MADRID, SPAIN. Along the narrow streets of Malasaña, there are seemingly endless spots to enjoy a drink, but sometimes bars and cafés begin to look and feel the same. The newly created 1862 Dry Bar has already succeeded in setting itself apart from the occasionally redundant drinking scene in Madrid. It has chosen a name inspired by the original bartender’s reference guide, How to Mix Drinks, or The Bon Vivant’s Companion, first published in 1862, and the bar staff pride themselves on the craft of the cocktail, using recipes that have survived generations, and mixing drinks that look good, smell good, and demand a slow sip.
1862 Dry Bar is the kind of place where your Mint Julep is served in a cold, metal cup, a nostalgic touch that lends itself to the philosophy of the bar: simplicity and quality. They specialize in whipping up a true, dry cocktail. Historically, these simple, strong drinks have been made with just two or three ingredients, allowing quality to naturally overshadow quantity. Somewhere along the way, cocktails became drinks boasting mere decoration and hollow showmanship, mediocrity hidden behind an overpriced façade.
But that doesn’t mean simple cocktails have to be boring. Here you will see the bartenders mixing drinks with names like Moscow Mule, Gin Fizz, Sidecar, Sazerac, and Vesper (all 8.00 Euros), utilizing their arsenal of disparate alcohols, bitters and ryes. Order a single malt Scotch, neat or on the rocks, (starting at 10.00 Euros), a shot of high-quality vodka made from glacier water from Greenland (10.00 Euros), a Brandy Alexander or a Bloody Mary prepared the classic way (both 8.00 Euros).
Get a margarita made in the original style, or enjoy the tried and true dry Martini (shaken or stirred). There are more than ten distinguishable varieties of gin and collection of Japanese whiskies. The ice is crushed by hand, sprigs of fresh mint and dried blueberries are used for simple garnishes, and citrus rinds are delicately peeled and squeezed for added character and nuance. There are no noisy blenders, soft drink fountain guns, pastel crazy straws or paper umbrellas at this bar.
But you don’t have to be a mixologist to properly quench your thirst here. The bar staff are connoisseurs, and they enjoy tailoring drinks to the tastes of their customers. Even if you’ve never heard of flips, fixes, smashes, sours or toddies, rest assured there is something behind the bar waiting to exercise your palate. One specialty is the orgeat-infused Japanese Cocktail (8.00 Euros), such a refreshing drink with a rich almond taste that it is difficult to drink only one.
The vaguely blue-lit ambience of 1862 Dry Bar is simple but classy. Two chandeliers with bundles of tiny white lights hang from the high ceiling, and an over-sized mirror towers behind the bar, creating the illusion of a broader room. The only real signage is under the bar: a cranky quote, written in classic typewriter font, from pulp fiction writer and screenwriter Raymond Chandler, expressing his own particular requirements for the preparation of a gimlet (8.00 Euros), a favorite drink of his. It embodies the bar’s nostalgia and approach to making drinks.
Behind the hum of conversation, the clinking of ice in glasses and the occasional martini shaker, jazz standards and old American classics play at a comfortable volume, and 1862 Dry Bar proves to be a great new joint to unwind, imbibe, and get your classic drink on.
Also try Adam & Van Eekelen across the street, run by the same owners. A warehouse specializing in quality gins and vodkas, it doubles as a cozy bar on the weekends.
e Pez 27
Tel. +34 609 53 11 51
Metro: Noviciado (L2)
Hours: Mon.–Thurs. 9 a.m – 1:30 a.m.
Fri. 9 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.
Sat. 10 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.
Sun. 5 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.