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Milan is the Olympus of drinkers. An arena where, aperitivo after aperitivo, pre-party after pre-party, the best mixologists are battling for the best cocktails. Their weapons? A whole arsenal of distillates and liqueurs, refined techniques and an abundant dose of creativity. In making a good classic cocktail creativity doesn’t help, but much of it is needed to invent a cocktail that becomes a classic. You have to possess more than just inventiveness: you need preparation, experience, intuition. Even today, when state-of-the-art cocktails are widely offered, the real, big players remain few.
How to navigate? How to approach them? If you have been around enough in this city and have an eye for quality, you may already know them. If you want to find out, Gods of Mixology has been designed for you. In this Vol.1, as well as in the following ones, we will list only the best of the best, the diamonds of Milanese mixology, the drinking culture champions. And it will be a clash of the Titans. Ready?
Photo credit © Nottingham Forest
Let’s start off with the city’s most exotic, lively and inventive destination. Nottingham is a temple where we have all been or, if we haven’t yet, we are going to stop by. Forget everything you know about cocktail bars: Nottingham challenges preconceptions and avoids any definitions. No bartenders, no mixologists, only real chefs of drinking. All weapons known to gastronomic science (jellies, sprays, reductions and more) are used in the Nottingham menu. Our favorite? “The Revenant” with an ultrasonic extraction of oak in vodka, insect eggs, and pine resin. Mind blown.
Photo credit © Mag Cafè
Mag has long been a go-to spot for Navigli’s regulars. A lighthouse of hope in the chaos of watered down drinks and cheap appetizers of the area. It’s perfect every time of the day, here picky traditionalists will always get the particular label they’re looking for or a treat to be surprised. If you are curious or want to explore new frontiers, you have a wide choice. Creative in every move, from the menus to its marvelous cellar, Mag will not leave you a minute to get bored. You will never get tired of this place. And why that? Because of its top-notch quality, a trend that never passes.
Photo credit © Kilburn Cocktail Bar
Relatively new on the Milanese landscape (opened just a year ago), Kilburn arrived on the scene with all the freshness and audacity of an enfant prodige. You breathe London’s atmosphere inside this corner bar, over cold cuts accompanying cocktails, nothing short of miracles. The cocktails are creative masterpieces: their only defect is that they didn’t exist before. Fortunately, Ennio, the owner and mixologist, has created a whole card. Kilburn is his creation and we are grateful that it came to light. A soul of London and a heart of Milan. We are loving it.
Photo credit © Barba
An ace of minimalism is always useful to hide in your sleeve. And if it’s minimalism that you’re looking for (the calm elegance that only straight lines and geometric spaces possess), at Barba you will find it. To spice up the atmosphere, there is an incredible choice of music. Rightly so, because Barba is in love with vinyls, having an entire collection of them – even the menus are printed on vinyl discs. You have not really tried a gourmet cocktail if you haven’t yet ordered from a 40-year-old music record. To catch up, stop by Barba.
The Spirit | Via Piacenza, 15
Photo credit © The Spirit
You have to be filled with spirit to go to paradise, and if you are not there yet, come by for an extra dose: they have enough for generations. What’s better than tasting rare liquors sunk in velvet armchairs, inside a bar that seems to come straight from old Hollywood? The Spirit is a novelty in Milan, but it already feels like a classic, a young player that has a lot to offer. Its mixologists’ cocktails have the fine-tuned beauty of a perfectly performed symphony. Baron Samedi will get to your bones, nor there is a Lazarus that the Highland Sword Dance could not bring back from the dead. If you want to dream, instead, enjoy a Voiron Express or the magnificent Fairy Pools. You will never want to leave.
Photo credit cover © Barba