazing hot in the day and then extremely cold at night — but that made the gardens tougher and more vibrant. I then started to think about how I have been experimenting for the past few years with moving my home herb garden outside in the summer and inside in the winter. Some of the herbs did not seem to like it, but my purple basil seemed to thrive from the change in environment. This all brought me to my idea of merging the spicy flavor of the purple basil with the dry, spicy undertones of Bully Boy’s American Straight Whiskey into what I call the Purple Bully Smash. 

Three glasses of the Purple Bully Smash drink with purple basil leaves on top


Purple Basil and Rainbow Peppercorn Simple Syrup
5 large purple basil leaves
1 tablespoon rainbow peppercorns
1 cup of water
1 cup sugar

2 ounces Bully Boy’s American Straight Whiskey
¾ ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 ounce Purple Basil and Rainbow Peppercorn Simple Syrup
3 drops PDT (Please Don’t Tell) Bitters
3 purple basil leaves
6-8 ounces ice cubes
Purple basil leaves and/or flower for garnish


Purple Basil and Rainbow Peppercorn Simple Syrup
1. Blanch the basil leaves, then combine with rainbow peppercorns in a blender and blend for about five seconds.
2. Add the mixture to a pot with water and sugar, then place over medium heat for 10 minutes.
3. Let syrup cool, then pour it through a fine mesh strainer.

1. In a mixing glass, add the simple syrup, lemon juice and basil leaves. Muddle these three ingredients for approximately five seconds.
2. Add ice and whiskey to the mixing glass. Shake with a Boston shaker for at least 10 seconds.
3. Use both a Hawthorne strainer and a fine mesh strainer to pour contents into an iced-down tumbler glass.
4. Add three dashes of PDT Bitters and garnish with purple basil leaves and/or flower.

A Date in Thyme

By Celia Kinneary ’23 and Zoe Zuerner ’23

We decided to use whiskey in our cocktail because neither Zoe nor I had experience making drinks with it. We thought this would create a very fun and creative experience for us. The next step was experimenting with ingredients until we got a good flavor profile. We both are very connected to farmers and to understanding where our ingredients come from, so we wanted to keep everything seasonal. As a result, we made our cocktail winter/holiday-inspired. We chose pomegranate as our base ingredient. I was personally inspired by my chef to use date syrup. Dates are so diverse and have an all-natural sugar that has more health benefits than raw sugar. I have seen dates used in baking or as an alternative to syrups, but never in a cocktail, so I really wanted to use it. Lemon was the perfect acid needed to balance the date syrup, whiskey, and pomegranate. The last ingredients we added were thyme and egg whites. These made the drink visually appealing and elegant for the holidays.    

Two men toast with red drinks in glasses


3 ounces Bully Boy American Straight Whiskey
2½ ounces pomegranate juice
½ ounce fresh lemon juice
⅓ ounce date syrup
¾ teaspoon fresh thyme
1 egg white

1 egg white
1 fresh thyme sprig
¼ cup sugar
3 fresh pomegranate seeds


1. Whisk the egg white until foamy. 
2. Dip the thyme sprig in the egg white to coat, then gently roll the thyme sprig in sugar to coat.
3. Leave the thyme out to dry overnight, then use as a garnish along with the pomegranate seeds.

1. Add the whiskey, pomegranate juice, lemon juice and thyme into your shaker and muddle the ingredients together.
2. Add the syrup and the egg white to the shaker.
3. Dry shake for one minute.
4. Add ice and shake for 30 more seconds.
5. Double strain over glass and garnish with the candied thyme and fresh pomegranate seeds.

Tea in the Arbor

By Anya Hart ’24

With a nod to Boston’s tea history and to the Bully Boy brand's beginnings in cider making, I made a cocktail that is inspired by the autumnal season of New England. It’s all the nostalgia of the season with the warm spices and cider that conjure up moments with family, friends, and holiday festivities, but with a fresh take on tradition with the hibiscus and Bully Boy Amaro. 

A dropper places drops of bitters into an amber colored drink topped with apple slices


Apple Molasses Simple Syrup
1¾ cups white sugar
¼ cup molasses
1 apple peeled and sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
4 cloves
2 cups water

2 ounces Bully Boy Boston Rum
¾ ounce Bully Boy Amaro Rabarbaro
2 ounces spiced apple cider
½ ounce spiced apple molasses simple syrup 
½ ounce hibiscus tea concentrate
½ ounce lemon juice
3 drops PDT (Please Don’t Tell) Bitters
Apple slices for garnish 


Apple Molasses Simple Syrup
1. Add all ingredients to a pot and bring to a simmer.
2. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes to get desired syrup consistency. Let the syrup cool.

1. Combine rum, amaro rabarbaro, spiced apple cider, apple molasses simple syrup, hibiscus tea concentrate and lemon juice into a shaker with ice and shake.
2. Use a Hawthorne strainer to pour into a drink glass over fresh ice.
3. Top with PDT Bitters and garnish.

Sweet Potato

By Naomi Torres ’23 and Mario Martinez Lora ’23

Our inspiration stemmed from the upcoming holidays and the theme of fall that Bully Boy wanted to encapsulate in a sip. We know traditionalists will always reach for the pumpkin pie for dessert, but we wanted something a little more off-script. We came up with the sweet potato drink as a play on the sweet potato pie, a truly overlooked Thanksgiving dessert. We wanted something simpler so anyone could make it for themselves at home with friends and family, and we wanted it to be approachable, so this milky dessert cocktail is what we presented. Our favorite part of this drink was the caramel and spiced sugar rim — it really warmed up the drink in a fun way. 


Sweet Potato Syrup
4 ounces sweet potato puree
4 ounces dark brown sugar
8 ounces water

1 ounce ground nutmeg
1 ounce ground clove
½ cup sugar

2 ounces Bully Boy Rum
1 ounce sweet potato syrup
1½ ounces heavy cream
1½ ounces half and half


Sweet Potato Syrup
1. Combine ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil.
2. Lower heat and reduce until desired thickness is achieved.

1. Mix sugar with nutmeg and clove to create a spiced sugar.
2. Roll the rim of the glass in caramel and then spiced sugar.

1. Combine ingredients into an iced shaker tin and shake vigorously.
2. Pour into rimmed coup glass.
3. Dust top with spices as needed.

Five drinks in glasses on a table from the Bully Boy Competition