“Hella” Awesome: Why Hella Cocktail Co. Is A Name You Need to Know

Founded in Brooklyn in 2011, Hella Cocktail Co. creates delicious craft cocktail mixers, syrups, and bitters. Here's why you need to know about them.

We couldn’t stop laughing. Mr. Five O’Clock and I had just ripped open our holiday gifts and discovered that we’d given each other similar bitters-related presents. He had selected spices and herbs to create bitters for me; I had purchased a bitters-making kit from Hella Cocktail Co. (formerly known as Hella Bitters) for him. This was true love at its finest, we grinned conspiratorially.

Those gifts we exchanged in December 2014 started our lifelong love affair with bitters. (I know this because I combed through my e-mails to verify the date, as fact-checking is key here. When Mr. Five O’Clock gets home, I can tell him I won our bet.)

We’ve been huge fans of Hella Cocktail Co.’s products from the moment we unwrapped those gifts three years ago. We’re practically thisclose to being the OG fans of the company, so you know our fondness for their bottles is legit.

So when we met Eddie, one of the company’s co-founders, through Honeymoon Israel last year, it was like the stars aligned. And when Eddie the cocktail Santa sent us some Hella Cocktail Co. syrups, mixers, and bitters to check out for the 2017 holiday season, it was some seriously magical Hella holiday déjà vu all over again.

So how did the Hella Great Gift Opening Session of 2017 go down? What kind of cocktails can you make with these goodies? What does “hella” even mean? And what are bitters, anyway? Don’t worry: we’ve got you covered.

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Drinks in Translation: Visiting New York Bar at the Park Hyatt Tokyo

New York Bar, Park Hyatt Tokyo's iconic hotel bar, looked classy in "Lost in Translation," but is it worth a detour for wine or cocktails? Yes! Here's why.

Let’s get this out of the way early: yes, the Park Hyatt Tokyo hotel will be forever linked to Sofia Coppola’s 2003 film, “Lost in Translation.” Yes, you may have originally clicked on this post because you want to pretend you’re Scarlett Johansson sipping on cocktails with Bill Murray at Park Hyatt Tokyo’s New York Bar.

The iconic hotel bar may have looked stunning in Coppola’s film, but is it really that classy and sophisticated in real life? Are the drinks any good? And, most importantly, is it worth a detour in your precious Tokyo itinerary?

The answer, it turns out, is a resounding yes. In other words, for good times, you’ll want to make it Suntory New York Bar time. Here’s why.

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7 Places You’ll Want to Drink in Washington, D.C.

One undeniable truth you can hold to be self-evident: America's capital has great spots to imbibe. Here's our favorite places to drink craft cocktails and wine in Washington, D.C.

Despite its close proximity to New York City, the number of times I’ve been to Washington, D.C. is shockingly small. In fact, the last time I ventured out to our nation’s capital was back in 2014, when I barely knew the difference between dry and sweet vermouth.

Flash forward to July 2017: when an opportunity to visit D.C. for work presented itself, I jumped on it faster than Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. OK, that’s hyperbole. But still, I couldn’t wait to explore D.C.’s food and drinks scene once again.

One undeniable truth you can hold to be self-evident? America’s capital has some terrific spots to imbibe. Here’s a round up of our favorite places to drink in Washington, D.C. right now.

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A Sip of Scotland: Touring the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh

If you want to truly understand Scotland, there's no better place than the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh. Here's why.

When I was a wee lass all of 21 years old, I sniffed my first bit of scotch and promptly handed the glass back to my friend. What was this foul stench that reminded me of a dirty, dank bog?

Let’s be honest: at 21, I was more into pinot noir than hard liquor. I was kind of an eejit back then, erroneously assuming that all scotch was disgusting because it was too smoky and peaty for my taste.

What I didn’t realize then — and many of my current friends still don’t — is that the Laphroaig scotch I tasted wasn’t nearly representative of what’s out there in Scotland’s whisky world. NOT ALL SCOTCH IS AS SMOKY AND PEATY AS LAPHROAIG, my friends. I repeat, not all scotch equals Laphroaig(Nothing against it; I actually like it now that my palette is more developed.)

Flash forward ten years later: the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh, Scotland completely upended my expectations of what scotch is and can be. If you want to truly understand Scotland, there’s no better place than the Scotch Whisky Experience. Here’s why.

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Booze Buzz: Elsa in Brooklyn

In "Booze Buzz," we take you to the latest and greatest watering holes throughout the country. Today, we head to Elsa for craft cocktails in Brooklyn.

In the “Booze Buzz” series, we take you to the latest and greatest watering holes throughout the country. Today, we head to Elsa in Brooklyn.

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Where to Drink in Indiana Right Now

Indiana may be known for craft beer, but it's got hip craft cocktail bars and wineries too. From Indianapolis to Franklin, here's where to drink right now.

When you picture Indiana and drinks, I’m betting the first thing that comes to mind is ice cold beer, especially on sweltering summer days. You’re not totally wrong: this Midwestern state is home to over 130 craft breweries and counting. (Emphasis on the “counting” part — I swear that by the time you read this, three more will have popped up.)

While the Hoosier state may be known for its craft beer, it’s got some hip craft cocktail bars and wineries as well. From Indianapolis to Franklin and back, here’s our list of hot spots to drink in Indiana right now.

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Booze Buzz: Circa Brewing Co. in Brooklyn

Circa Brewing Co. opened in downtown Brooklyn, New York, less than a month ago, but people are already fans of its craft beer and pizza. Here's why.

In the “Booze Buzz” series, we take you to the latest and greatest watering holes throughout the country. Today, we head to Circa Brewing Co. in Brooklyn.

You know what I like even better than a glass of ice cold beer on a scorching summer day? Not having to take a long, sweaty subway ride home afterwards. Circa Brewing Co., welcome to the neighborhood.

Circa Brewing Co. opened in Downtown Brooklyn less than a month ago, but it’s already found a steady stream of regulars (including us) who are incorporating it into their weekend bar circuit. Here’s why.

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“Indy South”: Why You Need to Visit Johnson County, Indiana

Johnson County, or "Indy South," has great craft beer and fun for the whole family. Find out why you've got to visit this Indiana hotspot.

There are places you visit expecting to have an amazing time, and they deliver in spades: Hawaii, perhaps, or Rome and Hong Kong. Then there are other corners of the Earth you travel to without an inkling of what to expect and are wonderfully surprised by how charming they are. Johnson County, Indiana — or “Indy South” — is one of these places. Here’s why.

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Diplomático Rum: The Rum You Didn’t Know You Needed

Diplomático rum is deliciously complex and can be used in a variety of cocktails. Find out what happened when we put the Reserva Exclusiva to the ultimate taste test.

One of the best aspects of writing about travel and booze is that I’m constantly discovering new drinks and spirits. Chartreuse? Delicious. Kentucky Colonel? More, por favor! Sometimes, however, I come across these gems completely by accident. Case in point: Diplomático Rum.

While sipping a lavender negroni at Dante during Negroni Week, I started chatting with the women next to me at the bar. (You know you’re gonna become fast friends if you’re bonding over a negroni.) As we discussed our favorite spirits — mine being bourbon, of course — I realized that I don’t drink rum very often.

Enter Shanika, my rum fairy godmother. When she described the Diplomático rum she loved, I couldn’t help but be intrigued. Was this the rum that would finally convert me into a rum fan?

She offered to send us a bottle of Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva rum in exchange for an honest, no holds-barred review of our experience. What follows is the true account of our rum taste test party cocktail education.

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