The Story Behind The Shiso Rona

At The Roosevelt Room, a chic cocktail bar and event space set in a historic warehouse nestled in the heart of downtown Austin*, guests indulge in the contrasting experiences of both classic and innovative cocktails.

Head bartender Sharon Yeung has created a unique twist on a version of the timeless sour, which she dubbed the Shiso Rona as a play on her own nickname, “Sharona.” Combining vodka, lemon and lime juices, pink peppercorn syrup, and cucumber bitters, the Shiso Rona is a refreshing and complex cocktail. Yeung garnishes the drink with a single shiso leaf, a tribute to her Chinese heritage.

“I wanted to create an approachable vodka cocktail with a slight Asian flair, and this spin on the Old Maid has all the components of the classic, but reimagined,” Yeung says. (The Old Maid typically combines a clear spirit with citrus and cucumber.)

Yeung’s inventive update offers several complementary flavor elements. “The pink peppercorn lends a soft subtle spice, and cucumber bitters [create] a fun 'pickle-y' element, while the shiso adds a fresh herbal kick,” she says.

Ed. note: At the time of publishing, The Roosevelt Room will be closed to ensure the safety of staff and patrons during the coronavirus pandemic. For more information, visit the Roosevelt Room on Instagram or read a statement from the business here.


  • 1 ½ ounces Tito’s Vodka
  • ¾ ounce citrus (⅜ ounce lemon juice and ⅜ ounce lime juice)
  • ¾ ounce pink peppercorn syrup (recipe follows)
  • 2 dashes cucumber bitters
  • 1 shiso leaf


  1. Shake well over cubed ice.
  2. Double-strain into a Nick & Nora glass.
  3. Garnish with a shiso leaf.

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Yield: 1
Updated: 2020-06-03

Pink Peppercorn Syrup Ingredients

  • 600 milliliters or 20 ounces (by volume) sugar
  • 500 milliliters or 17 ounces water
  • ½ cup or 4 ounces (by volume) pink peppercorns

Pink Peppercorn Syrup Directions

  1. Spread pink peppercorns on a baking sheet, then toast in an oven at 200 degrees for 15 minutes.
  2. Combine sugar and water in a blender and blend on high for 5 minutes until sugar has completely dissolved.
  3. Place the peppercorns into the blender and blend on high for 30 seconds.
  4. Strain through a cheesecloth (or micron bag) and bottle.
  5. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
The Shiso Rona Cocktail