Getting a taste of Milano’s iconic cocktails

The most famous cocktails invented in Milano

Milano is the capital of the aperitif; an accolade that the city has been proudly carrying for many years now. Even if history narrates that the first Italian city to move into this elegant way of drinking was Turin, it’s impossible not to recall how Milano took its place in the "futurist mixing", which, in the 1930s, definitely launched a trend destined to continue over time: the aperitivo.

Eventually, the sheer number of aperitif cocktails increased and so did the number of new bars on the social scene. Discerning customers have driven the demand for sophisticated drinks so the locals have risen to the challenge by always inventing new concoctions. Nowadays, Milano just never stops experimenting. You name it - gin, mescal, tequila - the city has the perfect aperitivo for you!

Negroni Sbagliato

In the 1960s, drinking cocktails in Milano was still a luxury. Those who could afford an aperitivo frequented venues that are today's historic bars, the longest-running in the city. Magistrates, industrialists and designers flocked to one of the first venues to invent an iconic drink in Milano - Bar Basso. Legend has it that as the restaurant owner, Mirko Stocchetto, was serving a Negroni he mistakenly mixed fizzy spumante (instead of gin) in equal parts with Campari Bitter and sweet vermouth rosso. And the classic Negroni was immediately re-named Negroni Sbagliato (Mistaken Negroni!).


Recipe for Negroni Sbagliato

1/3 spumante brut

1/3 Vermouth rosso (traditionally Carpano)

1/3 Campari.

Slice of orange.



Zucca lavorato "secco"

Verdi, Toscanini and Marinetti: it is still possible to order the aperitivo that these protagonists of history sipped before performing at La Scala.

Just ask the barman at Camparino, a real Milanese institution with a magnificent view of the Duomo, for a Zucca lavorato “secco” (based on a Cent’erbe liqueur, a secret recipe).


Zucca lavorato “secco” recipe

one part Zucca Cent’erbe secret recipe

one part Campari

one part Rabarbaro Zucca


crushed ice

orange zest

Gin Rosa

A few steps away from the Duomo you can find another traditional bar, the legendary Gin Rosa - creator of the eponymous nectar.

Here, it’s a tradition to order a shaken Gin Rosa and, whether you choose to prop up the bar or take a seat at the tables in the Galleria, it will feel like delving into the frenetic Milano da bere social scene in the Eighties.


Shaken Gin Rosa recipe

Gin Rosa

Angostura (one teaspoon)

Orange zest



 Il Milanese

Signature cocktail dell’hotel Rosa Grand Milano – Starhotels Collezione

Signature cocktail of the Rosa Grand Milano hotel - Starhotels Collezione

Signature cocktail of the Rosa Grand Milano hotel which overlooks the historic Piazza Fontana, behind the city’s majestic Duomo.

With a base of Saffron Gin, plus, “Antica Formula” Vermouth and sugar syrup with a light buttery note, the cocktail is served with a bite-size Milanese breaded veal cutlet or with the famous Club Sandwich, which Corriere della Sera has acclaimed as one of the best in Milan.

The pic shows a very original Gift version for the hotel guests attractively packaged in the dimensions of a CD!


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