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Pour Play: What's Shakin' in Cocktail Couture

There's Southern Cocktail Charm at Hollywood's Sassafras Saloon.

By Maren Swanson • November 17th, 2014
Sassafras Saloon in Hollywood

Karen Grill, Beverage Program Director of Sassafras Saloon in Hollywood.

Karen Grill, formerly of Bestia and The Churchill, is now the new Beverage Program Director of Sassafras Saloon in Hollywood and she's kicking things off with a new and improved cocktail menu. Sassafrass is a Southern-themed Saloon loaded with character; a ring of barrel-aged cocktails rotate above the bar and eclectic details along with antique embellishments are a reminder that you're not in Hollywood anymore. Karen's new specialty cocktail menu helps set the scene too with a focus on barrels-aged drinks, homemade shrub and jam elements and a heavy dose of New Orleans classics.

On a nightly basis, enjoy your libation at the bar while listening to the jazz band du jour or escape to an adjacent room for some seclusion with your date. Select from "House Cocktails" or "Bottled, Barreled and Jarred" options. Build your own drink, "Build a Buck" for $12 by choosing your spirit of choice and they'll add some fresh citrus and a classic or seasonal house-made ginger beer. At Sassafras, they even make their own bottled Sarsparilla…and it's fantastic. Here are some of the cocktails that stood out to me on the launch night of their new cocktail roster.

The Saint

Although this was more of a sampler size, I really loved the balanced flavors in this cocktail. (Bourbon, Pamplemousse Rose, Lillet, Ginger, Lemon Juice)


A classic New Orleans rum drink with great cocktail curb appeal and fresh flavor. (Cana Rum, Atlantico Reserva & Stolen Rums, Lemon, Orange, Pineapple Passionfruit)

Pimms No. 1933

Pimms Cup No. 13 at Sassafras Saloon in Hollywood

Bright, tangy and alive. The combination of the Aloe Liquor and house-made strawberry cucumber shrub was a winner for me. (Pimms, Chareau Aloe Liquor, Strawberry Cucumber Shrub, Lemon, Ginger)

The Yellow King

A True Detective reference (as mentioned by my boyfriend), this Bourbon-based drink got my full attention with the clever addition of Pecan Bitters. (Bourbon, Chicory, Toasted Pecan Bitters, Angostura)

Sweet TI'

Colorful, spiked and juicy, Karen's Sweet TI' made with blackberry jam was a nice shout out to the popular Southern "Sweet Tea." (Rhum JM, Sage, House-made Blackberry Jam, Lime)

Storyville Shandy: For the palate that prefers something a little of the sweeter side, this Fall-style Shandy drink could be the one for you. (St. George Gin, Pear Cider, Cinnamon, Lemon Juice)

Unfortunately I wasn't able to try her Garden District #13 cocktail, but Karen was nice enough to send me home with some of her homemade tomato jam and the recipe to make it…how Southern of her! She was inspired to include the tomato jam in one of her drinks after coping with a terrible hangover. The cure? A delicious egg sandwich made with the tomato jam and later, a little hair of the dog with a tequila/jam combo. Genius.

The Garden District

  • .75oz lemon juice
  • .75oz tomato-balsamic jam
  • .25oz ginger syrup
  • .5oz Ancho Reyes
  • .1.5oz Altos Reposado Tequila

  • Add all ingredients to a shaker tin and shake with a pinch of crushed ice. Pour ingredients into a tall glass or mason jar and top with crushed ice. Garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme and a striped paper straw.

    Sassafras Saloon

    1233 Vine St

    Los Angeles, CA 90038

    (323) 467-2800

    Sassafras on Urbanspoon

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