Thursday, December 29, 2011

Warm Up with the Winter Cocktail Menu at 1886

1886 only gets better and better.  Pasadena's premiere cocktail spot has settled into a comfortable groove of innovation in its just over one year of existence.  Cocktail consultant Marcos Tello still provides guidance but now the team led by talented head barman Garrett McKechnie has been allowed to shine.  The new winter menu, which is smoke and beers themed, has cocktails created by many of the staff members.  This collective approach which highlights the deep bench, rather than focusing on a single wizard, is a telling sign of the 1886 ethos: unpretentious quality and comfortable fun.

The most dramatic cocktail on the menu is undoubtedly The Smoking Jacket, a Lacey Murillo cocktail served in a brandy snifter.  The base is Pot Still Irish Whiskey with house-made 1886 tobacco bitters, maplewood smoke and orange-vanilla ash.  As the smoke fills up and rises out of the glass, other patrons will inevitably look at your cocktail with curiousity and perhaps a twinge of jealously.  The cocktail is completed with the addition of the orange-vanilla ash, which adds a sweet and smoky element.  With such strong visual and olfactory elements there is a danger that the flavor might not live up to the other senses, melting away like the smoke into the night air.  Fortunately the taste delivers, enabling this take on an Old Fashioned to be a feast for all of your senses.

Marcos Tello descrived Brady Weise's Coffee and Cigarettes as "a chocolate version of a White Russian, but it's lengthened with stout, so it has this heavy chocolate coffee note and looks like coffee.  So when you drink this cocktail, you get the chocolate and coffee notes, and then you eat the cigarette and the vanilla flavor comes in. From afar, it actually looks like someone drinking their coffee and eating their cigarette."
The cocktail is made with Vodka, Dark Crème de Cacao, Yeti Stout, Hand Whipped Cream, & Vanilla Paper Rolled Cigarette.  The coffee notes from the Stout Beer come through loud and clear as this cocktail embodies both themes of smoke and beer.

On a cold night the warming effect of a Grog Logged, a creation of Greg Gertmenian, is just what the doctor ordered.  The cocktail is made with Black Rum and 1886's own proprietary grog recipe which includes ale, sugar and lime.  The drink name is a tribute to Jeff "Beachbum" Berry.  The cocktail is served in a jar wrapped in a koozie made out of rope.  This beverage is as potent as it is warm.

Another noteworthy addition to the 1886 repertoire is Danny Cymbal's Oak Knoll Manhattan, which is a twist on the classic incorporating housemade mulled wine vermouth.  It incorporates Bonded Bourbon with dry vermouth, mulled vermouth and garnished with dried sugar (the snowflake in the cocktail above).   The vermouth is housemade mulled wine vermouth utilizing several locally grown spices and botanicals.  Now Pasadena has its own Manhattan variation.  Who knows, perhaps soon bartenders will name their versions after neighborhoods in the area instead of those in Brooklyn.

Whether it is house-mulled vermouth, house-made bitters or creating their own grog, 1886 is focusing on putting their own touches on their cocktails by making their own ingredients.  The other new additions to the Winter Menu are:

Con Abuelita: Ancho-Chile infused Reposado Tequila, 1886 Hot Chocolate Mix, & Ancho-Chile Marshmallow
Chic(ory) Flip: Chicory-Coffee infused Rye Whiskey, Yeti Stout, One Whole Egg, & Carmelized Chicory-Coffee Sugar
Pimm’s Cup No. 2: Scotch based Pimm’s No. 2, citrus juices, ginger, mint, cucumber, & soda water Holland Daze: Bols Genever, Housemade Pistachio Orgeat, Maraschino Liqueur, Lemon & Housmade Sambuca Bitters
Per-Sin-Amen: Mescal, Fresh Persimmons, Housemade Cinnamon Bark Syrup, Lime, & Chocolate-Creole Bitters

1886 at the Raymond: 1250 South Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena.  Phone: 626.441.3136 |


  1. I think the Grog Logged was a perfect drink for that evening...warm and spicy, just right for a wintry night!

  2. Love the photos! I still have to make my way over there for the new cocktails.