Drink Recipe: Bella Donna

I’ve been on a bit of a whiskey kick lately, which I am prone to do from time to time, particularly in stressful periods of my life. That sounds more pathetic than I mean it to, but nothing helps you unwind like a delicious beverage at the end of the day – obviously a time-tested tradition. I’m such a lady about whiskey, however, and need a lot of sweet and sour things to accompany it. My favorite is still the Maple Sour, and recently I tweeted a photo of that delicious beverage I was enjoying and Marta suggested I’d like the Bella Donna at Villains in downtown LA. A quick google search and I had the delicious looking recipe in my paws – a trip to the farmers market and I had blood oranges, mint, and blackberries ready for this party in my mouth. I don’t have shaved ice or the patience for somehow creating such a thing – I thought about using my blender to make crushed ice – but good god, the recipe seemed a little bit of a stretch for me anyway. In hindsight I think I’d spring for that, and I’ll tell you why in a minute.

Ok, here’t the original recipe, posted on blogdowntown:

The Bella Donna of Villains Tavern
Created by Dave Whitton


  • 2 oz Maker’s Mark
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • ½ oz fresh squeezed orange juice
  • ½ oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ oz simple syrup
  • fresh mint
  • fresh black berries
  • shaved ice
  • cubed ice


In a tin: Add Makers, bitters, Orange juice, lemon juice, simple syrup with ice. Shake vigorously. In a bucket glass, add a bundle of fresh mint and top with ice. Note: a smack with the hand will “open the mint oils up”. Strain ingredients from tin into glass and top with a bed of shaved ice. Top with a gramble (a muddled pool) of black berries. Sip and say ahhh.

Here’s what I did: I used blood orange juice instead of regular, maple syrup instead of simple syrup (definitely gives it a recognizable maple flavor), and muddled the berries with the mint in my glass – popped one of my awesome round ice cubes* in the glass and poured the liquid mixture on top. The problem with this is that when you drink this sans straw in a wide glass, you’re going to get a mouthful of mint. To avoid this, I think crushed/shaved iced would hold it down at the bottom of the glass (I picture it in a skinny, tall glass), or you could muddle the mint in the cocktail shaker. I like muddling the blackberries because otherwise it’s just an afterthought at the top, more of a garnish. They’re too delicious of a berry and perfect with whiskey and citrus for that to me, and getting a mouthful of muddled blackberry is no problem to me at all. Yum.
Careful now, these are so yummy you will have no problem guzzling them down in a heartbeat. Let’s just say I had a really good bus ride (drink responsibly!) to the Tomboy Style party at Myrtle on Saturday night after one of these babies.
*I got this exact product for $3 in Little Tokyo in LA at Tokyo Japanese Outlet