White Linen: Sacramento’s signature cocktail

A White Linen from Shady Lady Saloon. | Photo by SACtoday staff

A White Linen from Shady Lady Saloon. | Photo by SACtoday staff

Many cocktails are synonymous with their birthplace — like New York City’s Manhattan or a Rickey from Washington D.C. — but few capture the spirit of a city the way a White Linen captures Sacramento.

The River City original — which the New York Times once called a cocktail only locals could love — is a perfect respite from the summer heat with its cool, crisp blend of gin, elderflower, simple syrup, cucumber + lemon served in a Collins glass. The “handcrafted cocktail” also encapsulates the city’s position as the Farm To Fork Capital, using fresh, small-batch ingredients.

The drink itself isn’t particularly old — dating back to 2008. During Sacramento Cocktail Week, then-bartender at Ella Dining Room, Rene Dominguez, created the drink that quickly became a regional favorite. So much so, in fact, that a canned version of the cocktail was soon made available for Sacramentans to pick up and take home — although it’s sadly no longer available.

As more and more bartenders came to the City of Trees to either jumpstart or perfect their craft at Prohibition era-style bars like Shady Lady Saloon, Rene left Ella for places like the now-closed Capital Dime. They took our sweet + simple cocktail with them to establishments like San Francisco’s acclaimed Bourbon & Branch to share with the world.

Here’s how to make your own White Linen:


  • 1 ½ ounces Hendrick’s gin
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • ½ ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 3 cucumber slices + some extra for garnish
  • Soda water (can be substituted with Sprite if you’d like a sweeter version)


  • Mix gin, juice, syrup, liqueur + three cucumber slices in a shaker half-filled with ice.
  • Shake until chilled.
  • Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice.
  • Splash some soda on top.
  • Garnish with a few more cucumber slices.
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