Get Your El Frosty and Other Winter Cocktails at 1886
Former 1886 bartender Lacey Murillo may have left the States for Australia and love but she did come up with El Frosty, the snowman shaped cocktail igniting our winter fantasies. She also gives credit to The Raymond’s Executive Pastry Chef, Jeff Haines for coming up with the heads. L.A. isn’t usually very cold in the winter so it’s nice to have this playful cocktail to remind us there’s such a thing as snow elsewhere. I rarely order the same drink twice in one evening but considered doing so when I finished the drink.
El Frosty – Anejo tequila, cinnamon bark syrup, housemade spiced tres leches cream, egg yolk
We also got a few snacks with our drinks. I originally wanted to get the shrimp toast I love so much at 1886 but was glad to try a new dish, the Vietnamese style wings. Made with fish sauce, mint and garlic, these petite wings packed a huge flavor. We also enjoyed the expertly made papaya salad. Now this is Asian fusion I like.
What I really like about the 1886 cocktails list are the stories behind the cocktails. When I go to bars, I like hearing the chit chat and history of how drinks came to be. At 1886, it can be busy and since the bar is so small, they don’t really have bar stools to hang out at. So it’s nice sometimes to get the background from the menu. The Chevalier Sangaree made have been created in Scotland but it is also a tribute for Maurice Chevalier, a local liquor rep for Anchor Distilling.
Chevalier Sangaree – Glenrothes Select Reserve Scotch, Amaretto, pear brandy, bianco vermouth
I had been looking for mushroom fries to replace my once beloved portabello fries from Bottega Louie (they are just NOT the same). 1886 serves up some delicious ones. The batter is light and the mushrooms are so flavorful, you hardly needed the ranch dressing.
With the curious name of Angry blue mussels, I expected the mussels to be just a tad spicier. But then again, I really can’t handle too spicy so the mussels were perfect with a Chinese sausage, Thai chili, ginger and lemongrass broth. We made sure to get all the broth with the perfectly buttered bread. I really do enjoy the Asian inspired bar menu. However, there’s still burgers, tots, fries, grilled cheese and flatbread for those seeking that.
Bartenders at 1886 are a creative bunch. Pete Lloyd Jones created Bank Heist (Bank Note Scotch, plum syrup, bitters) as a tribute to local a ghost legend. As an amateur ghost hunter, I was fascinated by the tale. One of Pasadena’s oldest standing building, a bank, was built on already haunted site and tales of woe has continued to befall the building including a bank heist gone wrong. Stories of rotting smells, bones and other gory bits lingered through time. Now you can take a ghost tour but I might suggest a drink or two first. Scotch is perfect.
Of course, 1886 has its own share of ghost stories. Ask any of the bartenders to tell you about Mr. Raymond. If you dare…
Admiral’s Nightcap (aged rum, allspice dram, agave, lime, apple juice) is the type of drink I love about the neo-tiki trend. Not too sweet but still evocative of the fun tiki lifestyle. I salute this drink and you.
And for all you bar stalkers, one of the Minty’s Hot Bartenders Rosie Ruiz has landed at 1886.
There are more cocktails I haven’t tried yet on the menu but I might need a someone to hold on to with all these ghost stories. Care to join me for a drink?
1250 South Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91105 – 626-441-3136
© The Minty 2013