If there’s one ideal consistently observed at Bully Boy Distillery, it’s the importance of staying true to your roots. Brothers Dave and Will Willis run the local craft distillery that observes family values and the history of the good old fashioned alcohol industry, with one 600 liter copper pot still.

Inspired by their childhood home and family farm, Will and Dave started Bully Boy after discovering a vault filled with pre-prohibition historical craft spirits in the basement  of their farmhouse. A seed was planted and the revival of artisan craft spirits began.


Inside Bully Boy’s Boston distillery. Photo by Alex Turnwall.

Bully Boy’s roots focus on the purity of the originals—vodka, whiskeys, and rums; they keep it classic. But what caught our attention was their most recent craft debut: Hub Punch.

Bully Boy’s inspiration comes from history, so it’s no surprise that Hub Punch was born out of just that, when local Boston mixologist Fred Yarm (of Russell House Tavern) stumbled upon an old bottle of Hub Punch on eBay, circa late 19th century. Curious and fascinated, he presented his finding to his friend, Dave Willis.

Dave, an expert on Boston pre-prohibition spirits was unfamiliar with the elusive Hub Punch, but the vintage looking bottle struck a chord of interest.  Baffled by the extinct concoction Dave and Fred dug deep into the history of the vintage bottle and pieced together an anecdote of Boston history.

It all began in New York’s Hub House Hotel, when politician C.H. Graves served up an aged rum cocktail infused with fruits and spices. The drink became so popular that Graves brought the recipe with him to Boston, opened a family-run distillery, and began selling it all over the city. It faded into the dust with the coming of prohibition, along with many other popular spirits, but the appearance of the bottle presented the Willis brothers with an opportunity for revival.

After heavy research into the original Hub Punch recipe, the Bully Boy Distillery infused their own aged rum with raspberry, orange peel, lemon peel, and botanical spices and herbs. The result? A syrupy textured fruity elixir, with herbaceous tones and a tart finish. Cut with club soda, an amazingly refreshing concoction that resembles punch without the overly sugary qualities.

The Bully Boy team will be the first to tell you that Hub Punch is not the distillery’s best seller, but that’s not the goal. It’s a true revival of history, a moment captured in a bottle (with a replicated label designed after the original), and one exclusive to Bully Boy. It’s as rare as it is versatile—the perfect boozy base to sangria; or a champagne brunch with a splash of punch. There’s no need to keep bitters or other pricey mixers on hand—Hub Punch has all the complexities needed for any cocktail.

Check out some Hub Punch cocktails at Bull McCabe’s, Coda, Russell House Tavern, and many other Boston area  restaurants. Or pick up a bottle at a local liquor store.