1. Mandarin Oriental, Cocktail 20€
The Mandarin Oriental Milano is one of the sexiest hotel bars in the world and offers one of the best cocktail lists around, thanks to bar manager Teo Rizzolo (ex-Nottingham Forest and 1930).
For more delicate palates, try the refreshing Mo-Re Pear. Featuring Absolut Elyx vodka, grapefruit juice, pear syrup and raspberry foam and served in a spectacular drinking receptacle! Teo has many of his glasses custom made, adding to the unique experience at the Mandarin Oriental.
One of the most interesting drinks on the menu is the Campari Lassi with Campari bitter, goat milk, Panizzi yogurt and Cardamom. Lassi is an Indian yogurt-based drink and the addition of Campari adds a pleasant bitterness to the savory beverage, traditionally used for digestion after a big meal.
One of the best Martinis in the city is the Laverstocke Mill Martini, presented in a beautiful custom designed glass with Star of Bombay gin, Noilly Prat vermouth infused with Bergamot and tonka bean.
Another can’t miss drink, particularly to wind up your visit, is the complex and meditation worthy Fumé with brandy, Ardbeg Ten, Green Apple, vanilla and Peychaud's bitters.
Mandarin Oriental is the best bar in the Center thanks to the slick interior design, polite service and the outstanding cocktails.
2. Camparino, Cocktail €10
In 1860, in a small bar in Novara, Gaspare Campari first invented the recipe to Campari, the iconic Italian bitter. In 1862, Gaspare moved to the historic Camparino in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II to launch his brand in Milano and then to the world.
Order a Campari or Zucca Shakerato, the drinks of choice of world travelling bartender Zdenek Kastanek. In the Duomo area, Camparino is a daily ritual for the business crowd, who take an after-lunch espresso up at the beautiful bar counter, or enjoy a cocktail just before dinner at one of the tables. With Mattia Pastori and Tommaso Cecca taking over, the future is very bright for Camparino.
3. Baxter Bar, Cocktail €15
Baxter Bar is a great choice for a glamorous aperitif near Milano's Duomo Cathedral. Baxter features a gorgeous interior design with ultrahigh ceilings and a spellbinding back bar. The drink menu was designed by Fresco Cocktail Shop, the highly regarded bar from Como focused on the freshest possible ingredients. Upon entering, you will be greeted by the friendly Arlyna, who prepared a well executed Dirty Martini as the first drink. Then, taking over the bartending duties was her apprentice Humbe, fresh out of bartending school but up to the challenge.
He prepared a seductive Milano Torino with Campari bitter and Martelletti vermouth. The best cocktail on the menu was the Ring The Bell with mezcal, bitter, candied apricot and shaken with dehydrated pineapple. To finish off the evening in style try the Vieux carrè reverse with Mulassano vermouth, Voyer Cognac, Michter's rye, Gentiane, Angostura and Peychaud's bitters.
4. Colibrì, Cocktail €10
Although many probably know him as one half of the headlining duo at Twist and Shout, Ale Leuci is also an excellent bartender, having started his career at Santeria in Città Studi. He has recently started working for Colibrì in Via Laghetto. It features four beautiful rooms: the main bar, a central room and beautiful outdoor courtyard for chilling with friends, and finally a small bookstore carrying an interesting collection books.
Around 6pm we visited Colibrì when the aperitivo was already in full swing thanks to the young students from the nearby University of Milano. Knowing our tastes, Ale prepared a savory cocktail served in a coupe with Knob creek bourbon, Quaglia chamomile liqueur, Carpano antica formula and chocolate bitters.
Ale then prepared She Sparks, with fresh raspberries, brown sugar, lime juice, Sandeman Ruby Port and Stoli vodka and a top of Berlucchi prosecco after the other ingredients are shaked and strained. It’s a refreshingly sour and fresh drink thanks to the lime, raspberries and prosecco, with some rich sweetness provided by the Port wine.
Adding to the fun at Colibrì, there are regular jazz concerts, book presentations, and other unique exhibits at the bar. Although Colibri is somewhat off the beaten path, it’s definitely worth a visit for Ale’s warm personality and fine drinkmaking skills.
5. Four Seasons, Cocktail €22
The bar at the Four Seasons in Via Gesù 6/8 is a must visit after shopping in the Golden Quadrangle district. In our case it’s only window shopping as we prefer spending our spare cash on booze rather than fashion. The drink list was created by Luca Marcellin, who is now running the successful Drinc in Porta Venezia, to be featured in the upcoming East Milano article.
The best drink on the menu is the Negroni Macchiato with Plymouth gin, Macchia vermouth, Campari, Finocchietto Calabro, Amaro mix Foyer, Fernet Branca and Angostura . Although the Four Seasons doesn’t have seating right up the bar, you can enjoy your aperitivo in the majestic courtyard outside, one of the best in the city.
6. Armani Hotel, Cocktail €23
The Armani hotel in Via Manzoni is one of the most popular hotels for wealthy tourists and Milanese. On the top floor is the luxurious Bamboo bar, with well-crafted cocktails with courteous service. The highlight of the bar is Greta, the lovely waitress who ensures that all the customers are happy. The best drink on the list is the bold and herbal Il Commenda, with Zucca rhubarb liqueur, Lagavulin, Martini bitter and green mandarin essential oil.
7. Terrazza 12, Cocktail €15
Terrazza 12 is located on the top floor of the Brian & Barry building (San Babila), just above the famed restaurant Asola. In the two years Terrazza 12 (T12) has been open, it has become the coolest terrace in central Milano. Usually rooftop bars offer beautiful views, sexy people, but awful drinks. Thankfully at T12 the drinks are quite good.
Mixologists Oscar Quagliarini, Lorenzo Antinori and Mattia Pastori helped design the initial cocktail menu. Rosso di Sera has OSCAR.697 bianco vermouth, Campari bitter and Johnny Walker Gold scotch whisky is perfect to sip while marveling at the milanese skyline.