The menu at 1886 (1886 at The Raymond, 1250 South Fair Oaks Ave.,Pasadena, CA  91105; 626.441.3136) changes every few months to reflect the change in seasons. This summer, the seasonal list is extra-special, highlighting mixological collaborations.

Each of the dozen drinks on the list is the work of an 1886 Bartender in partnership with either another bartender or one of The Raymond’s chefs. The cocktails are a mix of creative variations on classics and totally off-the-wall originals.

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To create the Savory Piña Colada, Wiese worked with The Raymond Sous Chef Chris Hoey. They do a Piña Colada every summer and this summer, grab this savory version by incorporating pistachio-infused rum and replacing coconut with low-fat yogurt. Another classic with a twist on the new menu is the French 86, the product of The Raymond’s Pastry Chef, Isaac Carter, and 1886 Bartender Gillian Georges. The drink has gin, lemon and Champagne with strawberry liqueur as the sweetener. But the clever part is the flute is spritzed with a strawberry-long pepper reduction that Carter concocted, in the shape of a lipstick print, creating a sexy “strawberry kiss” on the rim of the glass.

Tiki cocktails are on the new menu, but unlike you have seen before. First, there’s the Abandon Ship, a collaboration between Peter Lloyd Jones of 1886 and Jesse Phillips of Sonny’s Hideaway in Highland Park. It’s a powerful mix of cognac, rye whiskey, rum and Cynar with lime and passion fruit. For the clever garnish, a passion fruit shell “boat” with a lime peel “sail” is filled with high-proof rum and set on fire. Next comes the Calypso, the work of 1886’s Jesus Gomez and Sonny’s Hideaway’s Kelly O’Hare. It’s similar to a Manhattan, but made with two types of rum, one of them infused with fresh figs instead of whiskey. Then they added sweet vermouth, herbal liqueur Bénédictine and a mix of Angostura and tobacco bitters. Another product of Gomez and O’Hare’s collaboration is the Nine Pieces of Eight. It is a combo of that same fig-infused rum with rye, apple brandy, Amaro CioCiaro, honey, pineapple, lime, grapefruit and spiced velvet falernum syrup. The final tiki drink is the Age of Piracy, created by Gomez and 1886 original Bartender, Greg Gertmenian. The cocktail mixes pineapple, lime, grapefruit, cinnamon syrup, spiced vanilla liqueur with the unexpected combo of aged rum and single malt Scotch.

If stiff libations are more your speed, try the 36 Chambers from 1886’s Jones and Sonny’s Hideaway’s Phillips. It combines peated Hakushu Japanese whisky, Yellow Chartreuse from France, Averna Amaro from Italy and a house-made tobacco tincture. It’s garnished with a strip of Tibetan rope incense wrapped around the frozen glass and set alight.

The Tale of Two Cities features eucalyptus and was created by current 1886 Bartender Selene Martinez with her friend Lacey Murillo, who was also one of the original crew at 1886 and now tends bar in Australia. Their mix of rum, apple brandy and eucalyptus actually comes as two different drinks: one up in a coupe glass and the other on the rocks in an Old Fashioned glass. If you happen to travel Down Under, you’ll find the exact same drink on offer at Murillo’s bar, Dom’s Cocktail Lounge in Penrith, New South Wales.

Take a trip to the French countryside with the Pasteque Jaune, by 1886 Bartender Ned Kirby and Garrett McKechnie, who was previous Head Barman at 1886 before becoming a cocktail consultant for the LA bar team of Aidan Demarest and Marcos Tello. The name is French for yellow watermelon, a special fruit that’s only in season for a few weeks each year. It is a mix of yellow watermelon-infused vermouth, the French liqueur Suze and a little Plymouth Gin.

The Blue Sky, a collaboration between Carter and Jones, mixes mezcal, tequila, watermelon juice and fiery habanero-infused vanilla syrup. It’s served on a glass mirror, with a pile of Breaking Bad-inspired citrus-and-sugar crystals dyed bright blue. Sip the cocktail and eat the candy, and the two combine to create the final flavor.

Cocktail buffs may know of the Pousse Café as a multicolored shot made of layers of different liquors, but back in the 19th century, the term referred to a digestif drink, to be consumed after a meal. 1886’s old-school version, created by Wiese and Georges, stirs together a variety of traditional digestif spirits like Amaro, apple brandy, cognac and Campari, and tops them with rich espresso bean-infused cream. (For a real adventure, try the “professional version” of the Pousse Café, which adds a whole egg yolk to the mix.)

Ready for dessert? Order the Frozen Hot Chocolate, created by Hoey and Gertmenian. “Cold hot chocolate cocktails are trendy in New York.” Wiese says. “Greg wanted to recreate one, but make it something uniquely west-coast.” He used a base of champurrado, a Mexican hot chocolate made with dark chocolate, unrefined sugar, milk, star anise, vanilla and cinnamon. That’s spiked with reposado tequila, frozen and served topped with freshly whipped cream.

If all these concoctions weren’t enough, 1886 will feature a chalkboard menu with daily and weekly specials throughout the summer. On top of that, the bar has an off-menu collection of over 1,000 drinks. So order up!

Photo Credit: acuna-hansen

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