These days, we’re seeing a shift in terms of food and drink. We’re quickly moving away from the chain restaurant revolution (for true foodies, that is), and for drink, you’re hearing the term Mixologist used quite regularly.
Here in LA (actually, Pasadena), 1886 Bar has been working up something cool for the beverage conoisseur in you. They’re aging cocktails for you, but not the typical cocktail “aging” that you’re used to. Aged cocktails were first introduced to the marketplace in England where a bartender at watering hole 69 Colebrooke Row started glass-aging cocktails just to see what happened. 1886 decided that they needed in on that action, but they needed to stand out.
“The big question was, how do we, do it differently from anyone else,” says Danny Cymbal, 1886’s barman. “Lots of bars were doing whiskey-based, darker cocktails, but the end result was hidden by the color of the liquid. So we decided to try it with a lighter alcohol.”
The team at 1886 approached Beefeater Gin’s Erick Castro, who loved their idea, and provided the bar an actual barrel with as much gin as they wanted, er, needed. The crew began their research, mixing, and tasting to decide what deliciousness they were gonna add to the cask. While most the staff focused on creating the drinks for the experiment, Cymbal went a different route – he wanted to use a cocktail that he didn’t like:
“I wanted to choose something not all that great to see if it could be improved in the barrel”
This led him to focusing on the classic Caprice – a blend of gin, dry vermouth, Benedictine and orange bitters. Due to the fact that this cocktail would be aged, Cymbal and Tello decided to add “Vintage” to the name.
So what now you ask?
After all the testing and sampling was done, Cymbal’s choice of the Vintage Caprice was selected to be barreled. First, they seasoned the barrel with sherry, thoroughly rinsing it with the spirit over a week-long period. Then the cask was filled with 24 liters of Beefeater, six liters of Benedictine and six liters of Dolin dry vermouth. Four months later, the first batch of the cocktail was ready for consumption, but half was left behind to serve as the base for the eight-month vintage coming out toward the end of October.
And the end result?
“I think its great — it’s exactly what I hoped it would be,” Cymbal enthuses. “Aging it really mellowed it. In its original form, the Caprice’s taste is very bright and sharp, but aging it makes it delicious. I’m excited to see what happens in another month when the eight-month vintage is ready!”
Head over to 1886 and experience a Vintage Caprice flight featuring the drink in its original form, the four-month vintage and the eight-month maturation. So come try the barrel- aged Vintage Caprice — a cocktail that honors Pasadena’s rich history.
1886 Bar at The Raymond
1250 South Fair Oaks Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91105