Irresistible spot lights up Monterey with ghosts, Negronis, quality fare -- and tableside Absinthe service
As a cocktail destination, 1833 has no equal in the entire area. Bar manager Michael Lay oversees aging cocktails in barrels with colonial names like Betsy and Abigail. Lay's talent is apparent in a range of classically influenced cocktails like Commander in Chief ($11), Bulleit Rye whiskey, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, Campari, Cherry Heering, and orange bitters with a peaty Laphroaig Scotch rinse.
Besides a tableside absinthe cart (brilliant), offering some of my favorites like Duplais or Vieux Pontarlier, Lay makes a mean Hot Buttered Rum prepared tableside. His recipe is perked up with pumpkin pie spice and lemon peel. My favorite cocktail here is a twist on the Penicillin, a Penicillin No. 2 ($11). Instead of Scotch, Lay uses Tres Agaves Reposado Tequila and tops the drink with smoky mezcal, alongside the usual lemon and candied ginger. Further fun is had comparing barrel-aged Negronis, a nine-week-aged Abigail ($12) using Tanqueray gin, Campari, Amaro Nonino, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, and Ruth-Anne, a more gin-forward Negroni.
We've seen each of these parts, yes, but not this exact whole. I long for more settings in my own city as bewitching and multifaceted as 1833. Thankfully, Monterey is not too far away. *
500 Hartnell, Monterey
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