I had the good fortunate of attending the launch of the new spring-summer cocktail list at Pinch. In case you don't know, Pinch is a great cocktail bar in Navigli. If I have an industry friend visiting, I always bring them by Pinch on a tour of the best restaurants and bars in Milano.
Simply put, Pinch is a barman's bar. It's a great place to relax late at night for excellent drinks in a relaxing environment. In addition, you're bound to bump into cool regulars like Burri, Memfi, Oscar or Patrick. If not, you can chat with the awesome bar staff or friendly waitresses.
However, it's clear to me that with the new cocktail list at Pinch, bartenders Mattia Lissoni, Fabio Brugnolaro, Carlo Simbula and Erik Viola have their sights set much higher than being just a friendly neighborhood bar.
The new list is bold. In addition to the more high volume cocktails, they have come up with 12 new elaborate cocktails, ranging in price from €8 to €15. Of the 12 cocktails, 8 are outstanding. Below I highlight my favorite drinks on the new menu developed by Mattia, Fabio, Carlo and Erik.
Lo chiamavano trinità (Score 8.5/10) features Illegal mezcal, brandy, sugar, salsa of spicy beans, lime, chocolate bitters, and beer. It's Mattia's homage to Mexico with spicy and smokey notes thanks to the salsa and mezcal, respectively. The presentation is beautiful as it's served in a soup mug with delicious salty cacao on the rim.
Sisti Chuan (Score 8/10). As a dedication to the amazingly talented Filippo Sisti of Carlo e Camilla in Segheria, Mattia Lissoni came up with the Sisti Chuan with gin infused with Sichuan pepper, dried tomato, Fernet Branca, a foam of vermouth dry and bitters. I love spicy food and drinks, so I would consider this drink an improved version of the Martini cocktail. Excellent.
Paso Doble (Score 9.5/10) with Diplomatico rum bianco, lime, sugar, wild camomile liqueur, aztec chocolate bitter, Illegal mezcal foam. This is my favorite cocktail on the menu. A revisited daiquiri with beautiful citrus on the finish that will remind you of a margarita thanks to the mezcal foam. Unfortunately,I was too mesmerized by the drink to take a photo of it but I promise to take one soon :).
The Red Carpet (Score 9/10) includes brandy, lemon, sugar, pomegranate juice, rhubarb Zucca, and angostura. It's a cross between a Campari shakerato and a Manhattan, two of my favorite cocktails. This refreshing cocktail could be the perfect aperitif cocktail.
Shoeless (Score 8/10) with bourbon, lemon, sugar, violet liqueur, orange liqueur, and a cinnamon sugar crust. Another refreshing creation from Fabio, there is a beautiful marriage between the sweet bourbon and floral notes in this drink.
Milanese Martini (Score 8.5/10) with Saffron gin, black pepper, angostura, rosemary and vermouth is a variation of the classic Martini cocktail. Thanks to the pepper and Saffron gin, it will remind you of the quintessential milanese dish, risotto alla milanese. Excellent.
Bella stronza (score 9/10). Sometimes our best work is inspired by the women in (or no longer) in our lives. This is the case for bella stronza. You will need to ask Carlo for the full story behind the inspiration :). Bella stronza features white rum, lime, sugar, passion fruit, apple juice, pimento bitter and is an absolutely delicious Daiquiri style drink.
Don Chapo (Score 8/10) is a twist on the Mai Tai tiki cocktail and features jamaican rum, grapefruit juice, orgeat, bitter orange liqueur, honey, passion fruit and Teapot bitter. Although it's a bit delicate for my palate, I think this drink will be extremely popular during the summer season due its refreshing taste with a perfect balance of sweet and sour.
Ti porto a Torino (score 9.5/10) is my second favorite cocktail on the new list and features aged red port, Mandragola, Benedictine, eucalyptus syrup, and orange juice. This variant of the Cobbler has an intoxicating smokey perfume and a lovely tannic finish on the tongue. Both refreshing and complex at the same time.
Il Conte Americano (9/10) is another homerun from Erik. This negroni variation features Rye, American Cocchi vermouth, rhubarb and bitters. It's dry, complex and is great to sip on its own will pondering the meaning of life. This will be the first drink I order next time I'm at Pinch before dinner.