One of Richmond’s most anticipated new cocktail spots, The Jasper, is finally within days of opening in Carytown. I stopped by the soft opening on Friday night.
When you hear that two of the owners are Matthias Hagglund—previously co-owner and creator of amazing cocktails at Heritage—and Thomas Leggett who was longtime head of the celebrated bar at The Roosevelt, you know it’s going to be a drink-centric establishment. The third owner, Kevin Liu, owns Carytown Cupcakes, which is located right next door, as well as The Tin Pan, and is also passionate about creative cocktails. You will also see familiar face Brandon Peck of The Roosevelt behind the bar.
The vibe is definitely retro speakeasy. Dim lighting, a spacious bar, and plush seating areas in the back beckon visitors to settle in for a drink… or four. Details like tin-stamped ceilings, belt-driven fans, and gothic art, create a classic offbeat vibe that fits Richmond nicely.
The Menu at The Jasper
As you might guess, the largest portion of the menu at The Jasper is dedicated to craft cocktails. There are House Cocktails created by the experts there, as well as Classics and Beyond that are more based in history. I snagged sips of several libations during my visit.
The Quoit Club Punch, which is the official drink of Richmond’s Quoit Club and was crafted by Jasper Crouch (where the restaurant’s name came from) is light and citrusy with with Jamaican rum, brandy, rainwater madeira, lemon and sugar.
The Montenegro Bay was boozy yet breezy with Amaro Montenegro, Smith & Cross rum, Barenjager, allspice dram, grapefruit, lemon and absinthe. The Northbound Turnaround was dark and lush with DonQ Anejo rum, Pedro Ximenez sherry, Amaro Zucca, and aged bitters. The group favorite of the evening was the Caribbean Kween with Blackstrap tequila, Cappelletti, Ancho Reyes chili liqueur, pineapple, lime, and tiki bitters—this drink was sweet, spicy, tropical and deliciously drinkable.
Another favorite was the Draft Zombie, a potent-yet-tropical blend of rums, Falernum, granadine, cinnamon, grapefruit, lime, and absinthe.
The Jasper also offers a nitro bourbon and ginger for $8, an array of beers and wines to choose from.
Food at The Jasper
The small food menu spans a few sandwiches, snacks like hen liver pate and pretzel bread, as well as conservas–gourmet tinned or canned snacks like tuna belly and octopus in paprika. Let’s be clear, though, the menu is definitely designed for popping in for a drink and a snack over for a full meal. Therefore, Carytown, with its plethora of shops and restaurants, is the perfect location.
The Jasper Hours
After it opens on Tuesday, the Jasper will be open nightly from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., also adding a much-needed classy late-night cocktail spot to Richmond’s drinks scene.