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Bella Donna – Vaca

Bella Donna

Created by Renee Griego, Bar Manager of Vaca Restaurant in Costa Mesa, California, the Bella Donna finds gin and whisky coming together to do something more typically done by rum.

A more labor-intensive cocktail, “the Bella Donna was inspired by a classic Scotch cocktail, the Penicillin, but I wanted to take it in a tiki direction, highlighting the fruit flavors and adding more tropical notes to it by using macadamia nut and mango,” explains Renee. “The outcome is a beautiful, layered, and complex cocktail, with elements of spice, fruit and the underlying elegance of a Speyside Scotch.”

Bella Donna


  • 1 oz. Speyburn Bradan Orach Speyside Single Malt  
  • 1 oz. Barr Hill Gin  
  • .50 oz Bigallet China-China Liqueur
  • .75 oz. Macadamia nut orgeat*
  • .75 oz. fresh lime juice 

Directions: Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with fresh ice.  Shake vigorously for ten seconds. Fine strain the contents into an 8 oz rocks glass over fresh ice. Top with mango-ginger foam* and freshly grated nutmeg. 

To make the macadamia nut orgeat: 

  • 16 oz macadamia nut 
  • 16 oz sugar  
  • 16 oz water

Toast macadamia nuts in a large pot over medium heat. Once the nuts are toasted and aromatic, add water and sugar. Let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and store overnight at room temperature. Strain the macadamia nuts out after 24 hours. 

To make the mango-ginger foam for the garnish

  • .50 oz ginger syrup*  
  • 1 oz mango puree 
  • .25 oz simple syrup 
  • 1 oz egg white 
  • .75 oz cold water 
  • .50 teaspoon of gelatin  

To make the ginger syrup: 

Peel and juice 8 oz fresh ginger. Strain out any ginger pulp with a fine mesh strainer. Add 8 oz granulated sugar and whisk together until sugar fully dissolves. Add all ingredients to an ISI whipper and shake it very lightly and let it sit for two minutes, allowing the gelatin to begin to set. Then use two NO2 chargers, shaking the ISI for 15 seconds between each charge.