Nottingham Forest / by shane eaton

la casa di comini :: voto 9/10 :: €8-10 per un cocktail

Al Nottingham Forest in Viale Piave 1, si possono provare cocktail preparati con i metodi di “miscelazione moleculare”, la fusione di scienza e miscelazione.  Il proprietario e head barman Dario Comini è il padre di molecular mixology, ed è sicuramente il barman più noto in Italia. Da anni, il Nottingham Forest si trova fra i cocktail bar migliori del mondo, sull’elenco World’s 50 Best Bars. Non si può prenotare al Nottingham e consiglio di arrivare quando apre il locale alle 18,30. Così potrete sedervi al banco e fare due chiacchiere coi barman. Alcuni dicono che il Nottingham potrebbe essere la mansarda di Indiana Jones, con oggetti particolari trovati da Comini nei suoi viaggi in Asia, Africa e America. L’oggetto più interessante è sicuramente il banco, che era del Knickerbocker hotel di New York, dove fu inventato il Martini cocktail.

L’ex chimico Comini non usa mai i metodi classici per preparare i cocktail. Non si vedono jigger o cobbler shaker al Nottingham. Qui invece vedrete roba da laboratorio chimico: beaker, fiamme, padelle, e sifoni. Suggerisco di iniziare la vostra avventura con uno dei drink affumicati, come lo Smoked Martini, una rivisitazione del Martini Cocktail. E’ buonissimo anche lo Smoked Vieux Carre (rye, cognac, vermouth rosso, Peychaud/Angostura bitter, Benedictine) e lo Smoked Rum Manhattan.

Comini usa la tecnica gastronomica di sferificazione per creare il suo drink più famoso, il Mondrian Martini. Il metodo di sferificazione, inventato da Ferran Adrià, permette di trasformare un liquido in una sfera esternamente solida, ma all’interno il liquido mantiene la sua consistenza. Nel Mondrian Martini le sfere o “molecole” sono di diversi colori: verde (assenzio), giallo (vodka infusa di zafferano), rosso (bitter Campari).

Un altro drink buono e bello è il Cosa Nostra, a base di vino Marsala e spezie. Come side, Dario vi da un cannolo siciliano all’arancia. Sul piatto c’è anche un coltellino, l’oggetto di affezione dei mafiosi di Palermo. Vi consiglio di anche andare fuori menù al Nottingham, anche perché il menù è una trentina di pagine. Ho chiesto per un drink secco e ricco di gusti e mi ha preparato un cocktail favoloso a base di Bourbon e popcorn al tartufo.

Mondrian e Smoked Martini cocktail

Smoked Rum Manhattan

Il cosa nostra

 Negroni velluto

Negroni velluto

 Bombay box: gin-based drink smoked with incense

Bombay box: gin-based drink smoked with incense

Dario Comini, barman of Nottingham Forest in Viale Piave is the pioneer of molecular mixology, where science meets the cocktail world. The result?

Beautiful and delicious cocktails that entice all five of your senses. Dario Comini is to cocktail mixology what Ferran Adrià is to gastronomy. Nottingham Forest is rightfully the most famous bar in Italy and ranked 15th best in the world. Because of this, you will need  to arrive early (they open at 630pm) to grab a spot at the bar where you can chat with Comini. Surprisingly, the drinks only cost 8€ during happy hour. With every 2 drinks, they bring you a small but tasty plate of food. There is also the option of coming after dinner, but it is even more challenging to find a seat.

Once you enter, you are greeted by the polite waiter who accompanies you to your seat, either at the bar or at one of the handful of small tables. There is also seating outside but I would discourage sitting there as you lose the atmosphere of the bar, described by some as Indian Jones' attic. Nottingham Forest is a dark and intimate bar, decorated with interesting objects collected by Comini during his various travels in Asia, Africa, America and the Caribbean. Perhaps the most interesting one is the bar itself, which used to be bar in NY's historic Knickerbocker hotel, where the Martini cocktail was invented. The crowd is mixed at Nottingham Forest, but the clientele tends to be over 40. Fear not, this slightly older crowd is hip and enjoys a good Martini cocktail

As the father of molecular mixology, Dario Comini doesn't rely on traditional methods. Instead of a shaker or blender in Nottingham Forest, you will see pots, sauce pans, beakers, dry ice, torches for caramelizing drinks and siphons to produce foams. I suggest starting your drink adventure with the Smoked Martini, a revisited form of the classic Martini, where the smoke is provide by tobacco leaves from a cigar. Staying in the same genre, a must at Nottingham Forest is the Mondrian Martini, where Comini adds spheres of trapped liquor to a Martini cocktail. He uses the spherification process from molecular gastronomy to create "molecules" of different colors: green from absinthe, red from bitter campari, yellow from vodka infused with saffron. 

Another interesting cocktail is the Cosa Nostra, named after the Sicilian Mafia organization. The Marsala wine-based cocktail with aromatic spices and cinnamon served with a Sicilian cannolo with an orange-flavored filling. For added effect, a knife is also included. 

Instead of ordering from the menu, try asking Dario to create a cocktail on demand. I asked him to make me a cocktail that was rich and dry and what he made for me blew my mind: a Kentucky bourbon-based drink with truffled popcorn, both inside the drink and served on the side. 

Below you will find some of the other wonderful cocktails I've had at Nottingham Forest, including the Mumbai-inspired Bombay Box, a gin drink smoked with incenseinside a wooden box. Served on the side are delicious Jeera candies, used as a digestif after indian meals. I also recommend any of Comini's Velluto cocktails such as the Negroni Velluto. He takes a classic cocktail and adds velvety foam topping to it. 

Is Nottingham Forest the best cocktail bar in Milano? With competition from 1930, Lacerba, The Doping Club and Carlo e Camilla in Segheria, it's hard to say. But one thing is clear: Nottingham Forest has paved the way for the new generation of cocktail bars in the city and is surely the most important bar in Milano but also in Italy. Dario Comini per sindaco di Milano!

Nottingham Forest Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato