Table of contents:
- 15. AGUARDIENTE
- 14. BRAKES AND CLUTCHES
- 13. The ANTIQUER
- 12 HOW ENOUGH
- 11. NOTTINGHAM FOREST
- 10 HISTORICAL ARCHIVE
- 9. MAG CAFFE '
- 8. LES ROUGES
- 7. PINCH
- 6. SPEAKEASY BARI
- 5. THE MAD DOG
- 4. THE BALANCE
- 3. THE FRESH COCKTAIL SHOP
- 2. SHAKE
- 1. JERRY THOMAS PROJECT ROME
Video: 15 unrivaled Italian cocktail bars
2023 Author: Cody Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 19:13
At the James Bond of Casino Royal, one order in 1954 was enough to change the image of the Dry Martini forever, first half gin and half dry vermouth, then three doses of Gordon's, one of vodka and a half of Lillet. Shaken and with a lemon zest.
Since then, of inventions in the mixology, mixed drinking, the careful study of the flavor of a drink, there have been very few. Just a few trends: gin-tonic fever, the summer of the Moscow Mule, the wild expansion of the spritz.
Yet we who drink should pay attention to the ingredients, before draining the same cocktail taken by the neighbor at the counter. The tricks to recognize a well-made cocktail in a poke are few and clear.
First of all the drink list doesn't have to be too long, as well as in restaurant menus.
Be wary of cocktails that they cost less than eight euros and keep in mind that fresh raw materials do not last all year, unless they are decorative pine needles. Therefore, eye to seasonality and trust those who often change recipes.
As always, beware of the buffets, of the series: cocktails plus no limit aperitif for 10 euros, and ai clubs that sponsor a brand too much: every bartender or mixologist who wants to should choose the ingredients according to the result he wants to achieve in cocktails, and each cocktail gives its best with the basis of a certain brand, you must be able to choose which one.
But Dissapore doesn't just want to show you these simple rules. To make you play it safe, we have compiled the ranking of the best cocktail bars in Italy.
Assisted by the number one on the Italian scene in our opinion: Leonardo Leuci, known since 2009 as the mr. of the Jerry Thomas Speakeasy in Rome, reference point of national mixology, with international experiences ranging from luxurious Relais & Chateaux hotels to the most adventurous ones in the Caribbean, as well as judge of Mixologist, a talent dedicated to the world of bartending broadcast by dMax.
Citrosodyne in hand, let's get started.
Piazzale Adriatico 7 / d, Marina di Ravenna
Aguardiente, welcoming bistro with cellar where the “ancestral tropical blending” is practiced. What's this?
Suffice it to say that fruit is transported only by air: the mango, for one thing, is picked ripe and arrives in Italy after a few days. A rare luxury, considering that the norm sees it mature on ships. The difference in flavor can be imagined without too much effort.
Also noteworthy is the excessive use of rum in blending, the spectacular range of gins and the presence of sugar grain distillates.
14. BRAKES AND CLUTCHES
Via del Politeama 4/6, Rome
The watchword is bedlam. But this is not a speakeasy (a type of place born during Prohibition in the United States, the period between 1919 and 1933, when it was forbidden to sell alcoholic beverages) and you don't need a coded message to enter. Far from it.
Da Freni e Frizioni, so called because it was born over 10 years ago from a former workshop on the Lungotevere of the capital, it is difficult to find a place among the vintage furnishings recovered in the old shops of Trastevere; you can try it during the aperitif, with a vaguely belly-filling buffet with a high percentage of carbohydrates (recommended considering the tourist location of the place and the lack of good alternatives).
Freni e Frizioni ranks in the name of quality for the mass, with fresh fruit, exquisite frozen cocktails and not too convoluted recipes.
13. The ANTIQUER
Via Vannella Gaetani 2, Naples
It opened less than a year ago but seems to be a steady locus amoenus in the 1950s. It looks like the location of the last season of American Horror Story, Hotel, the one with Lady Gaga in a vampire version. It undoubtedly has its own charm.
Canonical and even austere in the subdivision of the menu: classic, modern cocktails, such as the Mulata Daiquiri, from Cuba in the 1920s, with rum, lime juice, cocoa liqueur and sugar, and contemporary ones.
The manager Alex Frezza grants himself a few inventions and his customers the luxury of personalizing the Martini.
Slightly more expensive than average, speakeasy obviously.
12 HOW ENOUGH
Via Paladini 17, Lecce
If you too have succumbed to the catchphrase of the Moscow Mule (based on vodka, with lime, which is characterized by the decisive flavor of ginger, often prepared with ginger beer and cucumber of the bartender's choice) and now you can not do it anymore less, know that there is a corner of the historic center of Lecce that is characterized by cocktails made as it should be even in their classic iconography.
The Whiskey Sour is a whiskey sour, but above all, the Mojito is a Mojito. Diego Melorio and Andrea Carlucci love to handle bar spoons and Apulian wines at the same time, a personal and interesting reinterpretation of blending.
They have just blown out three candles in the small (really small, and with no tables outside) Quanto Basta; the place is always full.
11. NOTTINGHAM FOREST
Viale Piave 1, Milan
Where the counter of the New York-based Knickerbocker hotel dominates, the place where, according to legend, the martini with olive was born, the spectacularization takes precedence over the raw material.
In the footsteps of the legendary chef Ferran Adrià, father of molecular cuisine, cocktails are deconstructed to create new textures: molecules of bitters and absinthe swim in ginger beer and guarana-flavored vodka, for one thing (if it inspires you, order the Molecular Infusion).
There is an excessive but ingenious use of wild ingredients: lichens, sprouts, resins and even insect eggs.
Trash note: they have come up with a cocktail dedicated to Star Wars fans. It is called "The awakening of the force" and is served in a glass in the shape of a Stormtrooper helmet (the soldiers of the Empire).
10 HISTORICAL ARCHIVE
Via Alessandro Scarlatti 30, Naples
The strange pair of historic building + Terrazza Martini (like the certainly more famous one in Piazza Duomo in Milan) makes the setting of this café - restaurant - cocktail bar at least bizarre.
Many architectural and furnishing elements are a tribute to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, in particular to the Bourbons, pay attention to them while a dj-set is in progress. So we hope to have made the atmosphere.
If there is anything to be said about the ostentatiously chic cuisine, the cocktails stand out for their character. They are kept in balance between historical combinations, Italian cameos and shameless personalizations of the Archive, dedicated to Neapolitan history.
The Daiquiri becomes Strega, with the homonymous liqueur alongside the rum, a recipe concerns via Veneto (Naples), one the "Morto che Parla" (famous card of the Neapolitan grimace), there is even the Bicycle, with Campari and orangeade bitter; a blend that in other areas of Italy would have the same name but completely different colors.
Brave and skilled.
9. MAG CAFFE '
Ripa di Porta Ticinese 43, Milan
The atmosphere is bohemian, otherwise we are on a par with fantasy. Will it be the combinations, which have a lot of inventiveness (how about tequila, almonds, drops of milk, goji syrup, grapefruit and lime?), Or the crystal goblets and silverware worthy of the scenography of Game of Thrones.
In fact, it seems that Flavio Angiolillo and Marco Russo travel in search of collectible glasses, mixing glasses and shakers, a not insignificant added value if you are willing to spend a little more on a cocktail. If only to enjoy the charm of all that silverware.
8. LES ROUGES
Piazza Campetto 8A, Genoa
Strange but true, some still like Vodka. There is still someone who chooses Vodka as a base, and is proud of it, so much so that it ennobles it alongside local gems, such as elderberry syrup from Sant’Olcese (GE).
Les Rouges is the successful project of the three Abarbanel brothers, who share the tasks in cooking, wine bar and mixing. And considering that we are located in the historic center of Genoa, in a 16th century aristocratic palace, cocktails at an average of 8 euros are inviting.
Sfora the "Reverse Manhattan", (13 euros) with two red Vermouth (liqueur wine born in Turin) among the ingredients and cherry marinated in Negroni. But it's worth it.
Ripa di Porta Ticinese 63, Milan
Along the Naviglio Grande in Milan there is the Pinch, not exactly spectacular in its setting, which would like to be retro, like the music and clothing of the staff.
But the master's touches, first of all by the bartender Mattia Lissoni, far outweigh the discordant notes: starting from the sautéed cocoa crust that peeps out from the "They called it Trinity", a daring combination of Illegal Mezcal, Aztec chocolate bitter, beer and brandy that mimics the Spaghetti Western.
Review of the agenda with vermouth, bitters and Italian liqueurs.
The cuisine is remarkable, and since you spend between 8 and 15 euros on a cocktail, avoiding low-key pub food is not a bad idea: it gets paid but bakes nut-crusted tuna, so to speak.
6. SPEAKEASY BARI
Largo Giordano Bruno 32/32, Bari
Let's clarify immediately that this is not a speakeasy. But Vincenzo Mazzilli and Nicola Milella, mixers of the American school, liked the history of bartending so much that they wanted to put it everywhere.
Not only in the name, a symbol of American prohibition, but also in the card, which is divided into four parts: Colonial Era, Pre-Prohibition, Prohibition and Dolce Vita.
Nice idea, not so much to have a well-fixed timeline in mind, but for the fact that we understand well what punch is. Typical of the period of the great conquests (1600-1850), it was the cocktail of necessitate virtute: a little to gain courage and a little because it was made with what was on the ships, mixing spirits, oranges, spices and sugar.
With the aim of spreading the art of mixing in a market that is far behind the Milanese one, at the Speakeasy in Bari they revisit classics with local products.
And here is a classic of the Prohibition era like Bee's Knees becomes South Business ("luck of the South", a wish?), With Apulian chestnut honey.
5. THE MAD DOG
Via Maria Vittoria 35 A, Turin
Speakeasy venue so inspired by American prohibition that a clock stopped in the room at 5.27pm on December 5, 1933 (when the ban on alcohol ceased).
Inaugurated in 2014 and quickly became famous, with a list of one hundred names of international super classics and a second "signature cocktail" menu, it reopened at the beginning of September after a long break, under the sign of a mix linked to the Piedmontese territory and its rich liquor.
Big brands, small local realities and a list of Alta Langa DOCG that aims to wet the nose of the most common sparkling wines and champagnes.
Jazz remains explored in all its forms: live music is daily and the artists are always different.
4. THE BALANCE
Via Baglietto 30r, Savona
Spirits of rare level make the couple of bartenders Paolo Baccino and Tiziana Borreani rise to the upper floors of our ranking. And we're not just talking about cocktail bases; the spirits by the glass are about three hundred.
Prices around ten euros for artistic virtuosity such as the "He loves me, he loves me not", openly inspired by Harry Johnson's Gin Daisy, famous bartender from San Francisco, one of the reference points for literature in the sector along with Jerry Thomas.
If you want to reproduce the Tiziana variant at home, go ahead: 1 oz gin, ½ oz of fresh lime juice, ½ oz of cardamom syrup, ¼ oz of yellow Charteuse, 2 dashes of Adam Elmegirab's, 2 and ½ oz of ginger beer. Eventually you should get the scents of a flowering meadow.
Currently the focus of the restaurant is on umami cocktails (the fifth taste, the one associated with glutamate): mixing of tomatoes, peas and spices is experimented, trying to obtain fresh and intense flavors, without running into excesses of flavor or sweetness.
3. THE FRESH COCKTAIL SHOP
Viale Lecco 23, Como
The martini cup is not the Margarita cup and the "fizz" should not be confused with "fantasy". In Simone Maci's restaurant certain distinctions are important and pouring each cocktail into the right glass is a duty.
Carthusian also in the dress code of the bartenders, in vests and bow ties, with swing music as the background to their enviable movements, Il Fresco offers the best from all over Italy.
Thus it happens that the Old Fashioned Ladino appears on the menu, with green apple juice from Trentino, and Sangria delle Langhe, with Chinato Barolo and chocolate, fresh orange, lime peel and white chocolate foam.
Even the Spritz, which in recent years has invaded the lists of half the world with versions not always up to par, is ennobled: the Aperol is mixed with Hibiscus, a typical flower of the temperate areas of Asia, orange juice, lime, sugar and Beefeater gin.
Even the menus are seasonal and the recipes change every month.
Via Monte Grappa 22, Rovellasca
For “molecular cocktail”, the Shake's trademark, go to the 11th position of the ranking: Nottingham Forest, not surprisingly.
In fact, Giorgio Tagliabue, Leonardo Salerno and Davide Minervino owe the origins of their careers to the famous Milanese club, but it seems that in terms of experimentation the pupil has surpassed the teacher.
You go there just to try the "Vertical Solid", a chewable drink (it's a jelly) that the three invented to ensure four times more dilated alcohol assimilation times, without anesthetizing the taste buds. How they did it is not known.
In these cases you pay for research, but not much: the price is set at 9 euros for alcohol and 7 for non-alcoholic beverages.
Fun is the "Flower Power", with cannabis milk in a steaming tube. But if this is light stuff for you, if you like strong tastes, try Pissing. Calm down, that's not what you think.
A cocktail inspired by a sexual practice was also studied at the Shake: a test tube full of lemon liqueur is poured into a ceramic pot, with the main mixture. To be interpreted.
1. JERRY THOMAS PROJECT ROME
Vicolo Cellini 30, Rome
Those who say that in life you shouldn't take yourself too seriously should look to Roberto Artusio, Leonardo Leuci, Antonio Parlapiano and Alessandro Procoli, who this year have been included for the fourth time among the 50 best bars in the world.
A project, theirs, national emblem of mixology as it should be (Jerry Thomas, to understand himself, is the one who made mixing a profession, writing the first manual in 1862), with the pretense of introducing a little Italian spirit into a import culture.
So only maraschino, Barolo chinato, homemade flavored bitters and Italian vermouth, transformed into “twist on classic” cocktails, reinterpretations of the recipes that made the history of pre-prohibition.
They reopened (so to speak, it is a speakeasy, without a reservation and password the doors remain closed) in early September, after a summer break to renovate the premises.
And it is still "Forbidden to sleep on the tables, talk about politics or religion", as one of the now well-known rules of Jerry Thomas says and the concept is always the same: "Dusting off the classic mixes by reinterpreting them in the style of the mass project".
Among the differences, a new menu and entertainment, which is no longer linked only to music, but also focuses on micro-magic and cabaret of the 30s and 40s.
Then, at the end of September it opens The tip (also in Rome): the first Italian restaurant that will explore the ancestral culture of agave, a Mexican plant used to make tequila, in all its forms. Starting with the spirits, of course.
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