Milan is spoiled for choice when it comes to bars and restaurants. There are a few drinks that are especially good in Milan and should not be missed when you want to experience something just a little bit more special.
1 Negroni Sbagliato in Bar Basso
Bar Basso was the first bar to introduce an aperitivo in Milan in 1947. Before then, cocktails could only be found in specific lounge bars and luxury hotels. Today they have over 500 drinks on the menu, but you should choose Negroni Sbagliato. Mirko Stocchetto invented the cocktail around 1972 when he accidentally used prosecco instead of gin when making a Negroni (sbagliato means mistaken). Since then, it has become a very popular drink in Milan, and even if many other bars offer it, it always tastes better in the original environment.
Bar Basso, Via Plinio 9
2 Molecular cocktails in the Nottingham Forest Bar
There aren’t many bars in Europe practising molecular mixology, so this one is worth a visit just for the experience.
Nottingham Forest has been on the 50 world’s best bars list since 2007. Dario Comini has no limits when it comes to creating cocktails. There are different flavours, smells, smoke, foam, and even lasers! Your drink is served in all forms. I’ve seen a bath tub, a skull, a box… you name it! Dario Comini is an alchemist experimenting with spirits, and his methods and cocktails are much appreciated around the world.
Each cocktail and its method is explained on the menu, so don’t be shy to ask for the English menu. The bar is very small, almost cave-like. The lights are dimmed and there’s a lot of stuff (by stuff I mean baskets, Buddhas, masks, frames and anything made from dark wood, basically souvenirs from around the world).
They have an amazing collection of spirits, 2,175 bottles, in fact! All drinks are 10 euros if you vacate your table by 9pm and 12 euros if you don’t (a bizarre pricing policy to encourage punters to leave – so they can turn the tables…). I went there ten minutes after opening on a Thursday night and it was already almost full! In the end, I did find my drinks a bit too much on the sweet side, but the experience makes it worthwhile!
Nottingham Forest, Viale Piave 1
3 Vodka Ginger by the canals
During my trips to Milan I’ve come to realise most decent cocktail bars have a Vodka Ginger cocktail on their menu. I had an especially good one in Bar Zog on the Navigli.
The first three to five bars by the canal are pretty rubbish, touristy with low-quality drinks (one of the worst gin martinis I’ve ever had..), but after that you start to notice decent-looking bars, and most of these are really good! Check Bar Pigato, they are friendly and welcoming.
Pravda, on the other hand, is a bit further out from the centre of Milan, but it is dedicated to vodka alone – if you can’t make it to the canal area go Pravda for the Vodka Ginger!
Bar Zog, Ripa di Porta Ticinese 37
Bar Pigato, Ripa di Porta Ticinese 45
Pravda, Via Carlo Vittadini 6
4 Campari in Camparino
Campari has been around for a long time, with the first Campari production plant opened near Milan in 1904. Today Campari is more popular than ever; you can drink it on the rocks with a slice of orange or in many forms of cocktail. Negroni is probably one of the most popular, but I recommend you try Americano, Campari Orange, Campari Spritz or even Campari Milano (with elderflower, prosecco and mint) for a change. The Camparino in Galleria opened near Duomo 1915, so it is a legendary place to enjoy Campari, but it is expensive!
Camprino, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele corner Piazza Duomo
5 Aperol Spritz at Terrazza Aperol
Terrazza Aperol is upstairs in a historic building overlooking Piazza Duomo. Enjoy an aperitivo on the terrace from 6pm daily. The décor inside is modern and bright, but you should get there early to make sure you get a seat on the terrace. Cocktails are surprisingly cheap, all 8 euros!
Terrazza Aperol, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele corner Piazza Duomo, Floor 1
Have you been to Milan? Where did you go for cocktails?