Sarsaparilla does not feature in many classic cocktails. Perhaps that’s because the drink – derived from the smilax glyciphylla plant and often combined with flavours of licorice, caramel and vanilla – is commercially produced in just a few countries. Fortunately for us, Australia is one of the stalwarts.

Kristin Miilits from Mrs Jones, located upstairs at Sydney’s the Orient Hotel on Kendall Lane at The Rocks, says it’s our long love affair with the spicy soda that directly inspired the venue’s creation, Sassy Sarsaprilla. “It’s a throwback memory of my childhood where a mixed crate of soft drinks were delivered weekly to the front door,” says Miilits. “For me it was my neighbours next door who ensured we played at their house the next day in the hope of being offered a cold serve of it on ice.”

This modern update to a decidedly adults-only version pairs sarsaparilla with bourbon, sweet vermouth, and agave syrup to match the sweetness of the dark soda.

Sassy Sarsparilla
Makes 1 serve. Approx 1.4 standard drinks.

30ml Maker’s Mark Bourbon
30ml Martini Rosso (sweet vermouth)
10ml fresh lime juice
15ml agave syrup
100ml Cascade Sarsaparilla

Pour into shaker. Shake and single strain over fresh ice. Top with Cascade Sarsaparilla and garnish with lime wheel and maraschino cherry.

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Coca-Cola South Pacific Pty Ltd. Visit for your chance to win a weekend getaway or $100 voucher at participating venues. Please drink responsibly.