Holiday party season involves lots of attending and hosting duties. I’ve come up with an assortment of bottles to bring to a party, along with cocktail recipes to serve at your gathering. (I’ve got even more suggestions in the bubbly category in Hobnob’s champagne primer.)

hobnobmag Best Bottle to Bring to a Party

Diplomático Mantuano Rum

From Diplomático comes a festive, flavorful aged rum that will enhance cocktailing in the holiday spirit. It gets its flavor from aging up to eight years in white oak casks, which originally housed bourbons and malt-whisky. Distilled from sugar cane molasses and honeys, Diplomático focuses on small batches to create this lovely result. Notes: Aromas of dried plums, oak and a delicate spiciness. Mouth flavors are complex and well-balanced, with notes of dried fruits, wood and vanilla. Concludes with a harmonious and slightly dry finish.

Enjoy it neat, or in these two holiday concoctions, featuring ginger, cranberries, rosemary, or warmed with cider. $29.

GINGER DIPLO (photo at the top of this post)

1.5 oz Diplomático Mantuano
5 oz ginger ale
dash of cocoa bitters (optional)

garnish: cranberries, rosemary

Add ice to a glass. Add rum and top off with ginger ale to taste. You can add a dash of cocoa bitters for more contrast. Stir gently with bar spoon. Garnish with cranberries and rosemary.


6 oz apple juice
2 cinnamon sticks, plus more for garnish

2 oz Diplomático Mantuano
1 oz lemon juice

Boil apple juice with a few cinnamon sticks, let cool until warm. Combine all ingredients in a mug. Stir with cinnamon stick.

hobnobmag Best Bottle to Bring to a Party

Highland Park Magnus

This is the newest addition to the Highland Park range, named after the distillery’s founder, Magnus Eunson, a direct descendant of the Vikings who settled on Orkney hundreds of years ago. He was a butcher and church officer by day, and a bootlegger by night. Available exclusively in North America, Magnus is crafted in Sherry-seasoned American oak casks to deliver the lightly peated characteristics of Highland Park but with a more pronounced vanilla flavor. Available in select spirits retailers, $40. Or online from Reserve Bar (who only deliver to certain states)

Take the party back in time with Viking Glogg, which gets served with a spoon of with booze-soaked nuts and fruit, in a heated, spiced-laden brew.


3 oz Highland Park Magnus
2 TB slivered blanched almonds
2 TB golden raisins

Soak the fruit in the spirit. Fruit Mix can be made ahead, and stored in refrigerator until use.

1 liter apple juice
1.5 CUPS Highland Park Magnus
4 TB dark brown sugar
peels of two oranges
6 cinnamon sticks
2 TB golden raisins
2 TB slivered blanched almonds
2 TB fresh grated ginger
2 TB cloves
2 TB star anise
2 TB allspice
2 TB black peppercorns

fruit mix

Bring all ingredients to a low boil for 15 minutes to bring out the spices. Strain and serve with a scoop of fruit mix. Glogg can be stored refrigerated and then reheated. Strain before serving.
—recipe by Lauren MacDougall, Beverage Director, Great Northern Food Hall

hobnobmag Best Bottle to Bring to a Party

Wyoming Whiskey Small Batch Bourbon

A traditional bourbon from an nontraditional place, the Mead family carries on bourbon making with partners ranging on 97,818 square miles of Wyoming. Only about 220 bottles of this bourbon gets produced, which makes it a special indulgence to tote to your party.

The Mead family first came to Wyoming as ranchers in 1890 and use the finest non-GMO corn, wheat, barley. The water comes from a mile below ground in a limestone aquifier, which is millions of years old. The bourbon is a tribute to Wyoming’s wonderful natural resources, and has been awarded many prizes. You’ll love using it to make an Old Fashioned, with a twist, see recipe below. Notes: Dark Amber in color, this whiskey is floral with a hint of vanilla bean and caramel pudding. Finished with notes of toffee and vanilla. About $42. Available online at

This cocktail adds a holiday twist to the traditional Old Fashioned with a lively cinnamon simple syrup and dash of bitters.


1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cinnamon stick

Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Dissolve in sugar. Reduce heat, add cinnamon stick, cover. Simmer for 10-15 min. Remove from heat. Allow to steep for at least 1 hour. Remove cinnamon stick, pour syrup into a bottle, and refrigerate. Good for up to 2 weeks.

2 oz  Wyoming Whiskey Small Batch
1 tsp Cinnamon Simple Syrup
2 dashes Angostura Bitters

garnish: orange peel

Add ingredients to a rocks glass with a large piece of ice. Stir rapidly until the level of the ice and liquid equalize. Garnish with an orange peel.

hobnobmag Best Bottle to Bring to a Party

Humboldt Distillery Organic Spirits

Here are a bunch of spirits produced in Northern California in an area that is home to the world’s tallest trees, stretches of undeveloped coastline, pristine rivers and a forest as old as the dinosaurs—where they get their pristine water. Humboldt Distillery, produces a line of organic spirits that are also gluten-free. Founder Abe Stevens grew up in the area, fifth generation, and started the distillery as a result of his love for the area and his affinity for chemistry.

Hobnob recommends their Humboldt Distillery’s Organic Vodka, which was awarded 90 points by Wine Enthusiast, plus is an International Gold Medal Winner. It’s uniquely made from a sugarcane base without glycerin, sweeteners, citric acid or any other additives. It mixes perfectly into any cocktail with its dry taste, clean finish, neutral character. About $25. I’ve included a holiday recipe below, Redwood Joe, which could work in perfectly with dessert: an espresso, orange, cinnamon mix.

hobnobmag Best Bottle to Bring to a Party

Organic Spiced Rum is double-distilled, once with a custom self-built column still, and then again in a traditional pot still from organic sugar cane. Awarded 90 points in Wine Enthusiast, and the Gold Medal in 2017 San Diego Wine & Spirits Challenge. Notes: Hints of vanilla, allspice and fruit work perfectly into hot holiday ciders or as a delicious topper for a luxurious eggnog. About $22. See the recipe for a Spiced Rum Sour below, containing hints of star anise, cloves, fennel, and cinnamon.

FYI: Humboldt also produces a Vodka infused with locally grown Cannabis Sativa, which was a Double Gold Medal Winner in San Francisco’s 2017 World Spirits Competition.  It has been tested to verify THC levels are undetectable and is made using a food-grade strain of hemp. When processed it provides an interesting botanical character from the aromatic terpenes.


1 CUP sugar
1 CUP water
peel and juice of 1 orange
1 cinnamon stick, crushed into bark shards

Stir over low heat until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and allow the orange and cinnamon to steep for at least 2 hours, ideally 4+ hours (or overnight). Strain and refrigerate.

1.5 oz Humboldt Distillery Organic Vodka
2 oz cold brew or chilled espresso
.75 oz Cinnamon-Orange Syrup

garnish: fresh nutmeg or cinnamon stick

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake until very cold, about 20 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with grated fresh nutmeg or cinnamon stick.


1 CUP sugar
1 CUP water
4 whole star anise
1 tsp cloves
.5 tsp fennel seeds
1 cinnamon stick, crushed into bark shards

Stir over low heat until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to steep for at least 2 hours, ideally 4+ hours (or overnight). Strain and refrigerate.

1.5 oz Humboldt Distillery Organic Spiced Rum
1 oz fresh orange juice
.75 oz holiday spice syrup

garnish: fresh nutmeg or cinnamon stick

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake until very cold, about 20 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with grated fresh nutmeg or cinnamon.

hobnobmag Best Bottle to Bring to a Party

Lokē Rosé

Nothing could be more festive at a party than a pretty rosé! This one comes to you via producer Bruno Lafon, a descendant of an esteemed Burgundy wine-growing family. Lokē Rosé, from Côtes de Provence, expresses the classic Provençal dry style of rosé with a fragrant bouquet of lychee, apricots, mango, golden apples, and rose. The 2017 vintage is a blend of 50% Cinsault, 30% Grenache, and 20% Syrah. Add a bit of holiday cheer with a gorgeous red punch by mixologist Julie Reiner, see the recipe below.

This wine is the brainchild of two longtime friends: Blaine Ashley (Wine Enthusiast’s 40-under-40 Tastemaker and New York Champagne Week Founder) and Megan Murphy (food and travel journalist, @ThisGirlCanEat). Ashley, who was born in Hawaii, had the idea to mix two worlds: Hawaii’s laid-back island vibe with her love of Provence-style rosé. Partnering with Murphy, who is also a rosé enthusiast, further incentivized the duo to launch a label that would be a perfect food-pairing wine. $19.99. Find your local store to purchase at this link. A portion of profits benefit the Ukulele Kids Club, an organization that donates ukuleles and gives the gift of music to hospitalized children.


750 ml bottle Beefeater 24 Gin
750 ml bottle Aperol
18 oz St. Germain
18 oz grapefruit juice
2.5 bottles Lokē Rosé

Mix all ingredients in a large punch bowl. Garnish with fresh fruit.
—created by Julie Reiner of Clove Club & Leyenda

hobnobmag Best Bottle to Bring to a Party

Whitley Neill Rhubarb and Ginger Gin

The gin in its gorgeous pink bottle, brings the taste of an English country garden—with a crisp edge. Founder, Johnny Neill, the 8th generation Neill in the business, was inspired by childhood memories visiting his grandparents on their farm. So he’s taken the family’s favorite fruit, rhubarb, and given it a twist of fresh ginger. Other botanicals include: juniper, orange, lemon, orris bark, coriander seed, angelica root, licorice. About $35. The cocktail recipe below offers a little spin on typical G & T.


50 ml Whitley Neill Rhubarb and Ginger Gin
15ml lemon juice
Lamb & Watt Hibiscus Tonic

garnish: orange slices

Take a highball glass and fill with ice. Pour all ingredients into the glass and give it a quick stir to infuse. Add orange slices to garnish.

hobnobmag Best Bottle to Bring to a Party

Olive Oil from Spain

Now here’s a bottle to bring that may surprise: Olive oil from Spain can work as nicely at the bar as in the kitchen. Here are three cocktail suggestions that incorporate the nuances of each oil into classic cocktails. The olive oils from Spain are abundant in healthy fats and antioxidants and will add a luxe texture to your drink.


Arbequina olives produce a very fluid and sweet olive oil, without any bitter or peppery flavors. Notes: a fruity aroma of olives, apple, banana and almond.

1. 5 oz gin
.75 oz mild tonic
few drops Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Spain
garnish: basil leaf, slice of green apple

Fill a glass with ice, add gin and tonic. Add a few drops the olive oil. Garnish with basil leaf and a slice of green apple.


Hojiblanca extra virgin olive oil from Spain is characterized by its aroma of freshly cut grass, artichoke and aromatic plants. lts entrance on the palate is sweet, with a slight bitterness and a peppery finish in the mouth.

salt (optional)

1.5 oz Tequila
.5 oz Cointreau
1 oz fresh lime juice
egg white
20 drops of Hojiblanca Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Spain

garnish: lime wedge

If desired, salt the rim of a chilled margarita glass, by using olive oil to wet the glass edge. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain into the prepared glass with or without fresh ice. Garnish with the lime wedge.


This is the olive oil with a kick. There is a slight bitterness, and a slight itching in your throat. Its nose is noted for its olive and grass leafs, fig, and tomato aromas.

1 oz lemon juice
2 dashes tabasco sauce
5 oz tomato juice
5 oz Picual Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Spain
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper

garnish: celery stick

Pour tomato juice and then remainder of ingredients into an ice filled highball glass. Season with salt and pepper as desired and stir. Add a celery stick to garnish and serve.

hobnobmag Best Bottle to Bring to a Party

Sugarland Hazelnut Rum

Here’s a rum with full-bodied flavors of vanilla, cinnamon, and honey, with a sweet, oaky kick. From a pair of moonshine makers in Tennessee, who studied under a local moonshine expert, Mark Ramsey and Digger Manes teamed up and now create spirits with a distinctly different twist. This sweet rum pairs nicely with apples, apricots, bananas, caramel and chocolate. Serve it alongside crème brûlée, with coffee, or vanilla ice cream. If you are looking for an interesting dessert cocktail, try this one with hints of cinnamon and luscious cream. About $25.


4 oz milk
1 cinnamon stick
3 oz Mark & Digger’s Hazelnut Rum

whipped cream

garnish with ground cinnamon

Bring the milk and cinnamon stick to a simmer in a thick-bottomed pot over low heat. Allow to gently simmer for 15 min, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, remove cinnamon stick and pour the milk into the serving glass. Add the rum and stir to combine. Top with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon.

hobnobmag Best Bottle to Bring to a Party

FOS Mastiha Greek Liqueur

Mastiha liqueur is a quite unusual. It’s a clear spirit with a unique sweet taste with a range of herbal tones, that was originally drunk as a digestive. Mastiha comes from a small evergreen shrub with a life span of 100+ years, that can only be found on the island of Chios, Greece. For 2,500 years locals have harvested the sweet resin by making small cuts into the branches with a small iron tool. The delicate handiwork compares to embroidery and is a UNESCO recognized tradition.

Resin drops are left to slowly seep out of the tree (which is also called the crying tree) and dry to form translucent golden crystals. The crystals are gathered, then undergo a delicate process of aging and distillation. The addition of secret ingredients result in a sweet, slightly minty taste. Below are two sweet cocktails that you can offer instead of egg nog. About $35.


brown sugar for the rim (optional)

1 oz FOS Greek Mastiha
1 oz Tequila Reposado
1 oz pumpkin puree
.5 oz lemon juice
barspoon maple syrup

garnish: toasted cinnamon stick

Dip moistened edge of glass into brown sugar rim (if using). Add ingredients to a shaker with ice. Strain into martini glass. Garnish with toasted cinnamon stick.

hobnobmag Best Bottle to Bring to a Party


1.5 oz FOS Greek Mastiha
1 oz apple cider
.5 oz lemon juice
barspoon honey
dash angostura bitters

garnish: sliced apples, cinnamon stick, star anise, lemon moons

Add ingredients to a shaker with ice, shake. Strain into coupe or rocks glass. Garnish as desired.

hobnobmag Best Bottle to Bring to a Party

Tree Top Sweet & Tart Apple Cider

Tree Top 100% Pure Pressed Sweet & Tart Apple Cider is a brand new offering whose 100% pure pressed apples are part sweet, part tangy (what the company likes to call “swangy”) This cider is made from only apples grown in the Pacific Northwest by local growers. Available in the Western US only. Kosher.

Swangy Cider Punch

64 oz Tree Top Sweet & Tart Apple Cider
16 oz ginger beer
1 granny smith apple, sliced
juice: 2 oranges, 1 lime, 1 lemon
3 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
6 star anise

optional: 1 cup vodka or light rum

Garnishment Bar:
• Frozen cranberries for a pop of color
• Additional star anise pieces
• Colored sugars or ginger crystals to rim the glassware

Mix ingredients together in a punch bowl. Serve with selections from the garnishment bar over ice. Punch photo by Alamy