Milano is an international capital of the aperitif. Although the first Italian city to dive into elegant drinking was Turin, already in the 1930s Milano was distinguishing itself for its "futurist mixing", launching the evergreen fashion of the aperitivo.
Over time, Milanese cocktails have grown increasingly elaborate. The bars of the city indulge in experimentation, always inventing new concoctions.
Below you will find a selection of the most legendary Milano drinks.
Negroni Sbagliato (Negroni Turned Wrong) is still served at Bar Basso where it was invented, in the famous glass accompanied by the notoriously large ice cube. Bar Basso is one of the historic drinking temples of Milano, where you can sample more than 500 cocktails, a must for designers and trendy people (including artists, journalists and designers).
The cocktail, now a staple of the Milanese aperitivo, was created in 1972 by Mirko Stocchetto, the barman arrived from Cortina who took over behind the counter in the late 1960s. The myth tells that by chance, looking in the liquor well, he took a bottle of Prosecco instead of Gin (which is mixed with Vermouth Rosso and Bitter Campari in the classic Negroni recipe). Thus was born this iconic drink, appreciated all over the world, which was meeting changing social trends already taking place in Milano. Women, who were starting to go to bars in large numbers, preferred less alcoholic drinks, and immediately fell in love with the new version of the classic Negroni.
1/3 of brut sparkling wine
1/3 of red Vermouth (originally the Carpano brand)
1/3 of Campari
A slice of orange
1/3 Red Vermouth
A peel of orange
More than anything else, a bottle of Campari brings Milano to mind. After all, the transparent red liquor says “Milano” on the label with flourishing italic characters. More to the point, Campari is fundamental ingredient for a Negroni, right or wrong as you like. It also colonized another drink beloved by the Milanese, the Spritz, imported from Habsburg Vienna to Venice and Milano after the Napoleonic wars. In Venice, it’s more popular in the standard orang version with Aperol. In Milano, it’s more popular in the red version with Campari.
5 parts Prosecco wine
3 parts of Campari
2 parts of sparkling water
A slice of orange
ZUCCA WORKED "DRY"
The composers and classical musicians who have gone down in history sipped it before performing at La Scala Theater: we are talking about the Zucca lavorato secco (Zucca worked dry) from the name of the Milanese rhubarb liqueur introduced by Gaspare Campari in the 1869s. You can still enjoy it today at the historic Camparino Bar (formerly Caffè Zucca), comfortably seated in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, while enjoying a magnificent view of the Duomo Cathedral.
ZUCCA LAVORATO SECCO
1/3 Centerbe liqueur Zucca secret recipe
1/3 Rabararo Zucca
A zest of orange
A few steps away, another bar of he Milanese aperitivo tradition is Gin Rosa, where you can sip the homonymous cocktail shaken to perfection, with its seductive color.
Angostura (one teaspoon)
A zest of orange
IL MILANESE - Signature cocktail by Hotel Rosa Grand Milano, Starhotels Collezione
The Milanese is the signature cocktail of the Rosa Grand Milano Hotel (Starhotels), which overlooks Piazza Fontana behind Duomo, It is based on:
"Antica Formula" Carpano Vermouth
Sugar syrup with a note of butter.
Its color and aroma evokes the landmark Milanese dish, the saffron risotto, as well as the yellow hue of patrician palaces in Milano, not to mention the gold of the beloved Madonnina sitting atop the Duomo. It is served with Milanese-style veal bocconcino, a mini-portion of cotoletta (or a surprising club sandwich if you so prefer, which Corriere della Sera has rated among the city’s best).
Brancamilano is a newcomer into the world of Milanese cocktails. The Branca factory (worth visiting, near Maciachini) produces the world famous fernet, particularly popular in North America, which contains rare herbs, spices, and even mushrooms from the five Continents. A popular fernet cocktail with a Milanese imprint was missing, but the search is over with the birth of Brancamilano, selected by a special jury which also included Mayor Beppe Sala.
1.5 cl Fernet-Branca
6 cl Antica Formula
1.5 cl Stravecchio Branca, orange gremolada, lemon juice, peppermint.
Fresh mint leaves