THE RAYMOND 1886
‘TALL TALES & COCKTAILS’
With the start of a new year and a new winter season, change is upon us at The Raymond 1886. The ever-venerable restaurant and leading bar has been a pillar when it comes to serving quality food and cocktails. But change keeps things fresh and exciting as new Executive Chef Jon Hung, Pastry Chef Alexa Clark, and Head Barman Cameron Masden will now make their presence known and felt.
Changeover at 1886 is not new but all eyes are definitely on the new heard barman as the bar’s Tall Tales & Libations menu rolls out. A menu dedicated to libations, legends and lore (oh my!), the new cocktail lists features a new head barman as well as new bartenders but the result is the same quality cocktails that imbibers in the know have come to expect and appreciate from the mad scientist kids from this beloved Pasadena bar program.
The new man in charge behind the bar, Cameron Masden, is a familiar face for bar regulars and he is excited for folks to try this new lineup of cocktails.
“The Tall Tales & Cocktails menu is definitely one for the books,” Masden points out. “With the turnover in the bar this year, we have so many new brains that are heading the cocktail lists that it has some different styles and ingredients that we are not used to seeing on the recent menus. It is a very creative menu focused on mythology and folklore in which I would recommend you read each cocktail description. Every spirit is tied to a location, and that location is full of myths and legends. A lot of the time, the two become very intertwined, so it was very fun to research and create something that was well represented by every aspect of the cocktail. It is the first menu in the start of a new wave of bartenders here and if nothing else, should excite you for the future to come at 1886.”
And while there is no doubt that change is in the air, it’s bar veteran Luis Nava and his boozy Loup-Garou that has crafted my new menu favorite. A lovely rum mix of Hamilton Pot Still Black, house made Canne syrup, and Angostura bitters, the drink is named after a man who made a deal with the devil to have the ability to change form to a werewolf so at night, he could kill whomever and never be caught. Scary story—sensational drink with bite.
Luis’ Atabey is another menu standout. A mix of Proprietary rum blend, lime juice, simple syrup, and blueberry form, every sip is heavenly.
And props to the new man in charge as Cameron has created a fine tiki drink with his Kami of Dawn—a lovely blend of Roku Gin, Green Chartreuse, Yuzu syrup, and lemon juice. Another pleasing tiki style drink, albeit a nod to the delicious Thai ice tea is Nate Baker’s Full Moon Lantern made with Real McCoy 3-year, Thai tea syrup, Licor 43, and coconut water.
Now a seasoned member of the bar staff, Miguel Perez once again impresses with his High Gate Cemetery—an intense Negroni variation made with Anise-infused gin, Barolo Chinato Cocci, St. Geroge Bruto, and Thai basil.
And while this may shock many, I even found one drink on the menu to be too boozy. Those who know me may find that hard to believe but Summon the Jackalope by Becca Kmiecek is wicked strong. A blend of chamomile-infused rye, Carpano, Amaro Angelino, and Yuzu bitters, this is a damn stiff drink and really is a one-and-done cocktail. You’ve been warned.
Emma Sleath and Nate Baker teamed up on Carol Finds a Kelpie, a lovely dessert drink in a glass. A mix of Glen Garioch 12-year, Cammy Poo’s Spiced Honey, and shortbread crumbles, it’s sweet but not overtly.
This winter menu also sees two hot libations. I found Donald’s Digressions, also made by Emma and Nate, to be a great toddy. Made with Johnny Drum Bourbon, Cammy Poo’s Spiced Honey, orange and lemon peel oils, and served with a fortune cookie, this one delights on a cold night.
As the bar welcomes change, it’s great to see that the consistency and creativeness that has made this the best bar program in the Southland has not wavered.
The Raymond 1886 is located at 1250 S. Fair Oaks Avenue in Pasadena. Bar 1886 is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11:30 am to close. Call 626-441-3136.
Story By: Jose Martinez
Photography Courtesy Of: The Raymond 1886