Bar Crawl

Charleston in Three Drinks

Prolific actor and distillery owner Walton Goggins shares his favorite drinks from a recent stint filming in the Southern city.

Dmitry Kaminsky

Move over James Brown: Actor Walton Goggins may now be the hardest-working man in show business. He’s been in some of the best-loved TV shows and movies of the last two decades, including memorable roles on The Shield, Sons of Anarchy, and Justified (the last of which won him an Emmy nomination), and in Stephen Spielberg’s Lincoln, and Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, and The Hateful Eight. He even produced and starred in an Oscar winner: 2001 short The Accountant. You can currently catch him in Six, History’s drama about Navy SEAL Team 6 in Afghanistan.

If that wasn’t enough to keep him busy, last year Goggins co-founded Mulholland Distilling with his long-time friend, Hollywood cameraman and photographer Matthew Alper. The brand bottles a vodka, gin, and whiskey, which you can currently find throughout Southern California. (It plans to open a distillery and tasting room in downtown Los Angeles in the coming years.)

Goggins is currently in South Africa working on the new Tomb Raider movie, but for seven months last year, he lived in Charleston, S.C., while filming Vice-Principals, the HBO comedy he stars in opposite Danny McBride (Season 2 will air later this year). The elegant Southern city is renowned for its sophisticated food and drink scene, and Goggins took full advantage. “I can tell you that Danny, myself, and our posse drank every last drop of the good life the lowcountry has to offer and more than our fair share of some of their signature cocktails,” he says. Here are his three favorite drinks.

The Separatist at The Ordinary

Goggins says seafood spot The Ordinary was one of his regular hangouts during filming Vice-Principals. Besides its long menu of oysters, shrimp, snapper, and other Southern delicacies, it also offers a rum-heavy menu of Daiquiris and other cocktails. But Goggins fell in love with its whiskey drink, The Separatist, which is essentially a traditional sour spiked with the bittersweet Sicilian amaro Averna. It “became a bit of an obsession for me… like Glenn Close-in-Fatal Attraction obsession,” he says. (Goggins even stole the recipe and posted a Mulholland Distilling version on the brand’s website.)

Elderflower G&T at Leon’s

Leon’s is another local spot famous for oysters—as well as fried chicken, honey-butter hush puppies, and crispy catfish—that feels laid-back but offers an extensive list of grower Champagnes, other cult-favorite wines, and sophisticated cocktails. Its refreshing Elderflower G&T pairs gin with fruity elderflower-infused tonic and celery bitters. “It is sublime,” Goggins says. “The perfect thing to take the edge off of that lowcountry heat.”

Diablo Verde at The Grocery

Opened by a James Beard Award semi-finalist and focused on local ingredients and house-made charcuterie, The Grocery is a great spot to indulge. “I would secretly go there and order a steak for two for one,” he says. To go with the meat (the bone-in ribeye with herb butter and red wine jus), Goggins recommends the Diablo Verde, a sophisticated tequila concoction incorporating Chartreuse, ancho chile, lime, and a jalapeño tincture. “This lovely little agave blend that they make was happy to make its home in my mouth on more than a few occasions,” he says.

Check out our complete Three Drinks travel guide to cocktails.