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


  1. says

    I dont think my comments are working ):

    Love your photos! I’ll be making this drink this weekend for sure! I love your blog and figured its time to leave a comment – you always have wonderful recipes!


  2. says

    Oh yeah.. love the Belladonna! Villain’s is my neighborhood bar, and this has got to be my favorite cocktail. In the summer, the crushed ice in the drink make for a perfect warm-weather boozy sno-cone!

  3. says

    I am so excited to try this recipe! I love my whiskey but I think I need to get a little more creative then just “on the rocks”. Thank you!

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