The Recipe:

This Tea-based Rum Cocktail is 'Right On Time' for Summer

By:  Ari  Bendersky  Abe's Market Contributor  May 23rd, 2014

When you're ready for a summer drink, this cocktail from Hella Bitter is Right On Time. Confused? You know that saying, "It's 5 o' clock somewhere"? Well, wherever you are, this drink is right on time. OK, if you're still confused, let's just get to the cocktail. This drink, made with Hella Bitter Aromatic Bitters Spice, aged rum, Darjeeling tea, fresh lemon and more, is a great spiked iced tea that can be crafted for one or for many in the form of a delicious punch. It can be enjoyed anytime, but especially at backyard parties all summer long. Hence the name: Right On Time.

Hella Bitter 'Right On Time' Cocktail Recipe


For individual glass:

For a group/punch bowl:

  • 16 oz (1 pint) Darjeeling tea*
  • 6 oz aged gold rum
  • 3 oz Cynar**
  • 1.5 oz simple syrup***
  • 1.5 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 5 dashes Hella Bitter Aromatic Bitters Spice
  • Garnish: About 6 - 8 lemon wheels to float in the pitcher or bowl. 


  1. Combine ingredients in a highball glass over ice. Stir gently and garnish with a lemon wheel. 
  2. For the punch, combine ingredients in a large pitcher over ice. Serve in highballs with ice and garnish with a lemon wheel.

A few thoughts on punch from Hella Bitter

  1. Ingredients can always be adjusted to taste, namely the acid (lemon juice) and the sugar (simple syrup). Punches tend to be too sweet and for that reason we like to make punches that veer toward tart and bitter. 
  2. We can’t emphasize enough the importance of fresh lemon juice. Juice the lemons right before you mix up the punch or morning of at the latest. 
  3. Always add bitters to taste. The fun thing about using bitters in punches is its amazing way to add a level of depth and complexity that most punches don’t have. It can be your secret ingredient; we won’t tell. 

*Don’t over steep the tea. Black tea doesn’t need more than 7 minutes. Feel free to make this enough ahead of time so that it’s cool when you build the punch with it. 

**Cynar is an Italian amaro or bitter made from a bunch of ingredients including artichokes. It’s dark, sweet and bitter and a great ingredient in cocktails. If you can’t find Cynar you can use Averna or Ramazzotti instead. Don’t hesitate to ask at your favorite liquor store.

***The basic simple recipe is 1:1 sugar to water. Bring to simmer on your stove top and stir until all sugar is dissolved. For a richer more complex syrup, use demerara or another brown sugar instead. 


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Ari Bendersky

Abe's Market Contributor

Ari Bendersky Ari joined Abe's Market after years of covering music, lifestyle, wine and food for the New York Times, AP, Rolling Stone, Eater, Huff Post and more. He lives naturally by biking, hiking, green juicing and avoiding high-fructose corn syrup at all costs.

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