Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Barrel Aged Cocktail Flight, New Fall Menu at 1886 Bar

Vintage Caprice, 1886's barrel-aged gin cocktail has been on the menu since last season. At that time, it was a 4-month aged cocktail. What we didn't know then, is that they were still aging 2/3 of the barrel. Now, the 8-month aged version has hit this Pasadena gem, and guests can now enjoy a whole flight of the Vintage Caprice: a freshly made one, the 4-month, and the 8-month aged. It's the best way to see what barrel aging does.

Vintage Caprice
The Caprice is a forgotten classic cocktail made with gin (1886 uses Beefeater), benedictine, dry vermouth, and orange bitters. 1886 barman Danny Cymbal thought it had potential for aging. The "Vintage" Caprice is this cocktail aged in a Hudson bourbon barrel that has been rinsed with sherry. To fill the barrel, they dumped 24 bottles of Beefeater.

I tasted the flight last month (it was a 7-month aged Vintage Caprice at that time) with Marcos Tello and Beefeater rep Erick Castro.
Marcos Tello

You can taste the juniper, as well as the high octane in the fresh Caprice. The 4-month version was sweeter, smoother, and rounder. Getting to the 7-month, the barrel had gone through the hot Pasadena summer, which meant the contents had pulled the wood faster. The 7-month was earthier, rounder, and much more bourbon-like. I liked the 4-month best, as you kind of miss the gin flavor in the older one.

For those looking for drinks on the sweeter side, there's a new Fall menu as well, including this fragrant Earl Grey Martini (created by Audrey Saunders at Pegu Club in NYC back in 2005). The name Audrey Saunders should tell you that this is a well balanced drink.
Earl Grey Martini

Forget beer floats, try the "rum float" (sort of), the Malted Mule.
Malted Mule
From their menu: "Teaming up with our brilliant Pastry Chef Jeff Haines at The Raymond, 1886 mistress Lacey Murillo creates a cocktail from homemade gingersnap ice cream spiked with Lemon Hart 151, Mt. Gay Eclipse Aged rum, a touch of Jamaican rum, and homemade barley malt syrup topped with ginger ale! Delicious."
Yes, it was.

If you want something to munch on, don't miss the homemade potato chips ($6). Their onion dip is addictive!

The sweet and sour Crispy Szechuan Fish ($10) is also an old favorite.
Sweet Sour Fish

If you live in the area and have not been to 1886, I don't know what you're waiting for. Don't forget they have Parlor Hour on Tuesday-Friday, 5-7PM with a daily special cocktail for $7 and their 1886 Champagne Punch for $6 (and $4 beer and $5 wine, but you're supposed to be here for the cocktail).

PS. 1886 Bar is turning 1 on November 17th (coincident with the 125th anniversary of the original The Raymond Hotel). The anniversary party is $55 pp ($65 at the door) including cocktails, beer, wine, and food! Buy your tickets here.

1886 Bar
1250 South Fair Oaks Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91105
(626) 441-3136

Disclosure: this visit was hosted


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