BATTLE FOR L.A.’S
BEST QUARANTINE COCKTAIL
If there’s one good thing about our current quarantine life is that we can purchase quality cocktails from handcraft bars for pickup or delivery. It doesn’t replace the bar experience we enjoyed pre-COVID-19 but it has allowed us to up our home drinking game while we improve our home bartender skills.
Most bars are offering safe and tame cocktails for pickup or delivery, think margaritas, Negroni or an Old Fashioned. It makes sense, they’re going for the tried and true popular drinks. A couple of daring bars like Thunderbolt and Lanea are offering canned cocktails, which let them batch more daring drinks, like a Vieux Carre riff or a Bramble.
But leave it to The Raymond 1886 in Pasadena, always a leading SoCal bar, to offer the best lineup of drinks for pickup or delivery. And it’s not that their current cocktail menu is the absolute greatest, but because The Raymond restaurant is open for outdoor dining, that means the full bar, operated by some of the best bartenders in town, is able to make any libation an imbiber can crave.
In my case, I can happily order Luis Nava’s sensational Quagmire cocktail, as well as the Jesus Gomez brilliantly boozy Williamsburg. Both of these two-year-old original cocktails are some of the best local drinks I’ve enjoyed in years. And to be able to order them in 8oz batches is just heaven.
I’ve been wanting to put together a Luis vs. Jesus / Quagmire vs. Williamsburg contest for quite some time as I really needed to know which badass bartender makes the better (and in this case we’re talking genius-level) cocktail.
A summer sensation from the bar’s Cartoons & Cocktails menu, Luis’ The Quagmire is sweet, boozy and balanced and just works to perfection. Made with Larceny Bourbon, homemade fig syrup, tiki bitters and figs used for syrup re-used for garnish, the bar liked to call this Old Fashioned style drink “figgitty”.
It is absolutely out-of-this-world good.
Meanwhile, Jesus’ Williamsburg, from the bar’s Wealth and Hellness menu, is a boozy brew made with Carpano Antica, Cio Ciaro, Dr. Byrd Jamaican Rum, Batavia Arrack, and lemon peel as the garnish. A seriously potent cocktail—almost a one and done dynamo of a drink—this one never disappoints when crafted by Jesus.
So, side by side, which was the better drink? It was a really tough call. And sure, mood depends on the outcome too. These are both boozy cocktails but the Williamsburg packs a slightly meaner punch, while the Quagmire is a tad subtler.
Drinking these two cocktails on the same night makes for a spectacular evening. And I chose The Quagmire as the winning drink. It’s less mean, better rounded and a little more complex. Don’t get me wrong, the Williamsburg is phenomenal and works for anyone who likes a potent drink but The Quagmire is just something really special.
And that’s the beauty of the cocktails at The Raymond 1886—the sky is the limit when it comes to creativity and daring drinks. And now that you can get batches of the city’s best drinks for home consumption, well, now we’re taking safer and happier at home.
Story By: Jose Martinez
Photography Courtesy Of: The Raymond 1886