The old Hollywood glamour vibe of the space at The Roosevelt Room in Austin, Texas, harkens back to the swanky bars and art deco designs of the 1920s, but with a sleek twist.

Its high-vaulted ceilings and exposed brick are offset by soft leather bar stools, generously sized booths, Waterford Crystal glasses, and a backlit bar. In addition to the downstairs bar space, The Roosevelt Room also offers an upstairs mezzanine with a small bar for further revelry.

The Roosevelt team has created a space as beautifully crafted as the cocktails it serves. Ranging from pre-Prohibition to modern classics, the cocktail menu boasts 53 carefully crafted, historically accurate classics, as well as nine innovative house cocktails.

Two of the ingredients for the Black Pearl include charcoal powder and liquid silver. Not only do The Roosevelt Room’s award-winning bartenders, Dennis Gobis and Justin Lavenue, perfectly incorporate these unusual ingredients, the presentation of this cocktail is also pretty cool.

Dennis Gobis in white shirt and suspenders

Dennis Gobis

Photo by Alex Miller

What was your inspiration behind the Black Pearl?

We wanted to create a drink that transported people onto the Black Pearl and make them feel as though they were indulging a recently acquired treasure from their latest pillage.

What are your thoughts on the popularity of batching cocktails?

Overall, we are proponents of batching. Although it can, in some ways, detract from the showmanship of bartending, batching cocktails (especially ones that have a large number of ingredients) decreases the production time of the cocktail (and, thus, the time guests have to wait); improves consistency between each drink, so guests can be sure to get the same drink every time they order it; saves space in the bartender’s well (allowing for more things to be placed within arm’s reach, which further decreases cocktail production time), and allows the bar/bartender to put drinks on a menu that have unique flavor combinations and production processes—because in addition to saving time measuring, a lot of the ingredients can be prepped before the shift and placed in the batch (which can also improve the shelf life of certain ingredients, as they are stabilized in alcohol).

The Roosevelt Bar and Menu Board

The Roosevelt Bar and Menu Board

Photo by Alex Miller

Talk to us about the beverage program at The Roosevelt Room.

The Roosevelt Room’s beverage program accommodates the bar’s high-volume needs while maintaining significant attention to detail in each and every cocktail. The program features an extensive chalkboard menu of more than 50 historic cocktails, organized by time period. Each has been tweaked for the modern palate when necessary. The Roosevelt Room also features a menu of meticulously created house cocktails (which rotate seasonally), several nonalcoholic options, and a wide-ranging array of spirits.

The Roosevelt Lounge Area and Pool Table

The Roosevelt Lounge Area and Pool Table

Photo by Marc Swendner

Tell us about mixing with charcoal powder and liquid silver.

Once the batched cocktail is stirred, the charcoal and liquid silver combine to create a pearlescent drink that looks very much like the color of a black pearl.

The Black Pearl cocktail with smoking garnish

The Black Pearl

Photo by Eric Medsker

The Black Pearl


  • 1 oz. Johnnie Walker Black
  • .5 oz. Barolo Chinato
  • .25 oz. Talisker Storm
  • .25 oz. Smith & Cross Rum
  • .25 oz. Nux Alpina Walnut Liqueur
  • 2 dashes Abbott’s Bitters
  • .25 tsp. charcoal powder
  • 1 drop liquid silver
  • Lemon peel (for garnish)

Preparation: Pour ingredients over a small ice sphere in a stemless wine glass. Stir briefly to further chill and garnish with a lemon peel. Place the cocktail a small wood box, latch the chest, and then light clove incense and insert to the ember 1/4” into the hole in the back of the box. Wait for 10–20 seconds while the box fills with smoke. Open the box, let the smoke billow, then remove the small incense stick from the back and extinguish.