Honoring a Saucy Aviatrix

Miss Ollie’s adds a twist to a traditional cocktail for The Bessie Coleman.


The Bessie Coleman.

Photos by Lori Eanes

Behind the bar at Caribbean restaurant Miss Ollie’s, where skillet-fried chicken and island-style pork hold down the kitchen, lead bartender Rachel Satterfield is making moves. Along with traditional cocktails, she’s serving original creations like The Frederick Douglass, The Panther, The Obama, and The Bessie Coleman. If you’re sensing a theme, it’s because you’ve caught onto Satterfield’s inspiration. It’s something you should follow to Old Oakland and her ever-evolving menu.

The Frederick Douglas is a Mauby-centered beverage mixed with gin while The Panther is “a shot of really black, really dark-black, strap rum” paired with a Guinness. The Obama is a play on the traditional El Presidente that’s made with black vermouth and añejo rum. But this month, the spotlight is on The Bessie Coleman, a drink named for the first female African-American and Native-American civil aviator. The cocktail is a stunner designed as a twist on an old favorite. “It’s a flip on the Aviation,” said Satterfield. “Instead of maraschino cherry liqueur, we’re using blackberry cognac, which is perfect. It’s like that saying, ‘The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice.’” She gets this right, as the beverage is indeed juicy, refreshing, and deliciously sweet—perfect for a warm weekend in May.


Rachel Satterfield.

​Satterfield said, “The thing about this cocktail is chef and I have been on a jag of flipping classic cocktails and naming them after women of color or just black folks in general.”

When you stop by to taste the offerings at Miss Ollie’s, feel free to order food and then drink with abandon and enjoy every flavor. When asked what she would eat when savoring The Bessie Coleman, Satterfield answered, “I’m obsessed with the jerk shrimp that we sell—four large gulf shrimp with the head on. And I just love this really clean, citrusy drink. I would try to drink one of those drinks per shrimp.”

Take a hint from a bartender full of good ideas and do this for yourself.

Miss Ollie’s, 901 Washington St., Oakland,  510-285-6188, RealMissOlliesoakland.com.


The Bessie Coleman

1.5 ounces The Walter Collective Gin

0.5 ounces lemon juice

0.5 ounces Francois Peyrot Mure (Blackberry) Au Cognac

Couple drops Bitter Girl Bitter Rose Bitters

1 Luxardo cherry and syrup


Add all ingredients except the cherry and syrup to a shaker and shake. Double-strain into a coupe. Add the cherry and syrup.


Published online on May 18, 2017 at 8:00 a.m.